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7th Circuit rules on garnished 'Sidewalk Six' money

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One of East Chicago's so-called "Sidewalk Six" convicts is the subject of a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today, though the case more accurately centers on the $25 million in restitution he was ordered to repay and whether those garnishments should be considered marital assets during his subsequent divorce proceedings.

In U.S. v. Frank Kollintzas, Appeal of: Joanna Kollintzas, No. 06-2034, the appellate court affirmed a decision by U.S. District Chief Judge Robert Miller in South Bend that Joanna Kollintzas did not prove her property interest under Indiana law and the court properly granted a government motion to release the funds for garnishment.

Frank Kollintzas was convicted in November 2004 of converting money from East Chicago in the so-called Sidewalk Six scandal, which involved political allies of long-time Democratic Mayor Robert Pastrick who spent more than $25 million to lay free concrete and make improvements to properties in exchange for votes in the 1999 primary election. The criminal case surfaced in 2003, and eventually 12 city officials and contractors - including then-city councilor Frank Kollintzas - were sentenced to prison for taking part in the scheme. Kollintzas disappeared after trial and didn't appear at sentencing; he has not been found.

After being sentenced in absentia and ordered to repay the $25 million, the garnishment proceedings began in federal court and his wife Joanna subsequently filed for divorce in state court. She obtained from the state court an ex-parte temporary restraining order prohibiting the garnishee defendants from transferring any funds, but the District Court ultimately determined the government's liens relating to Frank Kollintzas' property were superior to her claim to martial property because "the liens were perfected before she filed for divorce," and she failed to specify how much income she had contributed to the "marital pot."

Circuit Judges Diane S. Sykes and her colleagues agreed, writing, "Her claim that she has a presumptive right to half of the marital property in her divorce action under Indiana law is subject to the government's previously perfected liens, which encumber the Assets to the extent they are part of the marital estate. Mrs. Kollintzas asserted a generalized marital property interest in the district court, but made no effort to establish the amounts (if any) she contributed to the various Assets subject to garnishment. Accordingly, the district court properly concluded that Mrs. Kollintzas failed to establish a claim to the Assets superior to that of the government."

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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