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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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