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Bankruptcy doesn't eliminate judgment

April 13, 2011

The Indiana attorney general’s office doesn’t think the former East Chicago mayor hit with a $108 million racketeering judgment stemming from public corruption should be able to avoid paying back that amount by declaring bankruptcy.

On March 25, the state agency filed a 22-page complaint against ex-mayor Robert A. Pastrick in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana, alleging that five provisions of the federal bankruptcy law exempt this debt from being eligible for discharge through bankruptcy.

A federal judge in March 2010 imposed the $108,007,584.33 judgment against Pastrick and his ex-aides, who admitted their roles in a “sidewalks for votes” scheme. That scheme involved using $24 million in public money to pay for sidewalks and concrete paving in exchange for votes in the city’s 1999 primary election. The AG’s office has been working to collect that money, but Pastrick in December filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying the amount.

In the new complaint, the AG’s office contends that Pastrick’s theft, abuse of power while in office, and federal racketeering means the $108 million can’t be dismissed through bankruptcy proceedings. The AG argues the debt shouldn’t be discharged because of U.S. Bankruptcy Code sections 523(a)(6), 523(a)(4), 523(a)(7), 523(a)(13), and 523(a)(2)(A).

The federal docket shows attorneys are still entering appearances and no future court hearings have been set.•

Rehearing "Bankruptcy delays collection effort" IL Jan. 5-18, 2011

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