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Bankruptcy doesn't eliminate judgment

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

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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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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