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No bankruptcy abuse by ex-mayor

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Reversing her earlier decision, U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Nancy Gargula in the Northern District of Indiana determined March 7 that former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick’s income is not too high to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and his filing should not be considered to be an abuse of the process.

That decision comes in an ongoing legal battle between the ex-mayor and state of Indiana. The Indiana attorney general’s office is trying to collect a $108 million judgment issued last year against the former political titan in a racketeering judgment. The trustee ruled Feb. 7 that based on an initial review of documents, there was presumed abuse in Pastrick’s bankruptcy case filed in December. She had 30 days to file a motion to dismiss the Chapter 7 case or convert it to a category that required repayment, but she changed her stance after reviewing the case material and other documents filed since then.

Responding to the trustee’s finding, the AG’s office issued a statement saying this doesn’t change the state’s position that the full racketeering judgment isn’t dischargeable by bankruptcy. Details haven’t been finalized on what would happen to any funds collected in this case, spokesman Bryan Corbin said, but he noted the AG’s office routinely collects debts and judgment amounts on behalf of government clients and has a process for handling that money.

The $108 million judgment stems from a sidewalks-for-votes scheme that played out in the 1999 Democratic mayoral primary election, to which Pastrick and two of his top aides admitted. Last year, U.S. Senior Judge James Moody issued a ruling in State of Indiana and City of East Chicago v. Robert A. Pastrick, et al., No. 3:04-CV-506, ordering the $108 million in damages. That collection activity has been put on hold by these bankruptcy proceedings.

 

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

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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