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Trustee: Pastrick's bankruptcy not an abuse

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Reversing her decision from a month ago, a federal trustee has determined 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.

The Monday decision by trustee Nancy Gargula comes in an ongoing legal battle between the ex-mayor and state of Indiana, which is trying to collect a $108 million judgment issued last year against the former political titan in a racketeering judgment. The trustee had ruled Feb. 7 that based on an initial review of documents, there was presumed abuse in Pastrick’s bankruptcy case he 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.

“Based on this review, the United States Trustee has determined that the Debtor's case is NOT presumed to be an abuse," states Monday's filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana, meaning that his bankruptcy doesn’t require payments to debtors and will proceed without being converted to another bankruptcy category with a repayment plan.

Responding to the trustee’s finding, the Indiana Attorney General’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. U.S. Senior Judge James Moody a year ago 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.

"Attorney General Zoeller is committed to seeking accountability from former Mayor Pastrick for the citizens of East Chicago for Pastrick's squandering of the treasury on a scheme to enhance Pastrick's own re-election chances, and our goal is to seek to resume collection of the $108 million civil judgment Pastrick owes," Corbin said.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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