Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"This is how things are done in Illinois."

That's what Joseph Cari, former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, told a Virginia investment firm seeking millions in business with the Illinois State Pension Fund. Cari told them that they could get a piece of the state's teacher retirement money if they would only kick back $850,000 his way.
Cari's downfall came after he assisted Stuart Levine, a corrupt trustee of the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System who was also convicted in the scandal, in an attempted extortion. Levine made a series of calls in 2004 to  executives of JER Inc. demanding $850,000 — equal to 1 percent of the $85 million the Virginia investment firm was seeking from the teachers retirement board to invest. The firm, however, refused to pay. -- Chicago Tribune.
So with teachers desperately trying to hang on to their meager pensions, as state politicians circle around like vultures, Cari  and other Democratic Party rainmakers were using the fund as their own private profit center.

Cari, threw himself on the mercy of the court, pleading severe mental anguish and promising never to do it again. U.S District Judge Amy St. Eve bought Cari's story and spared him from prison, sentencing him to three years of probation, a small fine, and nine months of home confinement. Of course in Cari's case, "home confinement" means that he will be able to leave to go to work every day and even travel abroad on business.

After all, that's how things are done in Illinois.

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