UPDATE: “Chicago judge to decide if his own accuser goes to jail,” March 26
A Chicago businessman with no previous record has been ordered to report to the infamous Cook County Jail Monday to finish serving his 60-day sentence for criminal contempt of court – the longest such sentence in Illinois history. To put this in perspective, the sentence was twice as long as a man in neighboring DuPage County got for throwing an object at a judge’s head.
Michael Lynch’s offense? He complained about judicial corruption. In Chicago, that gets you thrown in the slammer.
Even more outrageous, Lynch was sentenced by one of the same judges he accused of fixing cases for organized crime – and also happens to be a witness in an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into bankruptcy fraud.
In May 2006, Lynch filed a sworn affidavit with the court claiming that he had “material evidence” of judicial corruption involving several Chicago judges – including Circuit Court Judge Alexander White – and asked for another judge to hear the case. In the affidavit, Lynch accused White of being a beneficiary of the Five Whites LLC trust fund used to launder bribe money from an organized crime family in Arizona.
Lynch told The Examiner that Judge White told him and his attorneys – in court – that he wanted to assign him to house arrest because Lynch’s wife has Stage 4 cancer. But the judge said he received a visit in his chambers from First Appellate Justice Mary Jane Theis (whose father was reportedly part of the Greylord judicial corruption scandal during the 1980’s) who reportedly told him to “put Lynch back in Cook County.”
The Examiner asked Justice Theis – twice – if she had pressured Judge White to throw Lynch back in jail, but she did not answer the question, referring us to several opinions she wrote in which she concluded that Lynch’s motion “contained unsubstantiated and far-flung allegations that Judge White was a participant in an organized crime scheme in Arizona.”
But Lynch said he never got a chance to present his evidence of judicial corruption while appealing the contempt sentence because Judge McNamara insisted he produce his out-of-state witnesses (a forensics expert and a former member of the organized crime family) within three hours – which was clearly impossible. He also refused, for their protection, to publicly identify them.
In the four years since he filed his affidavit, Lynch says, his witnesses have never been interviewed by law enforcement. Since the allegations were never investigated, how does Justice Theis know whether they’re “unsubstantiated” or not? Furthermore, strange behavior by two previous judges in the case indicates otherwise.
After Judge Barbara Disco entered an $1.8 million dollar judgment against him in the civil case, Lynch says he filed a motion asking her “to admit or deny that she was a member of organized crime.” Attached to the motion was a document listing Disco’s alleged hidden trust.
Lynch says he was sentenced for contempt on Oct. 13, 2006 by former Judge Paddy McNamara with no mandated sentencing hearing and no bond. Lynch’s affidavit also accused McNamara of accepting payoffs through Crown Central Asset Fund, Crown Central Systems, Crown Ambassador Enterprises, and Fidelity Investments.
Disco abruptly retired while Lynch was serving the first 17 days of his 60-day sentence at Cook County Jail. “The day I was released, Judge McNamara also suddenly retired and stepped down from the bench. Every one was stunned,” Lynch told The Examiner.
As I reported back in March, Lynch alleged massive judicial corruption in Chicago’s state and federal courts after his firm, McCook Metals, was forced into bankruptcy after winning an anti-trust lawsuit against Alcoa.
Lynch’s sworn affidavit specifically accuses Chief Bankruptcy Judge Eugene R. Wedoff, who presided over the McCook bankruptcy, and Judge White, who recently ordered Lynch jailed, of being part of a nationwide racketeering enterprise that launders illegally obtained funds through the court system using a “systematic code-based creation of fraudulent documents and identity theft” – including fraudulent federal marshal credentials.
Lynch says a federal auditor he hired through the Independent Federal Fund Oversight Committee in Topeka, Kansas uncovered material evidence – including specific bank account numbers – alleging that Judge Wedoff (who also presided over the United Airlines bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy case in U.S. history) personally oversaw a $39 million “bribery fund” in return for a verdict favorable to McCook lender General Electric Commercial Finance (GECC) and Alcoa, McCook’s competitor, in violation of anti-trust laws.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Lynch alleged that Wedoff blocked his subpoenas for the financial records of two bankruptcy trustees in on the scheme and refused to read an affidavit signed by a federal agent documenting Wedoff’s participation, including a pure trust called “ERW” that was allegedly used to hide payoffs from federal authorities.
He also accused Judge Wedoff of allowing GECC and Alcoa to disregard ERISA and bankruptcy laws by dumping McCook’s pension obligations on the taxpayer-supported Pension Benefit Guaranty Board (PBGC).
But none of these extremely serious allegations of judicial misconduct have been investigated by the either the FBI or the Justice Department, even though Lynch says he handed over the evidence to authorities four years ago. Instead, the same judge he accused of corruption is sending him back to jail.
That’s contempt, all right, but not by Michael Lynch.