Tag Archives: Internal Revenue Service

Carrie Hightman Tied to Bobby Rush Scandal

29 Dec

by Ken Davidson

A new investigation by the Illinois Better Government Association, while not specifically mentioning Hightman, calls the relationship between SBC Illinois and the Office of Congressman Bobby Rush into question. Andy Shaw, President and CEO of the Better Government Association is quick to point out “We’re not suggesting that Rush broke the law, but we are saying the fog needs to be cleared and real answers provided.” SBC Illinois was the donor of the $1M grant to Rush’s non-profit organization. The grant was supposed to build a technology center in Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood. According to reports from the BGA, the center was never built and the money was never accounted for. Shaw calls for an investigation into:

[Rush] maintains the money wasn’t stolen or squandered, but that claim, without verification, doesn’t suffice, so we’re suggesting some options for shining more light on the situation:

The House Ethics Committee can see if Rush crossed any legal or ethical lines in regards to the million-dollar grant, his charity accepting tons of money from regulated companies seeking his legislative help, and his campaign office apparently not paying rent.
The Federal Election Commission can look at whether Rush or his campaign operation violated federal law by apparently accepting free rent, not reporting it as an in-kind donation and possibly exceeding donation limits.
The Internal Revenue Service can investigate the tax implications of all this, including whether Rush’s nonprofit violated the law by wrongly claiming on one disclosure form the tech center had been built, which wasn’t true.
The IRS can also find out if Rush used campaign cash to enhance his personal lifestyle, which is what got former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in trouble.
http://www.bettergov.org/the_million-dollar_question/?CategoryId=1

Any such investigation would obviously focus on whether or not the grantor received anything of value in return for the no strings grant. Regardless of whether there was any impropriety in the transaction, the situation calls into question the professional judgment of Hightman.

Carrie Hightman, the Chair of the Gary P3 Committee, became Chief Legal Office for NiSource in 2007 after serving as CEO of AT&T Illinois, which was formerly SBC Illinois. In a statement released when Hightman joined NiSource, her experience in ” regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs activities, as well as community and industry relations, throughout Illinois” were cited. The statement went on to explain:

During her tenure at AT&T, Hightman led the company through a series of important public policy initiatives as AT&T evolved from a traditional telephone company into a provider of diversified communications and entertainment services, including wireline, wireless, data and video services. Under her leadership, AT&T secured unanimous regulatory approval of a landmark agreement to deregulate local telephone service and offer competitive pricing in the metropolitan Chicago market, as well as helped the company return to the long distance telephone market after a twenty-year absence.

The SBC Foundation states that they provide grants of $25,000 to $50,000. The Gazette could find no evidence of any other single grant in any amount near $1M. Additionally, the 990 tax forms submitted by the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation listed no such contribution, despite a specific question asking about “Unusual Grants.”

28 Unusual Grants: For an organization described in line 10, 11, or 12 that received any unusual grants during 20001hrough 2003, prepare a list for your records
to show, for each year, the name of the contributor, the date and amount of the grant, and a brief description of the nature of the grant. Do not file this list with
your return. Do not include these grants in line 15.
423121 12-03-04 NONE Schedule A (Form BBO or 990-EZ) 2004

Source: http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/364/364078159/364078159_200503_990.pdf
Hightman was instrumental in selecting the contractor that was recently approved by the airport board to run the airport for up to 40 years.  While this information was not disclosed to the airport board, the Gazette has previously reported on the connection between Hightman and one of the companies involved in the partnership that was ultimately selected.

The Better Government Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the Northwest Indiana Gazette.  You can read the entire BGA article at their website  The Million Dollar Question

False Jobs Report: Sen. Coats Calls for Investigation

24 Nov

by Ken Davidson

Citing “serious trust issues”, Senator Dan Coats has penned a letter to the heads of Commerce, Labor and Securities requesting a full investigation. The scandal comes after a Philadelphia area employee alleges he was told by a supervisor to submit false numbers. The New York Post alleges the scandal goes straight to now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. The reports allegedly caused the official unemployment numbers to drop below 8% in the weeks prior to the 2012 elections providing Americans with a sense that the economy was doing better than it actually was.
 

This is a serious allegation that can have serious impacts on our
economy and our markets. The monthly jobs report provides critical data
that influences markets, industry and Federal Reserve policy. As the
ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the
Commerce Committee, I am calling for an investigation into this matter.

One of the jobs reports in question, released in October 2012 just
ahead of the presidential election, showed that the unemployment rate
had dropped sharply from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent even though the
economy had added only 114,000 jobs.

This administration has a serious trust deficit with the American
people. From Benghazi to the IRS enemies list and most recently, the
many broken promises with Obamacare, we have seen an alarming pattern
of a lack of transparency and a lack of accountability from this
administration.

These recent allegations regarding the jobs report only add to the
mistrust the American people have of this administration.

Former EC Library Director Gets 4 Months Home Detention in Tax Fraud Case

21 Nov

Gazette Staff

Manuel Montalvo, 39, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to 24 months of probation, with home detention of 4 months, and a $1000.00 fine after pleading guilty to the felony offense of filing a false tax return for the tax year 2009. According to documents filed in this case, Montalvo admitted that he provided false information about deductions including that he had $23,382 in business expenses and $17,063 in medical expenses. In fact, both figures were made up. Montalvo filed the false returns while employed as the Director of East Chicago Public Library. This case was the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell.

FBI Week in Review 10/25/2013

28 Oct

Gazette Staff

 

HAMMOND, IN—The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in federal court:

Dispositions:

Joshua Robinson, 23, of Lafayette, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 33 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. According to documents filed in this case, Robinson, who has an extensive criminal history consisting of juvenile adjudications and adult criminal convictions, burglarized a residence where a .20 gauge shotgun and a .223 caliber rifle were taken. After the firearms were stolen, Robinson and a co-defendant proceeded to take the serial number off one of the firearms in preparation of selling the firearms in Chicago, Illinois. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Tippecanoe County Police Department, and the Lafayette Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.

Che Williams, Jr., 21, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 30 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.

Ramon Salinas, Jr., 37, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 210 months’ imprisonment and 25 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of distribution of child pornography. According to documents filed in this case, law enforcement conducted an online Internet investigation to identify those possessing and sharing child pornography. The investigation identified an IP address belonging to the Salinas residence sharing files containing material depicting minors under the age of 16 engaged in sexual acts or poses. A search warrant was executed at this residence where law enforcement found that Salinas possessed at least 60 videos depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Salinas also has a prior conviction for possession of child pornography in Marion County in 2005. This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Highland Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.

James Urschel, 47, of Lafayette, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to three years of probation after pleading guilty to the felony offense of false impersonation of a federal officer. According to documents filed in this case, Urschel impersonated a Deputy United States Marshal while buying numerous firearms at Gander Mountain in Lafayette, Indiana. He would then pawn the guns at a local pawn shop for cash. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.

Charles E. Johnson, Jr., 33, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 37 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of distribution of crack cocaine. According to documents filed in this case, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence and found 17.9 grams of crack cocaine in a safe. Johnson had a felony conviction for dealing in cocaine in 2008 and was on probation for that offense when he was charged in this case. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.

Daryl V. Johnson, 40, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 180 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to documents filed in this case, Johnson has 15 prior felony convictions and nine misdemeanor convictions over a period of 18 years. Johnson was in a motor vehicle that was pursued by Hammond Police Department due to the occupants violating the seat belt law. After the vehicle fled from police, Johnson exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The police recovered a handgun from the route on which Johnson fled. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives HIDTA Task Force and the Hammond Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.

Regina Cabell, 39, of Lafayette, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 18 months’ imprisonment and $79,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to the felony offense of health care fraud—submitting a claim to Indiana Medicaid for providing a service to an Indiana Medicaid recipient to whom she did not actually provide the claimed service—and failing to file a federal income tax return for her gross income of $297,567 in the 2011 tax year. According to documents filed in this case, Cabell, d/b/a L&G Transportation, submitted approximately $96,600 in false claims to Indiana Medicaid for providing transportation services that did not actually occur. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Internal Revenue Service. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.