Attorney for Calumet Park accused in ...

Attorney for Calumet Park accused in $1-million overbilling scheme

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Melrose Park, IL

#1 Mar 5, 2010
Attorney for Calumet Park accused in $1-million overbilling scheme
March 5, 2010
By RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter


An attorney for Calumet Park has been charged with siphoning off Tax Increment Financing funds in an over-billing scheme that cost the south suburb over $1 million.

Mark J. McCombs, a special counsel for the village, was arrested Thursday following an investigation, launched after a suburban school district that shared TIF money with Calumet Park found discrepancies in a presentation McComb, 50, had put together, Cook County prosecutors said.

Officials with Community School District 218 contacted Calumet Park officials when McCombs, of Chicago, allegedly tried to get them to drop their probe by offering to transfer TIF money into the district’s account.

Calumet Park officials soon discovered that for the last three years, McCombs had billed the village for $2 million without completing any of the economic development projects. McCombs didn't pocket the money, according to state's attorney's spokesman Andy Conklin, but it is believed that the money went to his law firm, Greenberg Traurig.

McComb was responsible for presenting itemized bills to the village for approval before receiving payment vouchers to present to the bank holding the TIF accounts. But McComb circumvented this process and was paid for services he never performed, prosecutors said.

He also increased his fees up to $600 an hour without notifying the village and without filing TIF reports, as required by state law, prosecutors said.

McCombs was charged with theft of government funds in excess of $100,000.

Judge Ramon Ocasio III ordered McCombs held in lieu of $25,000 cash bail today.
Roger

Melrose Park, IL

#2 Mar 5, 2010
Is this why the frasor-peloquin team created five TIF districts for the city of Blue Island?
Buddy

Melrose Park, IL

#3 Mar 5, 2010
It must have been quite a scene when they escorted Mark out in handcuffs !
TIF Districts

Merrillville, IN

#4 Mar 5, 2010
Bert Odelson firm works in Calumet Park (Attorney Felicia Frazier) and Blue Island (Attorney Cary Horvath) all on TIF Districts… is Mark McCombs just the beginning!
Obviously

AOL

#5 Mar 5, 2010
Obviously; the authorities need to proceed west from Calumet Park on 127th St. and make a right on Greenwood Ave.; park and enter Blue Island City Hall.
the69king

Atco, NJ

#6 Mar 5, 2010
Buddy wrote:
It must have been quite a scene when they escorted Mark out in handcuffs !
Nawwwww.....he was es orted out quietly without a scene
a thought

Matteson, IL

#7 Mar 5, 2010
I would suggest that the Greenberg Traurig Law Firm has answering to do as well.
Allan

Chicago, IL

#8 Mar 6, 2010
Mark McCombs, is a product of Lawyer Larry Petta, and his Calumet Township Democratic Organization. The Organization defecated and we have a Mark McCombs !
Thick as Thieves

Chicago, IL

#10 Mar 6, 2010
We all hope he will start singing, so we can find out who else is part of this RICO violation !
Father Jim

Chicago, IL

#11 Mar 6, 2010
The cream always rises to the top, but spoils the quickest !
Uncle Angelo

Chicago, IL

#12 Mar 6, 2010
Dear Mark, make it easier on your parents, snitch on Cary, Larry, and Terry. And everyone else involved in your conspiracy.
Inquiring Minds

Chicago, IL

#13 Mar 6, 2010
What kind of person would steal from the cash strapped school districts ? You stole from our very precious next generation of Americans. The best thing we can give these precious ones is a good education, to preserve our way of life. I ask you Mark,where did it get you ?
Lily

Gilman, IL

#14 Mar 6, 2010
Inquiring Minds wrote:
What kind of person would steal from the cash strapped school districts ? You stole from our very precious next generation of Americans. The best thing we can give these precious ones is a good education, to preserve our way of life. I ask you Mark,where did it get you ?
Superintendent John Byrne, of Community High School District 218 is the hero in this mess after he asked for details about the TIF money and brought this scandal to light. Cal Park did nothing, and heads should roll.
just wondering

Matteson, IL

#15 Mar 6, 2010
Let me get this straight. Mr. McCombs raids the TIF district and puts alot of money into the bank account of Greenburg-Traurig. But they don't seem to notice it. Dr. Byrne thinks something smells bad and finds the scandal. McCombs gets arrested and Green-Traurig cuts him loose. Is Greenburg-Traurig going to be investigated as well?
RICO

Merrillville, IN

#16 Mar 6, 2010
Connect the dots:
Blue Island and Calumet Park = Larry Petta
Calumet Park and Blue Island = Bert Odelson
Larry Petta and Bert Odelson = Mark McCombs
Bert Odelson and Don Peloquin = Cary Horvath
Lily

Gilman, IL

#17 Mar 6, 2010
just wondering wrote:
Let me get this straight. Mr. McCombs raids the TIF district and puts alot of money into the bank account of Greenburg-Traurig. But they don't seem to notice it. Dr. Byrne thinks something smells bad and finds the scandal. McCombs gets arrested and Green-Traurig cuts him loose. Is Greenburg-Traurig going to be investigated as well?
Greenburg-Traurig has indicated they will return all monies that were overbilled and according to the Tribune, "The alleged scheme unraveled after the superintendent of a school district that received TIF funds grew suspicious after a subordinate reported that McCombs had been evasive on details about the TIF money. Superintendent John Byrne, of Community High School District 218, said he also found it curious that McCombs scheduled a routine public meeting on the TIF for Dec. 31.

"Most people are thinking about who's babysitting for New Year's Eve, not attending a TIF meeting," Byrne said Friday in a telephone interview.

Knowing that McCombs had never provided reports on TIF activity, Byrne filed a request under state law in January for five years of data, prosecutors said. Later, in a telephone call, McCombs offered to pay money to the school district to make the inquiry "go away," they said." Full story @ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-m...
The Quiet Man

Northbrook, IL

#18 Mar 6, 2010
Greenburg-Traurig has indicated they will return all the money ! Wait a minute ,not good enough ! The children deserve treble damages ! Or else, lets put the greedy Greenburg-Traurig Board of Directors in jail,where they belong !
just wondering

Matteson, IL

#19 Mar 6, 2010
OK, So how much money did Greenburg-Traurig make in interest on nearly a million dollars sitting in
their bank account?

Of course they're going to give it back...now that their butts have been caught. How about the interest on all that money? Will they give that back too?

You mean to tell me they didn't know that they had an extra million dollars sitting in their bank account... Of course they didn't and I have a bridge I want to sell you.
Lily

Chicago Heights, IL

#20 Mar 6, 2010
just wondering wrote:
OK, So how much money did Greenburg-Traurig make in interest on nearly a million dollars sitting in
their bank account?
Of course they're going to give it back...now that their butts have been caught. How about the interest on all that money? Will they give that back too?
You mean to tell me they didn't know that they had an extra million dollars sitting in their bank account... Of course they didn't and I have a bridge I want to sell you.
Calumet Park former Mayor Porch and Mayor DuPar, who is quoted as being "shocked", just signed the checks. Everyone, including the law firm McCombs worked for is "shocked" but it took Superintendent John Byrne to smell a very rancid rat, or just use some common sense. Oh, and Calumet Park may be out a few bucks more than a million, may be as much as $3,000,000. It is reported "McCombs was childhood friends with many of the village officials he’s accused of betraying. Over the years, he’s worked for other area communities, including Oak Forest and Sauk Village."
I figure you can sell that bridge to Mayor DuPar and the elected officials in the Village of Calumet Park with no trouble.
Lily

Gilman, IL

#21 Mar 7, 2010
Since McCombs was involved in a few other suburbs, I hope those officials are checking invoices too:

Professional & Community Involvement
Village Attorney, Economic Development Director, Village of Riverdale, Illinois, 2009-Present
Village Attorney, Economic Development Counsel and Administrative Hearing Officer, Village of Posen, Illinois, 2003-2005, 2007-Present
Economic Development Counsel, Special Village Attorney (Investigations) and Administrative Hearing Officer, Village of Calumet Park, Illinois, 1994-Present
Special Village Attorney, Village of Phoenix, Illinois, 1998-Present
General Counsel, Town of Cicero, Illinois, Fire and Police Commission, 2005-Present
Special Counsel, Heart of Illinois Regional Port District, 2005-Present
Hearing Officer, Town of Cicero, Illinois, Municipal Officers Electoral Board, 2007
Ruling sustained in Harmon v. Cicero Municipal Officers Electoral Board, 371 Ill. App. 3d 1111, 864 N.E.2d 996, 309 Ill. Dec. 755 (1st Dist. 2007); cert. denied, 255 Ill.2d 632 (2007)
Hearing Officer, Village of Melrose Park, Illinois, Municipal Officers Electoral Board, 2007, 2009

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