Tuesday, 17 September, 2019


Bank CEO pleads not guilty in bid to get Trump post

Bennie Garza | 24 May, 2019, 05:37

The bank said it is "not a party to the federal criminal case" and described Calk as its "former chairman".

The CEO of an IL bank has been charged with trying to bribe his way into a position in the Trump administration by giving millions of dollars in loans to Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

Manafort, who was convicted of bank and tax fraud in Virginia and pleaded guilty to other charges in Washington, is serving a 7-1/2-year sentence in a federal prison in Pennsylvania.

In his indictment, prosecutors recount how Calk, who is expected to appear in federal court later on Thursday, provided the loans to Manafort during the 2016 campaign before sending the former campaign chief "a ranked list of the governmental positions he desired".

The small bank where Calk was CEO when he allegedly carried out the scheme said in a statement that Calk already had no involvement with the bank and is on a leave of absence.

Calk's lawyer said his client "has done nothing wrong" and plans to fight the charges in court. He called the arrest a "travesty".

"There was an agreement between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Calk to have the loans approved", Andres said. "Mr. Calk did not commit any offense with him".

According to the indictment, Calk "sought to leverage his control over the Bank and the loans sought by [Manafort] to his personal advantage".

"As alleged, Calk went to great lengths to avoid banking violations in an attempt to secure a senior position in a presidential administration", Sweeney said.

"His attempt at petitioning for political favors was unsuccessful in more ways than one - he didn't get the job he wanted, and he compromised the one he had", Sweeney added. Calk served in the Army for 16 years, Margolis said. It doesn't name Manafort directly, but Calk's name repeatedly came up during Manafort's 2018 financial fraud trial in Virginia in which prosecutors said Calk and Manafort engaged in a scheme to exchange the $16 million U.S. in loan approvals for an administration post.

According to Calk's indictment, Manafort took a break from his duties running Trump's campaign on July 27, 2016, to attend an initial meeting in NY with a loan officer to discuss a multimillion-dollar loan.

After Trump was elected, Manafort used his influence with the transition team to help Calk, recommending him for a position in the new White House.

He also said Calk was "strong in defense issues, management and finance".

Calk presented a list of positions he wanted, ranking them from secretary of the Treasury on down to 19 ambassador posts beginning with the United Kingdom and France, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Calk proceeded with the loans despite "significant red flags regarding the Borrower's ability to repay the loans, such as his history of defaulting on prior loans", according to the U.S. The Manafort loans became the single largest lending relationship at the bank. Federal Savings Bank is based in Chicago.

A Chicago banker caught up in Paul Manafort's orbit now faces serious jail time himself.

The loan "closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close", Brennan said.

And then the sh!t hit really the fan when Manafort got charged and convicted on a bevy of federal fraud charges, the OCC got a look at the loans, and then Calk lied to them about how the loans got approved and falsely denied his thirst to be a member of the Trump administration - a thirst he had documented in emails and actual documents. None of the charges relate to collusion or obstruction. Oh, and also the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago had to write off $12 million on Manafort's awful loans, which is not a great outcome for a bank that seems to only be holding about $85 million in total equity.

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