A federal judge handed a year of probation Thursday to a former head of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority who quietly pleaded guilty this year to lying to the FBI.
Leticia Peralta Davis, 58, told the FBI during a July 5, 2012, interview that she never discussed money with an unidentified public official. But Davis’ plea agreement indicates that the public official had, in fact, asked Davis for money in connection with that person’s official duties. No money changed hands, records show.
Despite her crime, Davis was lauded during her brief sentencing hearing in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stetler called Davis “an impressive person” and recommended probation. And while the judge noted that “lying to the FBI is not a good thing,” he called it an “aberration” on Davis’ otherwise “spotless” prior record.
“This time next year, it’ll all be over,” Dow told Davis after he handed down the one-year sentence.
The judge also noted that Davis’ lie was exposed by a recording.
Sean Berkowitz, Davis’ defense attorney, wrote in a court filing that his client’s ordeal has lasted four years, ever since the FBI visited her at home in July 2012. She was originally arrested in October 2012, he wrote, and she has been “open, truthful, and fully cooperative with the government” in connection with “multiple targets and investigations” ever since.
“While no charges resulted from her cooperation, the government has stated its belief that Ms. Davis’ efforts were sincere,” Berkowitz wrote.
A member of Davis’ legal team privately briefed Dow earlier on Davis’ cooperation.
The daughter of immigrants, she has been a principal and owner of Peralta Garcia Solutions, a firm she co-founded, since 2007. Before that she served as the chief executive officer for the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, having been appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. There she was responsible for managing Navy Pier and McCormick Place.
She replaced Scott Fawell, another former federal defendant and aide of ex-Gov. George Ryan.
“Since her arrest in October 2012, Ms. Davis has not been certain of her future or her freedom,” Berkowitz wrote. “She has had to live with an ignominy that she kept from all but her closest friends and family members.”
Berkowitz also wrote that Davis “has resigned her positions in many non-profit organizations because she feared tainting the reputations of those organizations if and when charges were filed. For the same reason, she has also declined opportunities to become involved in new charitable organizations.”
Peralta Davis plea agreement