A prosecutor told a judge Thursday that Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson falsely told federal agents he had been making payments on loans he received from a Bridgeport bank before regulators shut it down over what authorities have described as a massive fraud scheme.
A bombshell indictment in April accused Thompson of making just one payment to clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings after receiving $110,000 from the bank in 2011.
It also said he received an additional $109,000 from the bank in 2013 and 2014, then lied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. about how much he owed the bank and about how he used the money he received.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Netols told U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama at a hearing Thursday that Thompson also lied about loan payments, telling authorities he had been making them.
The new revelation from Netols came after Thompson’s lawyer Chris Gair again blasted the prosecution of Thompson and pushed for a trial as soon as this fall.
Gair said the case against Thompson “never should have been charged, and we really feel strongly that we need to get to a trial and clear Mr. Thompson’s name because this is really an unfortunate decision to bring this prosecution.”
Netols told the judge there are 15 witnesses in the case and said the trial would shed light on how the failed bank operated.
Valderrama floated the idea of holding Thompson’s trial in October or February.
The Bridgeport alderman is the highest-profile figure to face criminal charges in connection with Washington Federal, which was shut down in 2017.
Prosecutors have previously said three people already charged with fraud at the bank are among those expected to testify against Thompson.
The grandson and nephew of Chicago’s two longest-serving mayors, Thompson is the only member of the Daley family ever charged with a federal crime.
“My conscience is clear,” Thompson said in April. “I did not commit any crime, I am innocent, and I will prove it at trial.”
Thompson is charged with five counts of filing false tax returns and two counts of lying to the FDIC. The indictment says he received the $219,000 from the bank between 2011 and 2014 — before he was elected to the Chicago City Council in 2015 — through a purported loan and other unsecured payments.
According to the indictment, Thompson made only one payment on the 2011 loan but failed to pay any interest. Then, after federal regulators shut down the bank in December 2017, the FDIC tried to collect the money from Thompson. The alderman said he owed only about $110,000 and had used the money for home improvements, though he knew he received $219,000 and that “$110,000 was paid to a law firm” as Thompson’s capital contribution, according to the indictment.
Thompson also is accused of having deducted more than $170,000 in mortgage interest from his income taxes for the years 2013 through 2017, including interest payments he never made on the money he owed to Washington Federal Bank.
Washington Federal, founded back in 1913, sent forms to Thompson that falsely accounted for mortgage interest payments, authorities said.
Federal regulators shut down Washington Federal less than two weeks after John F. Gembara — its president, chief executive officer and major shareholder — was found dead, seated in a chair, a rope around his neck, at the $1 million Park Ridge home of his bank customer and friend, Marek Matczuk.
Matczuk had five outstanding loans from Washington Federal totaling about $1.8 million. An investigation of the bank so far has resulted in federal charges against 10 others, including Matczuk.