CHICAGO -- The chairman of the Illinois International Port District and two of his associates were indicted Aug. 4 on charges that they used their status to get two pension plans to lend money to developers in order to receive kickbacks and other special treatment from banks.
John Serpico, chairman of the Illinois International Port District, and his assistant Maria Busillo, president of Chicago Local 10 of the Laborers International Union, were indicted on 11 counts alleging racketeering, fraud, kickbacks, money laundering and camouflaging currency deals starting as far back as 1979.
Gilbert Cataldo, an aide to Cook County Commissioner Al Carr, also was indicted on charges he engaged in a scheme with Mr. Serpico to obtain more than $300,000 in kickbacks.
The charges, filed in federal District Court in Chicago, focused mainly on activities that were going on at the Central States Joint Board. That board is a Chicago-based labor group that operates two pension funds and a health and welfare fund on behalf of eight locals, and the financial construction of a hotel complex in Champaign, Ill.
Mr. Serpico is a former board member who is now a board consultant; Ms. Busillo is a member of the board. Mr. Serpico and Ms. Busillo, both former officers of Chicago Local 8 of the Laborers International Union, allegedly received several unsecured and lightly secured loans from several different banks. Some of the loans covered 100% of the cost of real estate purchases and business startups.
In 1990, they used their influence to get two union pension plans and the International Union of Allied and Novelty Production Workers to lend money to the developers of the complex, according to the Associated Press wire service.
According to the AP, the indictment stated Mr. Serpico and Mr. Cataldo plotted to get $333,850 in kickbacks in return for inducing both pension plans and the novelty and production workers to promise $6.5 million in financing for a hotel in Champaign.
Ms. Busillo allegedly bought property in the Glenview, Ill., area with money provided through the scheme.
The government is seeking the forfeiture of Ms. Busillo's homes in Glenview and Marco Island, Fla., and $1.2 million in cash from her and Mr. Serpico.
Lawyers for the three defendants did not return phone calls by press time.