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Prosecutors: Banker Bribed Manafort to Land Job

Stephen Calk of Chicago's Federal Savings Bank faces federal charges
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2019 1:35 PM CDT
A 2012 photo of Stephen M. Calk, chairman and chief financial official of the Federal Savings Bank. At left is then Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.   (Al Podgorski/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
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(Newser) – A Chicago banker caught up in Paul Manafort's orbit now faces serious jail time himself. Stephen Calk of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago is accused of bribing Manafort by approving $16 million in iffy loans in order to land a post in the Trump administration, reports Bloomberg. Federal prosecutors say Calk, who founded the bank and served as its CEO, used his clout to overrule underlings at the bank to push through the risky loans, which have resulted in losses. In exchange, he gave Manafort a list of jobs he'd like in the administration, including Treasury secretary or one of several ambassadorships. Calk didn't get any such job, though he did land an interview to be undersecretary of the Army, reports the Washington Post.

Calk "abused the power entrusted to him as the top official of a federally insured bank by approving millions of dollars in high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit,” said Manhattan Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss. An attorney for Calk, who is on leave from the bank, called the charges a "travesty" and said his client would by exonerated at trial. Calk served as an adviser to President Trump's 2016 campaign—a position Manafort offered to him after approaching the bank for the first time. Calk faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. (Manafort is imprisoned over tax and bank fraud, and he now faces separate charges in New York state.)

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