The chairman of a Chicago bank who allegedly bailed Paul Manafort out of foreclosure in exchange for a high-level post in the Trump administration was charged with bribery by federal prosecutors on Thursday.
Stephen Calk, chairman of Federal Savings Bank, pressured his bank to lend Manafort $16 million in a string of three separate loans to try to gain an appointment in the Trump administration, prosecutors said.
According to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan district court, the loans came at a time when Manafort was trying to avoid foreclosure of several properties, the New York Times reported.
Among the list of appointments that Calk wanted in return were Treasury secretary, commerce secretary and defense secretary. Calk also tried to convince Dennis Raico, a senior VP at the Federal Saving Bank, to call Manafort to ask if Calk was being considered for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the Times.
The loans were enough to get Calk’s foot in the door, but not enough to seal the deal, the indictment showed. After the first loan was conditionally approved in 2016, Manafort appointed Calk to a campaign economic advisory committee. While the second loan was still pending, Manafort recommended the presidential transition team consider Calk for an administration position— which he got to interview for, although he was not hired, according to the indictment.
Raico said Manafort’s financial records didn’t always add up and were cause for concern when granting loans. A home in the Hamptons that Manafort used as collateral, for example, had $3.5 million mortgage, not $2.5 million. Raico also said that Calk met with Manafort, the prospective borrower, without any other bank staff present.
Manafort is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence at a low-security prison near Scranton, Pennsylvania after his conviction earlier this year on financial fraud charges.
Calk’s indictment Thursday comes just two months after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. indicted Manafort on “pardon-proof” mortgage fraud charges, including alleged bank deception to get financing on a Soho condo at 29 Howard Street in Manhattan. [New York Times] — Georgia Kromrei