Although this case involved the sufficiency of evidence used to convict the defendant, the underlying facts of the case continue to paint a picture of corruption in some places when it comes to land use permits. In this case, the developer, Calvin Boender, who needed to have certain industrial preoprty rezoned for commercial and residential development, allegedly spent about $38,000 on home repairs for Isaac Carothers, a Chicago Alderman, in exchange for support of his rezoning request. Furthermore, Boender convinced a couple of business associates to donate, at his expense, to Carother’s aunt’s congressional campaign. Boender was indicted, tried and convicted of bribery of a public official and of exceeding federal campaign contributions limits through straw-man donations. The Seventh Circuit upheld the conviction under sec. 666 for bribery, noting that there is no need to show a specific quid pro quo, and under 2 USC 441f for the “straw man” campaign contributions. The Circuit Court noted that the district court properly conducted an in camera hearing in which testimony was elicited in the government’s presence, and that the record supported the district court’s finding that the crime fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applied where testimony indicated that defendant and his attorney discussed methods to present defendant in most favorable light in future meeting with the government, that the defendant’s attorney expressed doubt over whether subject invoice had ever been sent to the alderman, and that the defendant intended for his attorney to communicate false story about invoice to the government.
U.S. v Boender, 2011 WL 3634163 (C.A.7 (Ill.) 8/19/2011)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/B01FFU1J.pdf