Chicago Alderman Richard Mell stands to take a chunk of a $15 million trial judgment, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Mell is not talking about the case, Cement-Lock v. Gas Tech. Institute, and the Sun-Times had little success turning up anything too specific. Mell’s attorneys, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, who also list the Sun-Times among their clients, issued a brief statement:
“We are very pleased with the decision and the jury’s strong finding in favor of our client. Because this is ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys could not be reached.
The case was heard by Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. The federal jury’s decision was rendered March 11. By way of background, Attorney R. David Donoghue’s Chicago IP Litigation Blog offered the following in December:
Plaintiffs alleged that defendants permitted defendant Gas Technology Institute (“GTI”) to secure funding for Technology-related activities, despite defendants’ knowledge that GTI had no license to use the Technology and kept knowledge of the funding from CLG. GTI also allegedly claimed to own and have developed the Technology. The Court held that there was no written license between CLG and GTI regarding the Technology. But there was a question of fact as to whether GTI’s efforts to secure finding for the Technology was improper. Additionally, there was a question of fact as to whether GTI misrepresented its ownership or control over the Technology.
“CLG” is the Cement-Lock Group.
“Mell owns a 10 percent share of Cement-Lock Group, a company formed in 1997 to cash in on the remediation technology,” according to the Sun-Times. The suit alleged “massive fraud”:
Defendants in the case included Gas Technology Institute; Institute of Gas Technology; Endesco Services; Endesco Clean Harbors LLC, Stanley Brys, James Dunne and Francis S. Lau.
“What began as a legitimate enterprise to obtain funding to commercialize and market a technology . . . has become a massive fraud with defendants stealing and diverting grant funds through a pattern of racketeering involving acts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and more,” the lawsuit states.
Over a seven-year period, the defendants were accused of “contracting for or receiving” $30 million in grant funding without Cement- Lock Group’s permission by “misrepresenting ownership of the technology” they once claimed had a $5 billion world-wide market.
The scheme to “milk the cash cow” by prolonging the research phase — in part, by setting up a New Jersey demonstration facility — ended up “diverting millions of dollars . . . ,” the suit stated.
Of interest in all of this is where Mell might end up next. The Sun-Times again:
Earlier this week, a witness in the federal corruption trial of former Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko accused Mell of trying to muscle a lucrative kickback out of a deal at a state pension fund, which he denied.
Always looking for more exposure, Chicagoland pols must be hoping against hope no one even whispers their names at the Rezko trial. Yes, this was only one mention of Mell by a witness, but I suspect Rezko’s trial will only lead to more indictments. Is Mell’s name on the short list? No one has alleged anything formally against Mell, and I’ll not do so here.
But all of this raises horribly serious questions.
I really don’t get these Chicago Democrats. I don’t see them as Democrats at all. We have pols like these in the south suburbs. For many of them, the pursuit of ideals and the needs of the people are subservient to their desire for control and power. Patronage government is very expensive, and the feds are hungry to stop it all. But the Chicago machine rages on.
Time to rage back.