Prosecutors want 4 years for convicted Chicago banker

Politics

NEW YORK (AP) — A Chicago banker should spend at least four years in prison after he was convicted of delivering $16 million in loansto Paul Manafort in a bid for power in the administration of ex-President Donald Trump, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Stephen Calk is set to be sentenced Feb. 7 for his conviction in July on financial institution bribery and conspiracy charges in Manhattan federal court.

Calk’s lawyers in a sentencing submission in early December argued for a noncustodial sentence for Calk, saying he has led a “thoroughly decent and law-abiding life.”

But prosecutors said Calk deserved a sentence of 51 months to 63 months in prison because he “corruptly abused” his position as chairman and chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank and caused the bank to make $16 million in unsound loans to Manafort in exchange for Manafort’s help gaining political power.

They added: “The Government respectfully submits that the focus of sentencing should rest on his crimes, which would merit serious punishment regardless of the defendant’s character. But it is also true that the defendant exaggerates his claimed good deeds and sterling character.”

During a three-week trial, prosecutors said Calk played a pivotal role in getting approval for a $9.5 million real estate construction loan and another $6.5 million loan so Manafort could finish construction on a Brooklyn condominium and avoid foreclosure.

Defense lawyers argued that Calk could not have won approval for the loans without the bank’s loan committee and underwriters agreeing to the terms. And they noted that the loans were obtained at a time when Manafort was considered wealthy and successful and had not yet been criminally charged.

Prosecutors also elicited evidence at trial to show that Manafort helped Calk get an interview for a job in the Trump administration, although he was never hired. Although Calk had hoped to become Secretary of the Army, he eventually interviewed for other positions because that post had already been filled, Antony Scaramucci testified at the trial.

Early in the trial, Scaramucci, who had worked on Trump’s presidential transition team, testified that he never would have enabled Calk to get the interview for the administration post if he had known that Calk was helping Manafort to get millions of dollars in loans for his real estate ventures.

Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager for a key stretch from June to early August 2016.

Manafort lost his position in Trump’s campaign over his ties to Ukraine. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation led to his criminal conviction and a sentence of over seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his political consulting work in Ukraine. In December 2020, Trump pardoned him.

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