Sunday, July 30, 2017

Michigan City Indiana Police Department ROCKS!!!!






Soooooooooooooo, I had to leave the UP and come back down to Indiana and pack ASAP - instead of the late Fall because of drama with Ken's sisters. So, upon my return to Indiana, I installed a security cam by my front door - something to do with Ken's sisters threatening to drive a UHaul from PA to IN and cleaning out the apartment [insert eye roll]. 


Anywho, this is what my security cam picked up late last night, when  the punks in the apartment complex decided to throw a street party at about 2:30 am. Took the Michigan City PD less than 2 minutes to shut down the bad asses. LOL.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Will John Cortina [Portage Kustom Auto Towing] follow William Szarmach's [CSA Towing] lead, and take a plea agreement?




On July 28th, William Szarmach / CSA Towing - who was federally indicted with Lake County Sheriff John Buncich in November 2016 - accepted a plea agreement in exchange for testifying against Sheriff Buncich. 

Here's to hoping that John Cortina / Portage Kustom Auto Towing - who was federally indicted with Portage Mayor James Snyder in November 2016 - does the right thing and accepts a plea bargain / testifies against Mayor Snyder.




Sheriff John Buncich news articles

Mayor James Snyder news articles










UPDATE: Plea agreement details alleged deals between Lake County Sheriff Buncich and towing companies
NWI Times
Jul 28, 2017
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/update-plea-agreement-details-alleged-deals-between-lake-county-sheriff/article_b69342f4-252d-5cfe-9605-9418280a7d30.html


HAMMOND — A Lake Station tow truck owner has agreed to plead guilty to federal wire fraud and bribery charges and to testify against Lake County Sheriff John Buncich.

The plea agreement filed early Friday could make a star government witness of William Szarmach, of Hobart, who owned and operated CSA Towing, on the 2500 block of DeKalb Street, Lake Station, since 2008.

Szarmach is scheduled to appear Monday afternoon before Magistrate Judge John E. Martin to plead guilty to wire fraud, bribery and failing to file a federal income tax return reporting more than $75,000 in taxable income during 2015 on which he owed more than $17,000 in federal taxes.

Szarmach is prepared to tell a jury next month he purchased Buncich's political fund-raising tickets by check and cash between 2009 and 2016 to retain and increase his business of towing vehicles for county police.

Buncich is contesting allegations he was shaking down towing firms for campaign contributions and is set to stand trial beginning Aug. 7 before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody.

Buncich's lawyer, Bryan Truitt, has stated in pre-trial court documents the improper activity the government is alleging was confined to Downs, Szarmach and another government witness, Scott Jurgensen, owner of Samson’s Towing of Merrillville.

Truitt has stated, "Sheriff John Buncich maintains he has done nothing wrong. There is little to no direct evidence or a smoking gun," Truitt said in court records.

The U.S. attorney's office has said Jurgensen deserves credit for uncovering public corruption.

Szarmach's towing company was one of several the sheriff approved to tow vehicles from public streets and highways for county police before the Lake County Board of Commissioners took over the towing contract approvals this year.

Plea agreement details alleged deals
Szarmach alleges in his plea agreement he was one of 12 tow companies on the Lake County Sheriff towing list. Buncich had the sole authority at the time to authorize towing firms to remove vehicles from public road ways in the county.

Szarmach, who had owned his towing firm more than eight years, states, "Based on my experience in the towing business in Northwest Indiana, it was my belief that in order to remain on the Lake County tow list, or to increase my towing area, I would have to buy tickets to many, if not all, of Sheriff John Buncich's fundraising events and pay additional cash payments."

He states these purchases were made sometimes directly to the sheriff and at other times through other individuals employed by the county sheriff, including Downs, then chief of county police operations.

Buncich served as sheriff from 1994 to 2002 and was running to return to office in the 2010 election when Szarmach states he started going to Buncich fund-raisers and making contributions to join the so-called "boys club." 

Szarmach's plea agreement states, "I knew that Person X had a better relationship with Buncich than I did. At one of these restaurant meetings, after discussing Buncich with Person X, I gave Person X $500 cash. I then saw Person X hand the cash to Buncich. Buncich shook my hand and said, 'Thank you.' I knew that by giving Buncich this cash, it opened the door to towing for the Sheriff's Department." The court document doesn't identify Person X.

Szarmach states he received his first towing assignment from a county police dispatcher the first day Buncich took office after winning in the fall of 2010. "This was when I knew I was on the Lake County tow list," Szarmach said.

He said Buncich initially promised there would only be five towing firms working with county police, but he later learned he was competing with a dozen towing firms that were on the sheriff's list.

Szarmach states he had several meetings with Buncich at an unidentified restaurant in Cedar Lake and signaled he was prepared to make more payments by telling the sheriff, "I'm here for you."

Szarmach alleges he gave Buncich $1,000 folded up in an envelop during their second Cedar Lake meeting "to grease the wheels." He states that six months later, Buncich gave Szarmach towing assignments associated with the sheriff's Lake County Gang Unit, a group of county police detectives focusing on criminal gang activity.

Szarmach said that he believed he ranked in the middle of the pack of 12 towing firms doing county police business in terms of towing assignments he received from the sheriff, but he wanted more so he began increasing his payments to the sheriff.

Szarmach's plea agreement states, "Sometimes these payments were in cash, other times disguised as campaign check contributions, or sometimes a mix of both cash and checks."

Szarmach recounts giving Downs $500 cash and a $2,000 check in October 2014 payable to the Democratic Party of Lake County. This was four months after Democratic precinct committee members elected Buncich as their party chairman.

Buncich was running for re-election as sheriff in 2014 and raised more than $200,000 from hundreds of contributors, according to county elections board records. Szarmach's agreement states he made other payments in 2015 and 2016.

Szarmach states he began cooperating in 2016 with Scott Jurgensen, owner of Samson’s Towing of Merrillville, and recently identified as a government informant who is referred to in the indictment as "Individual A." He said together thay paid Buncich $6,000 in April 2016. 

"To obtain my portion of this bribe payment, I told Buncich to look inside my new vehicle. Buncich entered my vehicle and retrieved $3,500 from the vehicle's front seat."He states he and Jurgensen were afterwards given sole rights to do the towing county police ordered when enforcing Gary's ordinance violations.

Szarmach alleges he and Jurgensen talked Buncich into eliminate the need for their towing firms to pay the county treasury a $50 fee, earmarked to pay the salaries of some county police officers. They told Buncich this would free up more money to pay him kickbacks.

Szarmach also states he wanted Buncich's help to gain towing business from Indiana University Northwest in Gary. "Buncich told me he would have someone from his office speak to IUN.

"I gave Buncich $1,000 in cash in the parking lot of a restaurant where we were eating. This $1,000 cash payment was for Buncich's help in getting me the IUN towing and for helping me with a union issue in Lake Station."

Initial indictements came down Nov. 18

A federal grand jury indicted Szarmach, Buncich and Timothy Downs, the sheriff's former second-in-command, on Nov. 18, 2016.

Szarmach had, until Friday, been pleading not guilty to bribery and wire fraud counts alleging he paid the sheriff $9,500 between June 2015, and last August to influence the sheriff to give Szarmach more lucrative towing assignments.

Szarmach's lawyer, Daniel Purdom, of Lisle, Illinois, signaled on June 20 that Szarmach and the U.S. attorney's office were trying to conclude a plea agreement in the bribery case. No plea agreement was made public Thursday afternoon.

The agreement indicates Szarmach can win a reduced sentence if he cooperates fully with the government.

This deal mirrors one the government made seven months ago with Downs, who pleaded guilty to collecting Buncich's campaign contributions on public time. Downs also agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in return for a lenient sentence.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

What did Portage Mayor James Snyder gain in hiding my marital assets?


It's just one of the questions that I have been asking myself, during my house search in the UP - because, having received my fair share of the marital assets would have made my life a hell of a lot easier.

So, I can't help but wonder WHY then banker Snyder helped my ex hide an estimated $1,000,000 in marital assets during our divorce. WHAT was in it for Snyder? WHAT did Snyder gain by hiding all that money? WHERE are my marital assets, that Snyder hid for my ex? How many other people did Snyder assist in hiding assets for during divorces? AND, what was the cost?






Friday, July 21, 2017

07212017 - Portage Mayor James Snyder trying to scam the city of Portage for attorney fees - AGAIN?


Are you frickin kidding me??!! Federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder is once again trying to get the city to pay his attorney fees? Sounds like a repeat of his September 2016 scam, when Snyder had the Utility Board issue over $90,000 in checks to the attorneys who represented him during the FBI investigation.






Payment of legal fees questioned in Portage
Chicago Tribune
July 21, 2017
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-portage-legal-expenses-st-0723-20170722-story.html

Portage residents and businesses may have to pay nearly $20,000 in legal fees to a Chicago-based law firm Mayor James Snyder and the former utility services board hired during the mayor's battles with the City Council last February, officials said.

Earlier this month, the council, which replaced the seven-member utility services board in early March, declined to pay — for now — a $19,651 bill from Faegre Baker Daniels. The board approved the rest of the claims for June, from office toilet paper to field uniforms, as long as the law firm's tab was removed.

According to a detailed invoice from Faegre Baker Daniels, the $19,651 bill is based on multiple attorneys working 41.5 hours between Feb. 5 and Feb. 23, for an average rate of about $473.50 an hour. The invoice provided to the Post-Tribune does not include detailed descriptions of the work provided.

In early February, Faegre Baker Daniels wrote a two-page letter to the council claiming the council's attempts to stop paying Snyder's salary as head of the utility services board was illegal. In late February and early March, the council backed down from ordinances stripping Snyder of his pay, but the council then replaced the sitting board with city council members.

Balking at making the payment, however, doesn't mean residents and businesses who pay for sewage service won't have to pay up at some time, council members and attorney Ken Elwood said.

"I'm going to indicate when you engage the services of an attorney, you don't necessarily have control over the cost and where they go with it," Elwood said Friday. "It's a moving target. It can get expensive if the person who hired them is not managing (the expenses)."

Elwood represents both the council and the utility services board in the city.

The former board, under direction from Snyder and made mostly of his appointments, voted on Feb. 8 to hire Faegre Baker Daniels to stop the council from stripping Snyder of his $30,000 salary, but the law firm's invoice indicates the firm began work on the case Feb. 5.

The $19,651 in fees riled some council members.

"I don't think the (former) board should've hired a law firm to go out and investigate this for them," said Councilman Collin Czilli. "They had an attorney they were paying that could've done the work.

"I don't think we should (pay), but, if we're ordered to pay (Faegre Baker Daniels' legal fees) by a court of if legal counsel advises it, then we may have to pay for it."

Council President Mark Oprisko said the former board's hiring of the Chicago law firm as "unfortunate," but Oprisko said he's inclined to fight at least part of the firm's expenses.

"I personally feel that anything prior to Feb 8, before there was action taken by the former board to vote on hiring (Faegre Baker Daniels) shouldn't be paid," Oprisko said. "Anything prior to the eighth (of February) probably is not going to get paid by the USB."

Elwood and Oprisko said Snyder told them he will ask Faegre Baker Daniels to lower the bill, but Snyder did not return calls seeking comment.

The mayor may have had the legal right to hire the law firm and ask the former board to ratify it, but the situation is "complicated," Elwood said.

"The mayor, as president of the utility services board, could engage the services of an attorney and have it later ratified by the utility services board," Elwood said. "It could be interpreted as legal, (Snyder) engaging the (Faegre Baker Daniels) services on the fifth (of February) and having it ratified on the eighth (of February), but, if all you got from it was a two-page letter, that's a pretty extreme bill."

Monday, July 17, 2017

UP Northern Lights


Northern Lights in the UP - and wouldn't you know it, I had issues with time lapse on my 35mm.

Oh well, on the bright side: 1] We were parked under the Milky Way; 2] Had a great time with friends; and 3] Caught some audio of Lake Superior waves hitting the shore.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Enjoying life to the fullest in the Michigan UP





Enjoying life to the fullest in the Michigan UP.

Meanwhile back in Indiana, federally indicted Mayor Snyder's defense attorney Thomas Kirsch - has been nominated by president Trump to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

Life is good, eh.



Friday, July 14, 2017

07142017 - Portage Mayor James Snyder indictment drama just gets more and more entertaining



Poor federally indicted Mayor Snyder is having one of those 'someone peed in his Cheerios days', eh. One can only imagine his reaction to hearing that his defense attorney was named as the US Attorney for northwest Indiana.





Schererville lawyer nominated for U.S. attorney
Post-Tribune
July 14, 2017
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-us-attorney-nominee-st-0715-20170714-story.html
President Donald Trump nominated a Schererville attorney Friday to become the next U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

Thomas Kirsch, now a partner at Winston and Strawn, LLP., in Chicago is one of the two potential U.S. attorneys nominated by the president, according to an announcement from Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. Kirsch, if confirmed, will fill the vacancy left by former U.S. Attorney David Capp, a long-time federal prosecutor who led the Northern District of Indiana for eight years.

"Tom has a great legal mind and is a fearless litigator who has shown a willingness to take on powerful interests," said Young, in a statement. "I have no doubt he will continue the laudable work done by David Capp over the last decade."

Kirsch, 43, was unavailable for comment Friday.

Prior to joining Winston and Strawn, Kirsch was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Indiana. Kirsch attended Indiana University and Harvard Law School.

"We're always happy to see our local talent rise to the top," said Adam Sedia, president of the Lake County Bar Association and an associate at Hoeppner Wagner and Evans, Merrillville.

Kirsch currently represents Portage Mayor James Snyder, who was indicted in November on public corruption charges, according to court records.

Capp, who worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office for more than 30 years, submitted his resignation in March per the request of the Trump administration, even though he planned to retire in June, according to a press release. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sought resignations for the U.S. attorneys appointed under former President Barack Obama, the Associated Press reported.

Clifford Johnson, a first assistant U.S. attorney, is serving as the interim U.S. Attorney.

The president also nominated Joshua Minkler, of Zionsville, to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.










UPDATE: Schererville's Kirsch named new U.S. Attorney
NWI Times
Jul 14, 2017
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/schererville-s-kirsch-named-as-new-u-s-attorney/article_a918f0b8-de46-5165-aa04-6eeb6ba6d9ca.html



HAMMOND — President Donald Trump has nominated a Schererville man to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young congratulated Thomas L. Kirsch II, of Schererville, who will oversee criminal prosecutions for the U.S. District offices of Hammond, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Lafayette. The U.S. District of Northern Indiana comprises 32 counties.

Kirsch will replace Clifford Johnson, who has served as acting U.S. Attorney since David Capp's departure in March. His nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Kirsch is currently a partner with the Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP, where his practice focuses on litigation and investigations.

Kirsch served as an assistant U.S. Attorney here from 2001 to 2008. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1996 in economics and political science, with honors, and a law degree from Harvard University.

Kirsch currently is defense lawyer for Portage Mayor James Snyder, who on Nov. 16 was indicted on charges he solicited money from a local businessman to put him on the city's towing list. Snyder is a Republican in his second term as mayor of the largest city in Porter County. His federal corruption and bribery trial has been pushed back to January.

Neither Snyder nor Kirsch, who was out of his law office Friday afternoon, could be reached for comment.

Young today praised the nomination of what he termed an extraordinarily qualified Hoosier.

"Tom has a great legal mind and is a fearless litigator who has shown a willingness to take on powerful interests. I have no doubt he will continue the laudable work done by David Capp over the last decade," Young said.

Capp said Friday, "I think it's an excellent choice. Tom is a very experienced litigator. I worked hand in hand with him for about seven years. He has great judgment. I never hesitated to assign him our most complex case whether it was violent crime or public corruption.

"Tom will be well-received by everyone in the U.S. Attorney's office, law enforcement, the judiciary, the defense bar. He is a great choice," Capp said.

The biography on the law office's website states he focused as an assistant U.S. Attorney here on white collar investigations and prosecutions, including the prosecution of numerous elected and appointed public officials.

He also handled complex high-profile white collar investigations, prosecuted many jury trials, and briefed and argued numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

He has prosecuted offenses in numerous areas including: mail and wire fraud; honest services fraud; tax fraud; bank fraud; health care fraud; conspiracy; extortion; money laundering; racketeering; obstruction of justice; perjury; and gangs and narcotics.

For one year, Kirsch also served as counsel to the assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy. While in Washington, D.C., he assisted in developing legislative and policy proposals in corporate crime, violent crime and counter-terrorism.

07142017 - Portage Mayor Snyder's defense attorney, Thomas Kirsch, nominated for NW Indiana US Attorney


Federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder's defense attorney - Thomas Kirsch - was nominated for Northwest Indiana US Attorney,  by President Trump ... This should get interesting, eh.






Conflict will have to be resolved as new U.S. Atty Kirsch moves from defense to prosecution
NWI Times
Jul 20, 2017
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/conflict-will-have-to-be-resolved-as-new-u-s/article_3628a3e7-4ee5-5df3-aa20-be04029683f0.html

HAMMOND — Thomas Lee Kirsch II's latest career move could require some shuffling by clients and the federal prosecution of Portage's mayor.

The White House announced last week it is nominating Kirsch to replace interim U.S. Attorney Clifford Johnson.

Jay Kenworthy, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said Monday confirmation hearings may not be scheduled for some months. Kirsch, a Republican sponsored by Young, is expected to win approval from the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.

Once confirmed, Kirsch would direct the prosecution of hundreds of criminal cases in the U.S. District Courts in Hammond, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Lafayette.

Except one, according to legal experts knowledgeable in state and federal ethics standards.

Portage Mayor James Snyder hired Kirsch last year to stand by his side during a Nov. 18 arraignment to answer federal charges of bribery, solicitation of bribery and providing false information to the Internal Revenue Service to conceal income and assets to repay a tax debt.

Snyder, who has pleaded not guilty, has included Kirsch on his defense team since then. Federal prosecutors in Hammond, soon expecting to be under Kirsch's supervision, are preparing evidence against Snyder, whose trial is set to begin in January.

The U.S. Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment.

The Standards of Conduct page of the DOJ's Offices of the U.S. Attorneys' website states that on entering the department for duty, attorneys must, in general, withdraw from all cases they are currently handling and avoid an appearance of biased or less-than-impartial conduct.

"Clearly, he cannot prosecute his former client," Donald Lundberg said this week. Lundberg is an Indianapolis lawyer and a former Indiana Supreme Court investigator of lawyer ethics. He also specializes in helping set standards of ethics and professional responsibility for the American Bar Association.

"The question then becomes whether his conflict of interest can be imputed to his entire (U.S. attorney's) office," Lundberg said. "If it is, then the entire office is disqualified."

Lundberg said he believes the DOJ has guidelines governing potential conflicts and when a U.S. attorney must be recused from a case. "I can guarantee you this is not the first time this has arisen," Lundberg said.

He said Indiana state prosecutors commonly recuse themselves from cases in which they have conflicts of interest with the defendant, requiring the appointment of a special prosecutor, often from a different county.

Lundberg said an Indiana attorney is generally prohibited from using the secrets learned from a former client to later put that client in jeopardy.

"General conflict-of-interest principles come into play. A lawyer can never be adverse to a former client in the same or substantially related matter," he said.

Neither Kirsch nor Snyder could be reached for comment.

Kenworthy, of Young's office, said U.S. attorney nominees routinely are asked to report any potential conflicts to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. A spokesperson for that office declined comment

"The Department of Justice could take this prosecution outside the (Northern Indiana) district altogether and essentially recuse the entire (Hammond) office because of Tom's position there," said Larry Mackey, an Indianapolis attorney and former federal prosecutor for 19 years in Illinois and downstate Indiana.

"The prosecution could then fall to a public corruption section (of lawyers) in Justice Main in Washington, D.C., that handle cases all around the country.

"Another alternative is for a prosecutor from another district, from Chicago, for example, to be appointed for purposes of that prosecution. The direction, decision making and strategy would be done by somebody other than Tom," Mackey said.

"A third option would be to keep the leadership of the prosecution inside the Northern Indiana District's office and simply wall off their decision making in the case from (Kirsch)."










Senate Republicans applaud president’s U.S. attorney nominees
By Ripon Advance News Service
July 18, 2017
https://riponadvance.com/stories/senate-republicans-applaud-presidents-u-s-attorney-nominees/
President Donald Trump’s nominations of U.S. attorneys to serve Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina drew praise from U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

The president nominated Thomas Kirsch to serve as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, Joshua Minkler to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Bobby Higdon to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Jeffrey Jensen to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Young said Kirsch, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Indiana’s Northern District, has a “great legal mind” and a willingness to take on powerful interests. Minkler, who spent 21 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District, Young added, has demonstrated “integrity and a heart for his community” throughout his career.

“Both Josh and Tom are respected throughout the state,” Young said. “I’m confident that if partisan politics do not stand in the way, the vast majority of my Senate colleagues will vote for confirmation.”

Blunt said Jensen, a former FBI agent and executive U.S. attorney, is uniquely qualified to serve as U.S. Attorney for Missouri’s Eastern District.

“I’ve received numerous letters of support for Mr. Jensen’s nomination from local and federal law enforcement officers, all of which speak to his exceptional level of dedication, integrity and leadership ability,” Blunt said. “Mr. Jensen has a demonstrated commitment to building stronger, safer communities through both his public service and civic involvement. I look forward to supporting his nomination as the confirmation process moves forward.”

Higdon, meanwhile, previously handled high-profile cases as a federal prosecutor and also served as the criminal chief in North Carolina’s Eastern District before his appointment.

“Bobby Higdon is an incredibly qualified choice for U.S. Attorney, holding decades of prosecutorial experience,” Tillis said. “Eastern North Carolina will benefit from Bobby’s leadership.”

Burr agreed that Higdon is “an excellent choice” to serve as U.S. attorney for North Carolina’s Eastern District.

“He has extensive legal expertise, having served as an assistant United States attorney in both the Western and Eastern Districts of North Carolina, and will provide fair and experienced leadership in this role,” Burr said.










For Immediate Release:
President Donald J. Trump Announces Third Wave of United States Attorney Candidate Nominations
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
July 14, 2017
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/14/president-donald-j-trump-announces-third-wave-united-states-attorney
President Donald J. Trump today announced his third wave of United States Attorney candidates. 

The United States Attorney serves as the chief Federal law enforcement officer within his or her Federal judicial district.  These candidates share the President’s vision for “Making America Safe Again.”  Accordingly, the President today announced his intent to nominate these individuals to serve as United States Attorney:

If confirmed, Peter E. Deegan, Jr. of Iowa will serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.  Mr. Deegan is currently an Assistant United States Attorney and the Chief of the Criminal Division in the Northern District of Iowa.  He has worked at the Iowa U.S. Attorney’s Office for more than 10 years.  He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan from 2004 to 2006.  Mr. Deegan has prosecuted a variety of Federal offenses with an emphasis on complex white collar and business crime.  He previously was an associate attorney at Murphy Smith & Polk PC in Chicago, where his practice focused on labor and employment litigation.  Mr. Deegan clerked for the Honorable Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.  He received his B.A., cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School.

If confirmed, Robert J. Higdon, Jr. of North Carolina will serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  Mr. Higdon is currently a partner at the law firm of Williams Mullen.  He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in both the Western and Eastern Districts of North Carolina.  In the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Higdon served as Chief of the Criminal Division for more than 11 years.  Mr. Higdon also served as senior trial counsel in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice.  He received his B.A., cum laude, from Wake Forest University and his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

If confirmed, Jeffrey B. Jensen of St. Louis will serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.  Mr. Jensen is currently a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP.  He served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Missouri starting in 1999, and was Executive United States Attorney from 2005 to 2009.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Jensen was an FBI Special Agent from 1989 to 1999.  While working at the FBI, Mr. Jensen attended St. Louis University School of Law at night, graduating magna cum laude.  He also received his B.A., cum laude, from Indiana University School of Business.

If confirmed, Thomas L. Kirsch II of Indiana will serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.  Mr. Kirsch is currently a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, where his practice focuses on complex litigation and corporate investigations.  Previously, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana and as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy.  Mr. Kirsch clerked for the Honorable John Daniel Tinder of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.  He received his B.A. from Indiana University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

If confirmed, Marc Krickbaum of Illinois will serve as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.  Mr. Krickbaum is currently an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, and he previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Iowa.  Prior to joining those U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Mr. Krickbaum served as counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, and as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. Mr. Krickbaum clerked for the Honorable Steven M. Colloton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Honorable Mark Filip of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  He received his B.A. with highest distinction from the University of Iowa, and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

If confirmed, Joshua J. Minkler of Indiana will serve as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.  Mr. Minkler has served as the interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana since June 2015.  Prior to that appointment, he served for 21 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Indiana, where he held the positions of First Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Drug and Violent Crime Unit.  Before he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Minkler served for five years as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Office of the Kent County Michigan Prosecuting Attorney, where he prosecuted violent crimes.  Mr. Minkler received his B.A. from Wabash College, and his J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.   










Schererville lawyer nominated for U.S. attorney
Post-Tribune
July 14, 2017
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-us-attorney-nominee-st-0715-20170714-story.html
President Donald Trump nominated a Schererville attorney Friday to become the next U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

Thomas Kirsch, now a partner at Winston and Strawn, LLP., in Chicago is one of the two potential U.S. attorneys nominated by the president, according to an announcement from Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. Kirsch, if confirmed, will fill the vacancy left by former U.S. Attorney David Capp, a long-time federal prosecutor who led the Northern District of Indiana for eight years.

"Tom has a great legal mind and is a fearless litigator who has shown a willingness to take on powerful interests," said Young, in a statement. "I have no doubt he will continue the laudable work done by David Capp over the last decade."

Kirsch, 43, was unavailable for comment Friday.

Prior to joining Winston and Strawn, Kirsch was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Indiana. Kirsch attended Indiana University and Harvard Law School.

"We're always happy to see our local talent rise to the top," said Adam Sedia, president of the Lake County Bar Association and an associate at Hoeppner Wagner and Evans, Merrillville.

Kirsch currently represents Portage Mayor James Snyder, who was indicted in November on public corruption charges, according to court records.

Capp, who worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office for more than 30 years, submitted his resignation in March per the request of the Trump administration, even though he planned to retire in June, according to a press release. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sought resignations for the U.S. attorneys appointed under former President Barack Obama, the Associated Press reported.

Clifford Johnson, a first assistant U.S. attorney, is serving as the interim U.S. Attorney.

The president also nominated Joshua Minkler, of Zionsville, to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.









UPDATE: Schererville's Kirsch named new U.S. Attorney
NWI Times
Jul 14, 2017
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/schererville-s-kirsch-named-as-new-u-s-attorney/article_a918f0b8-de46-5165-aa04-6eeb6ba6d9ca.html


HAMMOND — President Donald Trump has nominated a Schererville man to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young congratulated Thomas L. Kirsch II, of Schererville, who will oversee criminal prosecutions for the U.S. District offices of Hammond, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Lafayette. The U.S. District of Northern Indiana comprises 32 counties.

Kirsch will replace Clifford Johnson, who has served as acting U.S. Attorney since David Capp's departure in March. His nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Kirsch is currently a partner with the Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP, where his practice focuses on litigation and investigations.

Kirsch served as an assistant U.S. Attorney here from 2001 to 2008. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1996 in economics and political science, with honors, and a law degree from Harvard University.

Kirsch currently is defense lawyer for Portage Mayor James Snyder, who on Nov. 16 was indicted on charges he solicited money from a local businessman to put him on the city's towing list. Snyder is a Republican in his second term as mayor of the largest city in Porter County. His federal corruption and bribery trial has been pushed back to January.

Neither Snyder nor Kirsch, who was out of his law office Friday afternoon, could be reached for comment.

Young today praised the nomination of what he termed an extraordinarily qualified Hoosier.

"Tom has a great legal mind and is a fearless litigator who has shown a willingness to take on powerful interests. I have no doubt he will continue the laudable work done by David Capp over the last decade," Young said.

Capp said Friday, "I think it's an excellent choice. Tom is a very experienced litigator. I worked hand in hand with him for about seven years. He has great judgment. I never hesitated to assign him our most complex case whether it was violent crime or public corruption.

"Tom will be well-received by everyone in the U.S. Attorney's office, law enforcement, the judiciary, the defense bar. He is a great choice," Capp said.

The biography on the law office's website states he focused as an assistant U.S. Attorney here on white collar investigations and prosecutions, including the prosecution of numerous elected and appointed public officials.

He also handled complex high-profile white collar investigations, prosecuted many jury trials, and briefed and argued numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

He has prosecuted offenses in numerous areas including: mail and wire fraud; honest services fraud; tax fraud; bank fraud; health care fraud; conspiracy; extortion; money laundering; racketeering; obstruction of justice; perjury; and gangs and narcotics.

For one year, Kirsch also served as counsel to the assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy. While in Washington, D.C., he assisted in developing legislative and policy proposals in corporate crime, violent crime and counter-terrorism.

Enjoying life in UP, after surviving Porter County Indiana corruption




Meanwhile, back in Porter County Indiana, federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder is facing public corruption charges. Life is good, eh :)


























Sunday, July 9, 2017

Do I really need another reason to hate Indiana?


To the jerk who hit my truck in the Michigan City Indiana Walmart parking lot last night [at approximately 1:30 AM] - and then drove off: Although I have full coverage insurance, thanks to driving off without reporting the accident, I will now have to pay the deductible to have YOUR damage to my vehicle repaired. 





Some insight into my day yesterday: Ken got sick yesterday afternoon and I was cleaning and washing bedding until almost midnight. When I finally sat down after having done everything, Ken announced that he was all out of tummy meds. UGH!

Decided to make the most out of this 'road trip' and give myself a break at the same time - took the back roads and went across the border to Indiana so I could enjoy the night air and a break from care-giving. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Judiciary Commission investigation of Porter County Magistrate James Johnson - The disappearing investigation




WTF ever happened to the Indiana Judiciary Commission's investigation of Porter County Superior Court Magistrate James Johnson? How did the investigation simply 'disappear'? Who was involved in protecting Johnson from accountability for his actions against those who were unfortunate to have their divorce cases before him? AND, who covered up Magistrate Johnson's corruption?

Yes, I know it has been seven years since the investigation - BUT, having endured an unlawful police entry into my home by the Portage PD, and having my beloved furbabies Abbi and Bailey killed in retaliation for me having reported Johnson - I have a right to ask: "WTF happened??!!" AND, I am entitled to answers.


A magistrate was caught red-handed by the State, improperly handling approximately 100 divorce cases - and, not one official in Porter County was concerned about the victims - instead, the officials were concerned about protecting the corrupt magistrate. 

What's equally puzzling is that the investigation of Johnson just simply vanished, after the magistrate had been given a two week extension to comply with the Indiana Judiciary Commission - on the exact date of the unlawful police entry into my home.


One of the officials who played a role in covering up the unlawful police entry into my home, and then put a halt into an investigation, was  none other than federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder.

At the very least, I am OWED answers for the unlawful police entry into my home and the deaths of my furbabies, Abbi Mae and Bailey Su. And, I am OWED the funds the Portage police officers were talking about on their radios, the day of the unlawful police entry - marital funds / assets my ex had hidden from me, that police claimed were, "More money than I have ever seen... Can't believe he has that much money..."



FBI Public Corruption 

FBI Online Tips

FBI Regional Corruption Hotlines










News Articles - Judiciary Commission investigation of Porter County Magistrate James Johnson

07072010 - News Article - Hand of justice deemed too slow - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07072010 - News Article - Magistrate investigated on allegations of slow work flow - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07112010 - News Article - County judges failing to keep up - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07112010 - News Article - Magistrates failing to keep up with case loads - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07202010 - News Article - Porter County judges to discuss magistrate's performance - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07202010 - News Article - By a jury of his peers - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07212010 - News Article - Help to be brought in for magistrate - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation

07212010 - News Article - Here comes the judge's backup help - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07212010 - News Article - Porter judges take stand - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07222010 - News Article - Indiana magistrate to get help clearing case backlog - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07232010 - News Article - EDITORIAL: Speedy trials, speedy rulings - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07232010 - News Article - POLL - Should Porter County hire a temporary, part-time probate commissioner to assist Magistrate James Johnson - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07232010 - News Article - MARK KIESLING: Magistrate's progress bears watching - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07242010 - News Article - Attorney hired to help ease court's backlog in Porter County - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07242010 - News Article - Attorney is hired to help ease backlog. Hearing sheds light on the pain of trial delays - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


07242010 - News Article - Probate commissioner named to help magistrate with cases - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


10072010 - News Article - Magistrate still working on backlog - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


10072010 - News Article - Magistrate continues working on backlog - Two week extension granted for clearing family law paperwork - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


10072010 - Magistrate Johnson judicial investigation - Confidential Caution?


05242011 - News Article - Porter County magistrate stepping down - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


05242011 - News Article - Porter County magistrate resigns amid case backlog - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


05252011 - News Article - Magistrate James Johnson tenders his resignation - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation


06152011 - News Article - Applications being accepted for magistrate - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation










Porter County Magistrate James Johnson - Complaints filed


























































"She filed for divorce on March 23, 2011, and on April 5, Magistrate James Johnson’s court filed a provisional order that divided some assets before the divorce went to court"
[Trial date set in Portage killing. Post Tribune. 05022011]



"According to the Porter County Clerk’s Office, Cheryl Miller applied for a protective order from her husband. A Porter County judge granted her the order in April and declared the husband be removed from the residence. The couple filed for divorce April 13."
[2 dead in Kouts firebombing, suicide. Post Tribune. 05312011] 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

07022017 - NWI Times Editorial Board begs federally indicted Portage Mayor Snyder to RESIGN



Wondering if  federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder is listening...






MARC CHASE: Portage needs clean break from Snyder
NWI Times
Marc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330
Jul 2, 2017
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/marc-chase/marc-chase-portage-needs-clean-break-from-snyder/article_14931464-42fc-57d0-a5cb-fa7d71e8b293.html

Sometimes independence is all about a clean break from the smoldering wreckage of failed relationships.

Many of us have been in that very place in life, desperately attempting to salvage a deteriorating connection only to realize the relationship can't be saved.

Responsible adults move on, hopefully with some decorum. The delusional or selfish cling to the remnants of what was, continuing to perpetuate the chaos and venom of a bad union.

This is precisely the crossroads at which criminally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder and his city seem to find themselves right now.

On this Independence Day weekend, Portage sure could use a clean break from Snyder, who's clearly determined to cling to his elected office while dragging his city's name and processes through the mud.

After a federal grand jury indicted Snyder on bribery charges related to his mayoral office and towing contracts in November, I implored him to resign.


So did The Times Editorial Board.


Though he's due a fair trial in court that's yet to occur, the strain of operating under the shadow of such felony allegations have made the business of leading a city an incredibly stifling environment.

Much like a failing marriage, it's manifested itself in all sorts of city administration chaos and incivility lately.

At recent public meetings, in the throes of a city debate regarding the mayor's proposed city employee salary ordinance, Snyder has exchanged verbal jabs with other city leaders unbecoming a municipal chief executive.

He's been quoted as calling one councilman a "fat liar," and there even were reports of physical chest bumping in the heat of some arguments.

Though the ordinance issues appear to have been finally ironed out last week, it took a couple of meetings with uncivil verbal sniping to get there.

The conflicts are symptoms of a greater illness.

The longer Snyder clings to his mayoral office to collect his municipal paycheck, the worse we can expect these outbursts to become.

Aside from the clear psychological strain a felony federal indictment can place on the human psyche is the shroud of mistrust any public official would face from their peers, employees and the public. In the case of the salary ordinance, how does a mayor retain credibility in setting the level of city employees' pay when he's accused of illegally enriching himself through public office.

Such mistrust would come naturally. By the time a federal indictment is handed down in Hammond federal court, a grand jury already has considered evidence which it believes warrants criminal charges.

We also know the track record of the local U.S. attorney. The office just doesn't lose public corruption cases. More than 70 Region public officials or their politically connected contractor friends have learned this in felony convictions since the mid-1980s.

His criminal charges notwithstanding, Snyder has exhibited in the past an affinity for Portage and its residents.

Many of the men and women of our nation's 13 original colonies also once held an affinity for their native host nation of England.

But irreconcilable differences emerged, and the biggest clean break in American history occurred when our nation declared independence from England on July 4, 1776.

It didn't stop King George from attempting to force a continued marriage with the colonists via war. We all know the king's side lost the Revolutionary War, and our great nation was born.

Loose historical metaphors aside — and Snyder is no king — the Portage mayor should spare his city the madness of King George and walk away.

But if he won't, Portage should keep its chin up, avoid as much chaotic contact with Snyder as possible and prepare for the inevitable day of independence when Snyder and his shroud of impropriety no longer hang over the city.