A top fund-raiser for failed Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Ryan who later was reappointed to key state posts by Gov. Blagojevich, was rousted out of bed early Monday by FBI agents and hauled into court on fraud charges alleging kickbacks, influence-peddling and insider dealing.
All told, Stuart P. Levine, 59, abused his positions on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/Chicago Medical School board of trustees to the tune of $9.5 million, federal prosecutors stated in a 64-page indictment.
Charged along with Levine, of Highland Park, were P. Nicholas Hurtgen, 42, and Jacob Kiferbaum, 52, both of Glencoe. Hurtgen, a former executive with Bear Stearns & Co., and Kiferbaum, a construction magnate, took part in the schemes so their companies could obtain multimillion-dollar contracts, the government is alleging. Kiferbaum is cooperating in the investigation, which authorities said is only just beginning.
“It’s truly stunning what people will do when motivated by greed and backed by clout,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. “When you serve on the board of a state . . . it’s your job to look out for the citizens of Illinois . . . not to shake down bribes and extort people to steer contracts to your friends.”
On two occasions, Levine allegedly leveraged his position on the health facilities board, which oversees hospital and medical office construction in Illinois, to try to route lucrative construction and bond deals to Kiferbaum and Hurtgen in exchange for kickbacks. He used another board position at the Chicago Medical School in North Chicago to skim millions from construction deals given to Kiferbaum.