Bank Executive Convicted of Loaning Manafort Money for Job With White House

A former Chicago bank executive was convicted on Tuesday of financial crimes related to his facilitation of millions of dollars in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort, all in an effort to obtain a coveted position in the Trump administration.

A jury in New York unanimously found the banker, Stephen M. Calk, 54, guilty of one count each of financial institution bribery and conspiracy to commit financial institution bribery.

The charges stemmed from Mr. Calk’s use of his position as chairman and chief executive of the Federal Savings Bank to push the bank to give $16 million in loans in 2016 to Mr. Manafort, who served as chairman of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign during a key stretch.

Just after the election, Mr. Calk sent Mr. Manafort a list of 10 positions ranked in order of preference, including Treasury secretary, commerce secretary and defense secretary, as well as 19 ambassadorships, which he also ranked, starting with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

In a statement after the conviction, Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said Mr. Calk “used the federally-insured bank he ran as his personal piggy bank to try and buy himself prestige and power.”

At the time of the loans, Mr. Manafort was trying to stave off foreclosure on several properties and was pressed for cash to support an opulent lifestyle after a stream of payments from Ukrainian consulting clients ran dry.

Mr. Manafort made two calls on Mr. Calk’s behalf in late 2016 to officials on Mr. Trump’s transition team, urging them to appoint Mr. Calk secretary of the Army, prosecutors said. Mr. Calk was interviewed at Trump Tower in 2017 for a job as under secretary of the Army, but was not hired.

Mr. Manafort, 72, was identified as a co-conspirator in the case against Mr. Calk, but he was not charged. He was, however, convicted of 10 felonies in 2018, including bank fraud related to the loans, in two cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Mr. Manafort’s seven-year prison sentence disappeared in December when he was pardoned by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Calk, who is scheduled to be sentenced in January, faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for the two charges.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.