Bear Steans’ Nick Hurtgen Pleads Guilty

One of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson’s “Wunderkinds” has plead guilty to federal charges concerning the Edwards Hospital Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board scandal.

Nicholas Hurtgen, who at the time was Managing Director of the Chicago office of Bear Stearns, also has a connection to ex-Crystal Laker and ex-felon Don Udstuen, who was an Illinois and McHenry County power broker.

When Wisconsin Energy was seeking an Illinois lobbyist in 1999, Hurtgen asked Don Udstuen’s advice. The government says that Udstuen conferred with Governor George Ryan and Ryan suggested Ryan’s good friend, lobbyist and former Republican State Senator Art Swanson. Swanson was hired.

Hurtgen was identified in a whistle-blowing suit filed by Naperville’s Edward Hospital. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Edwards’ lawsuit said the scheme began in 2001 when Udstuen of Crystal Lake introduced Hurtgen to Edward Hospital officials.

Convicted fixer Stuart Levine was the manipulator on the hospital certificate need licensing board. He was appointed the the board by both Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

Although the Hurtgen plea agreement does not mention Crystal Lake’s Mercy Hospital bid, financing by Bear Stearns figured into the deal to have Mercy hire Kiferbaum Construction, which was supposed to give Levine a kickback. Kiferbaum flipped, as did another Levine associate John Glennon.

Udstuen is the former head of the Illinois State Medical Society medical malpractice company, a super-lobbyist and a close adviser to former GOP Governor George Ryan. Facing a 22-count federal indictment alleging a host of corrupt activities while in public office, Udstuen plead guilty to federal corruption charges involving his work with the Ryan administration and cooperated with prosecutors on the trial, which led to Ryan’s conviction of political corruption.

Hurtgen was the Bear Stearns managing director in Chicago when then-Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander received $809,133.96 for doing no work (really; that’s what the documents filed by Bear Stearns Vincent A. Mazzaro, Managing Director/Principal & Controller of the Municipal Division, say) prior to the bond house selection for newly-sworn in Governor Rod Blagojevich’s $10 billion 1973 pension bond issuance.

The Chicago Sun-Times found that Hurtgen’s wife Kim was a 3.5% owner of Knight Infrastructure. An article I wrote for Illinois Leader was the first to report that Knight provided $29,726 in free plane rides for Blagojevich during 2002—before and after the fall election.

Knight got a lucrative contract to design and be construction manager for the $30 million World Shooting Complex in Sparta and is also earning $4.7 million in an oversight role in the remodeling of tollway oases.

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