Senator Wilcox seeks to close loophole that allows pawnbrokers to skirt 36% APR cap on loans
Springfield, IL— State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) stood with a bipartisan group of policymakers at the State Capitol on Wednesday to launch new legislation that would close a dangerous loophole in predatory loan practices by pawnbrokers.
After the bill was signed into law, pawnbrokers took the issue to a Sangamon County judge, and successfully received an injunction that exempted them from the 36% cap.
Through Senate Bill 4241, legislators are attempting to force pawnbrokers to adhere to the same APR cap as other “quick cash” loan agencies.
“Far too many Illinoisans fall victim to this kind of predatory loans, and sadly there are bad actors out there that are all to willing to take advantage of unsuspecting and uneducated consumers,” said Sen. Wilcox.
“The PLPA has shown great success in its first year and a half of existence, and now we must close this loophole with pawnbrokers.”
According to Wilcox, prior to the adoption of the PLPA, the average APR on a payday loan was just under 300%, with the average APR on a title loan coming in at 179%.
Whereas federal law already had protections in place that capped the APR for active-duty military at 36%, there was no such provision for veterans or members of the general public. The PLPA extended that 36% APR to all consumers.
“As a veteran and former commander in the U.S. Air Force, I saw many examples of predatory loan providers taking advantage of military personnel with exorbitant interest rates on small-dollar loans,” Sen. Wilcox said.
“It was disheartening to learn that pawnbrokers found a way to continue charging their outrageous interest rates, but now we have an opportunity to realize the full legislative intent behind the PLPA.
“We must pass SB 4241 quickly and immediately hold pawnbrokers to the same APR limit as other loan providers.”
Wilcox continued, “However, the issue is bigger than simply legislating a ‘fix.’ We need to do a better job of educating consumers on the dangers of these types of loans, and stressing the importance of overall money management.”
SB 4241 awaits assignment to a substantive committee for a hearing.
McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Michael Rein, announced that his office was notified on November 25, 2022 at around 5:15 pm by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the death of Claude Sonday of Bull Valley.
Mr. Sonday was the pilot of an airplane that crashed at Galt Airport (One Zero Charlie).
Mr. Sonday was pronounced deceased at the scene.
An autopsy was performed on November 29, 2022. Toxicology is currently pending.
The Coroner’s Office is continuing to work collaboratively with McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, NTSB and FAA at this time.
With no trial in sight for Mike Madigan or Ed Burke, this year’s Crook County Blue Ribbon could go to the crook descrbed below.
From the U.S. Attorney:
Former Cook County Land Bank Authority Employee Charged in Scheme To Fraudulently Purchase and Resell Properties
CHICAGO — A former employee of the Cook County Land Bank Authority used “straw buyers” to fraudulently purchase and resell properties from the agency on his behalf, according to a federal fraud charge filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
MUSTAFAA SALEH, 36, of Chicago, is charged with one count of wire fraud.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Arraignment in U.S. District Court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.
The charge was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Machelle L. Jindra, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and John S. Morales, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Valuable assistance was provided by the Office of Special Inspector General for Troubled Asset Relief Program, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, Cook County Office of Independent Inspector General, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau, Brian Netols, and Kirsten Moran.
Saleh worked as an asset manager for the CCLBA, a governmental entity that promoted the redevelopment and reuse of vacant, foreclosed, abandoned, and tax delinquent real estate by acquiring and transferring the property to private ownership.
The CCLBA sold the real estate at below-market rates and prohibited the buyers from selling or renting a property until the CCLBA was satisfied that the buyer had adequately improved it. CCLBA employees were prohibited from purchasing a property from the agency unless it would be used for the employee’s primary residence.
According to the criminal information, Saleh from 2016 to 2021 used nominee or “straw” buyers to fraudulently purchase six properties from the CCLBA on Saleh’s behalf and thereafter redeveloped, resold, and otherwise used the properties for Saleh’s financial benefit.
The properties were located in Chicago and the nearby suburbs of Oak Lawn and Midlothian, the information states.
In addition to the alleged property fraud, the information also accuses Saleh of fraudulently obtaining maintenance work from the CCLBA.
Saleh in 2016 formed a property maintenance company called Evergreen Property Services and directed another individual to pose as its owner, the information states.
Over the next three years, Saleh caused the CCLBA to contract with Evergreen and pay it more than $1 million for property maintenance services.
CCLBA employees were prohibited from having a financial interest in property maintenance companies contracting with the agency.
The public is reminded that a charge is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Governor Pritzker Announces Historic Agreement to Eliminate Pandemic Unemployment Debt, Protect Benefits for Workers
Agreement Will Supplement State’s Trust Fund and Rainy-Day Fund, Secure Employer Tax Credits, and Save Taxpayers Millions
SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker announced today an historic agreement to pay off the remaining $1.36 billion unemployment insurance loan balance, replenish the fund for the future, and protect benefits for working families. The agreement will save taxpayers an estimated $20 million in interest costs that would be due next September and preserves hundreds of millions of dollars in future federal tax credits for Illinois employers.
The agreement between representatives from business, labor, bipartisan members of the General Assembly, and the state, will contribute more than $1.8 billion in state funds to the unemployment insurance trust fund, which includes the payment of the remaining federal loan balance borrowed under Title XII of the Social Security Act.
The remaining $450 million will be placed into the trust fund from state funds as an interest-free loan. As the loan is repaid over the next ten years, funds will be deposited directly into the state’s rainy-day fund.
“I’m proud to announce that together, we’ve reached a historic, bipartisan agreement to eliminate pandemic-induced UI Trust Fund debt, replenish the fund for the future, protect benefits for working families, and further fuel Illinois’ strong economic trajectory,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Republicans and Democrats are delivering a historic state investment of $1.8 billion to the Unemployment Trust Fund. This bipartisan agreement eliminates the final portion of the $4.5 billion debt forced upon our state during the pandemic and saves Illinois businesses and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade.”
“The people of our state deserve a secure future, one that supports working families and continues to make Illinois a great place to live,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Through collaboration and a shared vision among the stakeholders who came together in the work, this agreement is another example of our commitment to responsible, forward-thinking leadership that builds the groundwork for a strong economy for years to come.”
“In my brief tenure as Senate President, what I’m most proud of is the work we’ve done to restore fiscal stability, said Senate President Don Harmon (D- Oak Park). This agreement is yet another step forward. I applaud everyone involved for coming to the table with workable ideas and the desire to be part of a solution.”
“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges for unemployment insurance systems across the nation and without action, Illinois employers would have faced crushing tax increases in the midst of other challenges.
“This agreement will ease that pressure and provide greater stability for our system, while also ensuring employers pay over $900 million less in taxes over the next five years than they otherwise would have,” said Rob Karr, President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“On behalf of the Joint Employers, we extend our appreciation to our partners in organized labor, Gov. JB Pritzker and his staff, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the House and Senate for their dedication to working together to solve what we hope is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.”
“Responsible fiscal decisions and new lows in unemployment claims have put our state in an advantageous position,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago). “Thanks to the collective work of so many, our budgets are balanced, and we have the opportunity to fully pay down our debt in a timely manner.”
“This action is just the latest building block in our efforts to improve the financial status of our state,” said State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “By paying what we owe and continuing to pass responsible budgets, our state’s fiscal status only continues to improve.”
“I’m proud of the long hours negotiators on both sides have put into creating this agreement,” said State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris).
“It’s good to know we’re working together to pay off debt and even better to know that the funds previously allocated to paying down that debt will now go to shoring up the state’s Rainy Day Fund.”
“Paying off the unemployment insurance trust fund debt is a crucial step in our state’s continued recovery from the fiscal crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Representative Marcus Evans (D-Chicago). “Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues in the legislature, Governor Pritzker, and numerous stakeholders in the business community and organized labor, we can now proudly say we are on the path toward fiscal security in the state of Illinois.”
“This monumental agreement is an example of what is possible when sound financial choices are made,” said State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea). “Through these actions, we’re saving taxpayer and employer dollars while maintaining unemployment benefits and building on the state’s record of success in meeting our obligations.”
“This has been a long and tough process, but everyone stuck with it even when there were disagreements,” said State Representative Mike Marron (R-Fithian). “As a result, Business, Labor, Republicans, Democrats, the Governor, the Legislature, and IDES came together to get this deal done that will help both small business owners and Illinois workers.”
“This is a good agreement for both employees and the business community in the State of Illinois,” said State Representative Dan Ugaste (R-St. Charles).
“Across-the-aisle cooperation of this type is what provides the best results for everyone in the State.”
“The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been proud to work alongside the partners of the agreed bill process and is pleased the outcome is beneficial to the state, workers, and employers,” said IDES Director Kristin Richards. “The state’s Trust Fund is a critical resource, and ensuring its healthy future is in the best interest of our state’s economy.”
The agreement strengthens the state’s trust fund, alleviates a burden looming over businesses, and ensures there are no reductions in both the standard number of weeks of unemployment benefits and the amount a person can claim. The agreement is expected to pass via bipartisan legislation during upcoming legislative sessions.
The unemployment trust was forced to borrow $4.5 billion in federal funds to provide economic relief to the unprecedented number of unemployed workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the third significant contribution to the outstanding loan balance. In March of 2022, Governor Pritzker signed legislation which provided an historic
$2.7 billion contribution to assist the state’s unemployment trust fund via one-time federal ARPA dollars; in September of 2022,
another $450 million payment
was made toward the loan balance from the fund itself due to months-long historically low unemployment claims.
In addition to months of historically low unemployment claims, the state has created 770,000 more jobs since the bottom of the pandemic recession and surpassed one trillion dollars in GDP for the first time in history.
Madigan appears to have covered up for Franks’s sexual assault on his secretary which, according to her, took place in the Spring of 2015.
As I understand it, the Capitol staff actually work for Madigan and are assigned to the Representatives so she would have reported back to Madigan at the time if she reported it.
Yet it didn’t surface until the Spring of 2020 when Madigan’s own office was about to be raided.
He gave Franks up at that point to the newspaper’s FOIA request.
I surmize that someone, probably Madigan, tipped them off.
When Franks went down to Springfield to lobby for the bill that would have given him absolute power as County Board Chairman, there appears to have been a meeting with the secretary, Franks, and another legislator.
The secretary was observed to leave the office in tears and had words with Franks in the hallway.
From 2015 to when he ran for Chairman in 2016, Madigan would have had him by the short hairs, (literrally as well as figuratively) so his continuation in Springpatch would have no longer been tenable.
That is when he started making noises about the fake “pension scandal” involving County Board members in preparation for entry into local county level politics.
At that point, the 3 year statute of limitations on any criminal prosecutions would have expired based on her account of when it happened, which she wasnt too sure of.
The Sangamon County prosecutor later declined to prosecute, probably because the S/L had run at that point.
Has anyone seen Franks around since he left office?
Regional Office of Education Participating in 2033 Scripps National Spelling Bee
WOODSTOCK, Ill. – The McHenry County Regional Office of Education will be sending the winner of this spring’s McHenry County Spelling Bee to the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The county spelling bee, held at McHenry County College, will take place Wednesday, March 22, and the champion of the local competition will represent McHenry County in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which takes place in National Harbor, Md., from May 28 to June 2.
Regional Superintendent Diana Hartmann said she hopes every McHenry County elementary and middle school enrolls in the competition and holds spelling bees to send their winners to the county competition for the chance to compete nationally for the $50,000 grand prize.
“The Scripps spelling bee for almost a century has inspired a love of learning in children, and has helped cultivate life skills, such as public speaking, time management, and confidence, that last a lifetime and help children become successful adults,” Hartmann said.
“The McHenry County Regional Office of Education has served as an official Scripps National Spelling Bee regional partner for many years, and looks to continue this honored tradition.”
Elementary and middle schools have until Dec. 31 to enroll in the competition, and can do so by visiting www.spellingbee.com/enrollment.
Upon enrolling and paying the entry fee, schools will have access to study lists, rules, and other learning materials.
The Regional Office of Education is seeking local sponsors to help cover the cost of the spelling bee and sending the winner to the national competition – interested parties can contact Hartmann at 815-334-4055, or at DKHartmann@mchenrycountyil.gov
FREEPORT WOMAN GUILTY OF “STRAW PURCHASING” FIREARMS ON BEHALF OF CONVICTED FELON
ROCKFORD — A Freeport, Ill., woman admitted in federal court today that she “straw purchased” multiple firearms for a convicted felon whom she knew could not legally purchase the guns.
FELICYA KNOX, 31, pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.
Knox faces a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.
Sentencing is set for May 10, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in Rockford.
Knox admitted in a plea agreement that on multiple dates she knowingly made false and fictitious written statements to a firearms dealer in connection with the acquisition of the firearms.
She then transferred those guns to a known felon whom Knox knew could not legally purchase or possess them.
The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey L. Matthews, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
The Stephenson County Sheriff’s Office and the Freeport Police Department assisted in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica S. Maveus.
Disrupting illegal firearms trafficking is the focus of the Department of Justice’s Chicago Firearms Trafficking Strike Force. As part of the strike force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collaborates with ATF and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in the Northern District of Illinois and across the country to help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms and identify patterns, leads, and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.
Holding firearm offenders accountable through federal prosecution is also a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods. In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.
Of the seven, three are still in the public arena.
Kirk Dillard, who placed second, is Chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority, a relatively low-profile position.
In fifth place was Adam Andrzejewski.
He went on to found Open the Books, an organization dedicated to allowing the public to see how government spends out money.
What an impact that organization has made.
Just take a look at the following almost three-minute compilation of TV references to findings of Open the Books and appearances of Andrzejewski:
The subject matters are not mentioned, but they range from revealing royalty payments to NIH scientists to salaries of 120 million public employees, including Andrew Fauci (the highest paid Federal employee) and Algonquin Township‘s.
Other highlights of the reaearch follow:
How Fauci Profited During Pandemic – Net Worth Soared To $12.6 Million – Up $5 Million (2019-2021)
IRS Purchased $21.6 Million In Guns, Ammunition, and Military-Style Equipment Since 2006
Fauci’s Royalties And The $325 Million Royalty Payment Stream Hidden By NIH — Secret Third-Party Royalties Enriched the Agency, its Leaders, and 2,405 of its Scientists
Cracked Open California’s State Checkbook For The First Time In History – 201,000 Vendors Received $87 Billion In State Payments
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Pay-To-Play? Newsom Reaped $10.6 Million In Campaign Cash From 979 State Vendors Who Pocketed $6.2 Billion
Why Illinois Is In Trouble —132,188 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Earned $17 Billion Last Year!
The Government’s War on Transparency — published in The Wall Street Journal
$1.4 Billion Forgiven PPP Loans Paid To Wealthiest Law & Accounting Firms Across America — our elites gamed the system for personal gain
The Los Alamos Club… In China— 162 former scientists at our Los Alamos National Lab now work for the People’s Republic of China
Top-Paid LA Lifeguards Earned Up To $510,283 In 2021 — 98 lifeguards made more than $200,000 and 20 made more than $300,000!
Andrzejewski has really advanced American democracy.
Receiving about half as many votes as Andrzejewski was Dan Proft.
He leveraged his political consulting business to becoming a commentator on politics at various radio and television stations, now appearing on WIND on its morning show.
He convinced Lake Forest billionaire Richard Uihlein to finance expensive campaigns in the Illinois legislative and state arenas, including Darren Bailey’s campaign for Governor.
The only race in which his efforts have borne fruit, to the best of my knowledge, was that of State Rep. Allen Skillicorn.
The denominaton to which the churches I have attended since childhood belonged is breaking apart.
Membership and contributions are going down the drain.
Progressives contol conferences in the United States, where membership is pummeling as individual traditionlists leave their churches and traditional churches disaffiliate from the international United Methodist Church.
The growth tip is Africa, where Methodist know how to evangelize.
This week there was a story in the UM News reports a 38% budget cut has been recommended.
“1,314 churches have been approved for disaffiliation by annual conferences, with 1,131 of those approvals coming this year.”