Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hurtgen Case Moves Forward As Kickback Investigation Expands

Nick Hurtgen, a former aide to ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson, had another uneventful hearing today in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Attorneys told Judge John F. Grady more time is needed for discovery, and a status hearing was set for Nov. 29.

The news today, however, involved a newly unsealed indictment against Hurtgen co-defendant Stuart Levine and Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a top fundraiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Among other charges, the indictment alleges that Levine and Rezko assisted Janesville-based Mercy Hospital in getting a permit to build a new hospital in Crystal Lake, Illinois, in exchange for a kickback to be paid by the contractor to Levine and Rezko of approximately $1 million.

U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn said the indictment and new charges do not involve Hurtgen, formerly senior managing director in the Chicago office of Bear Stearns & Co. Hurtgen is facing three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of extortion.

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