Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Press controversy

The Press controversy


kenneth ditkowsky

10:49 AM (19 hours ago)
The Press (Media) and the President are at WAR.    The Washington Post claims to exhibit exemplary journalism but fails to address the cancer of corruption that is literally destroying our democracy.   Billions of health care dollars are being stolen as government struggles to come up with universal health care in the face of a 700% fraud surcharge.    Philip Esformes was indicted in Florida for stealing a billion dollars in Health care funds and no hue and cry has developed!   The similar activities in Chicago and elsewhere barely get a word in the Media.   

I have to correct myself.  Lone voices in the wilderness are crying out and being systematically ignored.     Janet Phelan is under siege and actually fled the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! in fear for her life!

Ms. Phelan has a problem - she will not participate in a 'cover up' and her stories are not only News, but bring home the harsh reality of the truth.

Author: Janet Phelan

Got Free Speech? Not if you are an attorney…

Column: Society
13740735The Illinois Registration and Disciplinary Commission has just issued a recommendation for a three year suspension of the license to practice law of yet another activist attorney.
The prosecution of attorney JoAnne Denison by the IARDC goes to the heart of the amalgamation of the legal system in the US into one streamlined cruise missile. The weaponization of the legal system has been part and parcel of the general attack on the Bill of Rights and Constitutional protections which have resulted in such actions as President Obama placing kill orders on American citizens and the removal of citizenship from independent journalists.
Joanne Denison’s case is one which deserves enormous media attention (which it has not yet received) as well as howls of indignation (a bit muted, those). For the recommendation to suspend Denison’s license did not occur due to any act she committed as an attorney. She was not tried for misrepresenting a client, misappropriating funds or even courtroom misbehavior.
Rather, Denison was on trial for running a blog about corruption in probate court. The blog,, focuses on a particular adult guardianship case in Cook County Court in Illinois and is critical of a number of highly placed individuals in the Cook County legal system. According to the opening statements by IARDC attorney Melissa Smart, attorneys don’t have the same First Amendment rights that the rest of us do. Stated attorney Smart:
“This case is not about the Constitution or the First Amendment. You will see, precedent is abundantly clear, as an officer of the court, Ms. Denison cannot just say whatever she wants about judges and judicial officers because attorneys are held to a higher standard. We are held to a different standard.”
Last time I checked, the First  Amendment to the US constitution stated that free speech in the United States was a God-given right. I didn’t see anything about attorneys, doctors, journalists or any other profession having restrictions on those rights to free speech.
The attempt by attorney Smart to imply that these restrictions exist reveals a rather disturbing mindset, somewhat military in essence, wherein calling out a commanding officer can get you thrown in the brig.
In her opening statement, attorney Melissa Smart likened Denison’s blog to “yelling fire in a crowded theatre.” This was an inaccurate reference to a qualification placed on free speech by Schenck vs. The United States, in which falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre was barred.
But to yell fire when there is indeed a conflagration has never been an issue. This is, in fact, how lives may be saved and people alerted to a danger.
And if there is corruption in the courts, who better than an attorney to blow the whistle?
The question then arises, is Denison telling the truth or is she “falsely” shouting fire?
The panel sitting in judgment on JoAnne Denison did not allow her to answer this question. As the statements made in Denison’s blog pertained to the guardianship of Mary G. Sykes, Denison attempted repeatedly during the course of her hearing to bring up instances where the actions of the attorneys and the judges assigned to the Sykes case were taken in absence of due process and without jurisdiction. The IARDC panel Chairman Sang-Yul Lee consistently refused to allow Denison to present this evidence, instead telling her that she was attempting to “re-litigate” the Sykes case.
Denison’s star witness, Gloria Jean Sykes, the daughter of Mary Sykes, was also kept from testifying. After a brief appearance on the witness stand, the panel decided that Gloria could only testify if she turned over thousands of emails between her and Denison, emails which were considered to be privileged in terms of attorney client confidentiality, and which did not, in fact, add anything to the panel’s determination, as the case against Denison pertained to what was up on the blog, in plain view.
Of interest is that the very IARDC attorneys pursuing Denison appear to have violated one of their pivotal obligations as members of a state commission. The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act mandates that those working for government in Illinois must file yearly financial disclosure forms. This is done to ensure that members of government are not receiving inappropriate monies that may influence their actions.
Neither the head of the IARDC, Jerome Larkin, nor any of the attorneys prosecuting Denison, have filed financial disclosures. The IARDC press officer and deputy administrator, attorney Jim Grogan, has refused to comment on this. As it turns out, Grogan has not filed financial disclosures, either.
The problems going on in adult guardianship proceedings in the probate courts are rarely discussed in the mainstream press. A number of grassroots groups have sprung up attempting to address stated abuses to the elderly and disabled, who are those most impacted by adult guardianships. The list of abuses range from theft of assets to failure to adhere to jurisdiction to outright murder.
The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse  lists the rights one loses when one goes under an adult guardianship. These include:
  • the right to contract, including the right to choose a lawyer;
  • the right to control their assets and make financial decisions;
  •  the right to remain in their own home and protect it from sale;
  •  the right to protect and enjoy their personal property;
  •  the right to choose where to live;
  •  the right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including psychotropic drugs;
  •  the right to decide their social environments and contacts;
  •  the right to assure prompt payment of taxes and liabilities;
  •  the right to vote;
  • the right to drive;
  • the right to marry; and
  • the right to complain.
Denison has partnered up with activist attorney Ken Ditkowsky, whose recent suspension from the Illinois State Bar for asking for a DOJ investigation into the abuses going on in adult guardianships have made him something of a folk hero in the guardianship reform community. Ditkowsky is a regular contributor to Denison’s blog.
The recommendation for Denison’s suspension must be affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court. Denison has stated that she will not stop blogging. She says she intends “…To do the same thing, monitor probate court, blog about it, help victims and direct them to free/low cost probate attorneys, write articles and books for pro se’ers in probate.
“The reality is, says Denison, “they can’t stop my blog or writing articles.  They can only say that I am suspended from practicing state law so I can’t go to court and I cannot give personal legal opinions for probate victims.”
Another Illinois attorney, ‘Lanre Amu, was suspended by the ARDC for filing complaints about several  judges. In Amu’s Certiorari, requesting judicial review by  the Supreme Court  and filed just this past week, he writes: “The Hearing Board also found as aggravation Respondent’s claim that the IARDC was biased. How is that aggravation? When telling the truth becomes “aggravation” to be punished, are we not really punishing the “free speech” right to speak the truth?”
The ARDC could not be reached for comment.
Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook


From: kenneth ditkowsky <>

Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:52 AM
Subject: Fw: THE WATCHDOGS: Senator’s law firm cashes in on state deals

Jerome Larkin, the administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission wrote the Supreme Court of Illinois that the MaryGSykes blog exposing judicial corruption in Illinois was 'akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater.'   The Illinois Supreme Court did not sanction Mr. Larkin for his assault on Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution - it took the obscene step of issuing in direct contravention of lawyer rule 8.3 and 18 USCA 4 an interim suspension of the law license of the editor of the MaryGSykes blog.     

This however is old news!    The recent history of Illinois is replete with examples of political and judicial misconduct.   Indeed, Illinois public officials are heavily invested in the WAR AGAINST THE ELDERLY AND THE DISABLED and have been very successful in making Illinois a very dangerous place to grow old.    We must never forget that when the family of an elderly lady objected to her being subjected to one of the predatory guardianships their efforts to protect her were repulsed and defeated by a corrupt judge, a corrupt guardian ad litem, and corrupt health care officials.    To show their collective disdain for the law the guardian ad litem pursuant to the supervision of the corrupt judge orchestrated an expedition into the mouth of this elderly woman to remove the gold from her teeth.    Indeed, Alice Gore had 29 teeth removed, the gold extracted therefrom, and she was subjected to retro=active abortion.    Mr. Larkin, the IARDC, and the political elite of Illinois saw nothing wrong with the escapade or the non-inventory of the gold!   As the nursing home operator pointed out - the extraction was carried out because they could do it!

The Gore case is not unique in Illinois!    How does this atrocity occur?    The Chicago Sun-Times article appearing in today's newspaper gives a clue. 

Subject: THE WATCHDOGS: Senator’s law firm cashes in on state deals

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CHICAGO NEWS 02/24/2017, 07:00am

THE WATCHDOGS: Senator’s law firm cashes in on state deals

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. | Sun-Times file photo
State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. | Sun-Times file photo
Robert Herguth and Tim Novak

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State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is one of the most powerful people in Springfield, talked about as a possible future president of the Illinois Senate.
He’s also a partner in a Chicago law firm that’s been paid more than $9 million in the past five years for doing legal work for state agencies, government workers’ pension funds and local governments whose citizens he represents in the Senate, a Chicago Sun-Times examination has found.
That covers work done for more than 20 government bodies, including the city of Chicago, Cook County, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the agency that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier.
The firm — Burke Burns & Pinelli — has done work for agencies whose budgets Harmon votes on, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, and government pension funds regulated by Harmon and his fellow legislators, as well as the village of Rosemont, one of the suburbs he represents in the Illinois Senate, according to records and interviews.
His firm also worked on applications for millions of dollars in five state grants that went to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios — where TV shows including “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Fire” are shot. The state money included a $10 million grant that Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered the West Side studio to repay in 2015 after the Sun-Times reported that the money was supposed to buy property for an expansion, but the land owners said they weren’t going to sell.
Harmon says he derives no “financial benefit from state or state-affiliated work done by the firm.”
The west suburban legislator also says he doesn’t handle the legal work that his firm gets from the government agencies, including the pension funds, he helps oversee nor from any local government he represents as a legislator. Other lawyers at the firm handle that work, he says.
Mary Patricia Burns, the majority owner of the law firm, didn’t respond to a call and emails seeking comment.
According to Harmon, the law firm “periodically has represented the state or state agencies since its founding in 1992.”
Harmon — who once worked as deputy legal counsel to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago — was elected to the state Senate in 2002. At the time, he was a lawyer with the firm Mayer Brown LLP, where he “practiced corporate banking and municipal law,” according to the online biography on his law firm’s website. In 2005, he joined his current firm, where he is one of seven partners but says he “has no ownership interest.”
As president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, Harmon is among the top leaders of the legislative chamber, whose members are part-time and typically also hold other jobs. Harmon’s yearly pay as a state senator is $78,163.
He says his law firm salary is less than that but won’t say how much he makes.
Asked whether he gets any additional compensation beside salary, Harmon would say only that his total pay from Burke Burns & Pinelli is less than the governor’s $177,412-a-year salary — the cap on his pay under Illinois ethics law because his firm gets state business.
The legislative inspector general has the authority to determine whether state senators and representatives are complying with those rules. That’s a post that’s been vacant for more than two years.
The front page of the March 24, 2015, Sun-Times reporting Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered Cinsepace Chicago Film Studios to give back $10 million.
Among the biggest government clients of Harmon’s firm over the past five years has been IDOT, which maintains the state’s expressways and other state roads. The state transportation agency paid Burke Burns & Pinelli about $2.2 million from 2012 through 2016, billing records show.
Richard Kabaker, deputy chief counsel for the state agency, says it has had Harmon’s firm handle condemnation cases for at least a decade. Records show the firm has been involved in numerous state road projects in the Chicago area.
Kabaker says the law firms that IDOT employs get reappointed “if they’re doing a good job,” and Harmon’s firm does “a good job for us.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office represents IDOT and other state agencies and hires private law firms to represent them as needed, though Kabaker says, with IDOT, those hires are a joint decision.
Ann Spillane, a top aide to Lisa Madigan, says her boss doesn’t get involved in choosing which law firms get state work and that Harmon’s firm has been handling condemnations for state government for years before Madigan took office in 2003. Spillane says the office’s staff attorneys recommended keeping the firm because it was “doing a good job.”
Illinois State Board of Elections records show the firm, its partners and their families and Harmon’s campaign fund have contributed a total of more than $380,000 since the mid-1990s to political funds run by or affiliated with the two Madigans.
Spillane says the attorney general’s campaign fund doesn’t “solicit from people who contract with our office, and we try not to take” contributions from them.
Of the approximately $70,000 Lisa Madigan’s campaign fund has accepted from Harmon, his firm and fellow lawyers, all but $10,000 came before she took office as attorney general, records show.
The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, which oversees the tollway system, has paid Burke Burns & Pinelli more than $665,000 since 2012 for legal work in two areas, state records show: borrowing done through the issuance of bonds and property condemnations.
The law firm’s pension work includes handling general legal services for two of the biggest pension funds for city of Chicago retirees: the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, which handles pensions for city firefighters, and the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, which covers city retirees.
Burke Burns & Pinelli has been paid a total of about $2.1 million over the past five years by those two retirement funds.
Among the law firm’s duties for both pension funds is keeping their officials apprised of state “legislative matters,” records show.
Addressing the state’s massively underfunded government pension funds is up to the Legislature and the governor. Harmon voted last year to override a Rauner veto and set new funding levels for the firefighters’ retirement fund and for the pension plan for retired Chicago cops. Among the potential revenue sources: money from a Chicago casino, if one gets approved by the Legislature.
Harmon says he avoids voting on legislation directly affecting his firm’s clients.
Asked why Harmon voted on the pension bill, a spokeswoman says: “Senate records indicate no pension funds supported or opposed” the bill. “In the event that clients of the firm do initiate, support or oppose legislation, Senator Harmon discloses the conflict to the Senate and abstains from voting when appropriate or votes in the public’s best interest.”
Much of his firm’s government work involves agencies borrowing money through the issuance of bonds. The firm was paid more than $300,000 to handle bond work for Rosemont. A village spokesman says Rosemont’s financial consultant picked Burke Burns & Pinelli for the job.
The firm also has done bond work involving the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and the city of Chicago, among other government bodies, records show.
Harmon says he limits his work as an attorney to private clients. He declined to identify any of them.
But he says he never worked for his client’s firm Cinespace, the clout-heavy studio that’s gotten millions of dollars in state grants.
State. Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon,
State Sen. Tim Bivins didn’t get the audit he wanted of five state grants to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.
Two years ago, state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, introduced legislation demanding an independent audit of five state grants totaling $27.3 million that former Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration gave to Cinespace.
Bivins sought the review by the Illinois auditor general’s office after the Sun-Times reported that owners of land that Cinespace said it planned to buy with the last of those grants — for $10 million, awarded after Quinn lost his reelection bid to Rauner — hadn’t listed their properties for sale and weren’t going to sell them.
“It was something that was suspicious,” Bivins says. “It was something that should have been audited. It just seemed like nobody wanted to look at it.”
The Legislature never voted on Bivins’ push for an audit of the grants, including the $10 million grant, which Cinespace repaid the state in response to a demand from Rauner prompted by the Sun-Times’ reports. Bivins’ legislation quietly died earlier this year after being sent to a Senate committee on which Harmon is vice-chairman.
Cinespace's Alex Pissios. | Provided photo
Cinespace’s Alex Pissios. | Provided photo
“I have no recollection of that particular resolution,” Harmon says.
The other four state grants his firm helped land for Cinespace were used to buy and convert the former Ryerson Steel plant on the West Side into the TV and movie studio, which opened in 2011.
Cinespace is family-owned, run by former real estate developer Alex Pissios. Touted as the largest studio east of Los Angeles, Cinespace deposited its state grants into Belmont Bank & Trust, whose clout-heavy board of directors includes attorney James Banks, a longtime member of the tollway board, and former state Sen. James DeLeo, D-Chicago, a Quinn ally.
Kyle Cullerton, a son of state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, is on the advisory board of a not-for-profit “film and media incubator” on the studio’s property. Cinespace says it has funded the incubator, called Stage 18, though spokesmen for Cinespace and the Senate president say the son isn’t paid.
Eric Herman, a spokesman for Cinespace, says Burke Burns & Pinelli was hired in 2010 “because they have a great reputation.”
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, left, and, Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, last March in Springfield. | AP file photo
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, left, and, Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, last March in Springfield. | AP file photo

kenneth ditkowsky

11:04 AM (19 hours ago)
Any heath care program is doomed to failure because of the Health care fraud and cover-up.

Seth Gillman. Sheldon Nedich and philip Esformes should be willing to spill all the beans on the nursing home operators.   A more visible prosecution will disrupt their activities and possibly bring some relief to their victims.

The IRS in a more public collecting the taxes interest and penalties incurred by the thefts would also go along way toward deterrence.    A civil Collection based upon the conspiracy of people like Jerome Larkin has a deterrent on the conspiracy of silence.  see article of Janet Phelan.    Larkin has joint and several liability because of his overt acts of cover=up.   See Seth Gillman prosecution. 

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