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Friday, July 11, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Prison can't hold these Lake pols" (Ain't no bars ...)

Earlier this week, Bill Dolan of the NWI Times reported:

Two icons of Lake County's ethically challenged political scene are moving closer to freedom.

Robert J. Cantrell, 72, a sports hero and veteran political figure, is scheduled to be released Wednesday from the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Ky., to a halfway house, attorney John Cantrell, his son, said.

This comes six months short of the end of his 78-month sentence. John Cantrell said he doesn't know which facility the U.S. Bureau of Prison will transfer his father.

Wednesday also marks the official release of former Lake County official Thomas R. Philpot from the PACT-Bradley Center in Michigan City, a halfway house run by the Chicago Residential Re-entry Management program, where he became a resident in January.

Philpot served an 18-month sentence, which started at the Federal Correctional Institute in Milan, Mich.

Cantrell was a member of East Chicago Washington High School's 1960 state champion basketball team, a Trester Award winner and was captain and starting guard on the University of Michigan's 1964 Final Four team.

He was a teacher and school administrator and active with the East Chicago Republican Party, although he was accused by some in the GOP of working harder for the Democrats. Nevertheless he served many years as that city's party chairman.

He also became known as a political power broker who could make a candidate's life difficult by inserting on the ballot any number of spoilers, including so-called same-name candidates, to confuse careless voters.

His downfall came from being a consultant for Addiction and Family Care, a Hammond counseling firm that had contracts with local government including the North Township trustee's office.

Federal prosecutors convinced a jury he was guilty of illegally taking secret cash kickbacks from a contract between the North Township trustee's office, where Cantrell was an employee and the counseling service, hiding the profits from the Internal Revenue Service.

Philpot's release comes nearly two years after a U.S. District Court jury convicted the 56-year-old on felony theft and mail fraud charges for pocketing thousands in federal dollars earmarked to improve the collection of court-ordered child support payments.

Philpot won elections in 1992, 1996 and 2008 for coroner, and in 2002 and 2006 for county clerk. His felony conviction bars him from future elective office.

His troubles date to his time as county clerk, when he diverted money meant to pay employees for full-time work in child support collections as bonuses to his official salary without the approval of the Lake County Council.

The ILB has had a number of past posts on each of these individuals.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 11, 2014 09:04 AM
Posted to Indiana Government