We’ve heard the tales of lawyers becoming desperate due to the downturn, but Chicago Greenberg Traurig partner Mark McCombs’ tale may surprise even jaded lawyer-watchers.
According to the Chicago Tribune, it was announced last Friday that McCombs had been arrested on charges of stealing $1 million in “tax increment finance funds” by billing the village of Calumet Park, IL for work he never performed.
It seems to be a case of out-sized ambition, as McCombs used the funds to bolster his billable hours and reputation in the firm, not directly pad his own pockets.
Chicago Tribune: The law firm said Friday it has severed ties with McCombs and is cooperating with investigators. Jill Perry, a spokeswoman for Greenberg Traurig, also said the firm has told Calumet Park officials, “Any fees not properly billed to the village will be promptly reimbursed.”
McCombs was a native son of Calumet Park, which is about a dozen miles South of Chicago’s Loop. The town even named a street after him after he helped the redevelopment of a section of town. But then the concrete cracked.
Chicago Tribune: The alleged scheme unravelled after the superintendent of a school district that received TIF funds grew suspicious after a subordinate reported that McCombs had been evasive on details about the TIF money. Superintendent John Byrne, of Community High School District 218, said he also found it curious that McCombs scheduled a routine public meeting on the TIF for Dec. 31.
…Byrne filed a request under state law in January for five years of data, prosecutors said. Later, in a telephone call, McCombs offered to pay money to the school district to make the inquiry “go away,” they said.
As Above The Law and Am Law Daily point out via McCombs’ cached bio, Calumet Park wasn’t the only town he represented. His rap sheet resume also includes more then 10 other municipalities from more than two decades as a practicing attorney (he joined Greenberg Traurig in September 2002).
McCombs faces up to 30 years in prison. He was released from custody on $25,000 bond.
Wonder if that Mark McCombs Drive sign is still intact…
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