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updated: 6/7/2013 7:09 AM

NW Ind. city gets $331K from ex-mayor, allies

NW Ind. city gets $331K from ex-mayor, allies

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Associated Press

EAST CHICAGO, Ind.-- The city of East Chicago received $331,000 from the state of Indiana on Thursday, a fraction of a $108 million judgment against former longtime Mayor Robert Pastrick and his co-defendants in a civil racketeering case known as "sidewalks for votes."

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and his predecessor who brought the racketeering case, Steve Carter, presented the money to current East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland and Council President Lenny Franciski. More than $145,000 was collected from Pastrick and $186,000 was from settlements and judgments paid by Pastrick's co-defendants.

The payment represents less than 1.4 percent of the $24 million that state auditors determined Pastrick and others stole from the city to pave sidewalks and trim trees -- some on private property -- in exchange for votes in the 1999 Democratic mayoral primary.

The 2009 judgment in the racketeering case was the first time a U.S. court had found that a municipal government was a corrupt enterprise under federal racketeering law, Zoeller's office said. A federal judge awarded a total of $108 million in damages to the state.

The 1999 primary results were tossed out and Pastrick lost the ensuing election, ending his 33-year tenure running the solidly Democratic city.

"The loss of public trust is the legacy of the Pastrick regime, one that will take time to restore," Zoeller said.

Copeland said East Chicago will use the money to improve its parks.

"While history may record where we have been, the future will reveal that we have accepted our past," Copeland said.

A message seeking comment was left with Pastrick's attorney.

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