Levine associate pleads guilty

February 25, 2009 12:15:01 PM PST
A guilty plea that could affect other prominent corruption cases took place in Chicago Wednesday afternoon.P. Nicholas Hurtgen, originally indicted with Stuart Levine, pleaded guilty at the Dirksen Feberal Building, according to federal officials.

Former finance executive Hurtgen was re-indicted on six-counts of aiding and abetting mail and wire fraud and extortion, accused of participating in a scheme with Levine and Jacob Kiferbaum to pressure Edward Hospital unto choosing certain contractors for its Plainfield hospital project after being indicted in 1995 similar charges.

Edward Hospital CEO and whistlelower Pam Davis told FBI agents that in 2003, financier Hurtgen had tried to shake her down. She said Hurtgen demanded that Edward Hospital hire his company and a certain politically connected construction firm or its expansion plan to Plainfield would be denied by the state, Davis told the I-Team last month.

Hurtgen, a politically connected former investment banker, admitted telling Davis that she had to hire a contractor favored by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Hurtgen admitted Wednesday he told the hospital chief that not hiring the contractor would mean never getting permission to proceed with a major construction project.

The 46-year-old entered his plea to abetting mail fraud in a Wednesday appearance before U.S. District Judge John F. Grady.

Hurtgen is a key figure in the government's long-running investigation of corruption on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

Hurtgen did not detail any alleged Blagojevich involvement in the scheme, but did say he told the CEO of the Naperville hospital that it was "all about money" for political campaigns.

The Associated Press and STNG Wire contributed to this report.


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