Dennis Hastert: A question of cash

ABC7 I-Team Investigation

Chuck Goudie Image
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Dennis Hastert: A question of cash
Where did a former congressman from north central Illinois get millions of dollars in cash - money the feds say was paid in hush money?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A day after former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted and accused of evading banking rules, then lying about it to the FBI, there are new details emerging about the alleged sexual misconduct and cover-up worth millions.

According to sources familiar with the evidence, Hastert was paying $3.5 million in hush money to a man because of sexual misconduct decades ago. It isn't clear exactly what misconduct is alleged, but we do know the time frame.

At Yorkville High School in Kendall County, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, J. Dennis Hastert was a popular history teacher and boys' athletic coach between 1965 and 1981, primarily wrestling.

"He helped me land my first teaching, coaching job," said Gary Matlock, who was coached by Hastert.

Hastert was Matlock's wrestling coach and one of his teachers between 1969 and 1973. On Friday, Matlock said he doesn't remember anything odd ever happening.

"Nothing, ya know what? Nothing. Classroom, gymnasium, locker room, nothing. Community of 2,000, high school of 500, word gets around. Not in 24 hours, in 24 minutes. And the four years I was at that school nothin' ever happened like that. To anybody, any student, any teacher, any coach, and particularly Coach Hastert," Matlock said.

The indictmentidentifies Hastert's alleged victim as "Individual A" and offers little detail, prompting some to wonder whether the victim - or someone who knew the victim - tried to skewer Hastert last November during a C-SPAN interview.

"Remember me from Yorkville?" said a caller who identified himself as "Bruce."

And then there is the question of cash. Where did a former congressman from north central Illinois get millions of dollars in cash - money the feds say was paid in hush money?

The I-Team has learned that it wasn't leftover campaign money. Hastert's final federal election commission report was in 2008 and showed only $4,800 in the bank.

Hastert likely made his millions from controversial Kendall County land deals, a Washington D.C. lobbying business and speeches at $25,000 per appearance.

The I-Team has been told that Hastert retained attorney Barry Levine from the Washington D.C. firm of Dickstein and Shapiro, the same firm where Hastert had worked as a senior policy adviser until resigning Thursday.

The attorney did not respond to the I-Team's questions on Friday. No court date is set for the ex-Speaker of the House, although it is expected to be next week.

Preliminary bond has been set at $4,500. As of now, Hastert will be allowed to go free on his signature.