Trump, Emanuel not among 67 letters written on behalf of former Chicago banker facing prison time

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Ex-Chicago bank executive's desperate plea to stay out of prison
Neither Rahm Emanuel nor Donald Trump are going to bat for former Chicago banker Stephen Calk as he faces the possibility of decades in prison.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are 193 pages of personal letters attesting to Stephen Calk's character, and good works. But there is no Donald Trump letter on behalf of Calk among the 67 people who have written to a federal judge asking for no prison time for the founder and former chairman of Chicago's Federal Savings Bank.

When Calk was a top Chicago bank executive, he also had the ear of then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But there is no letter for Calk from the ex-mayor either.

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Neither Emanuel nor Trump are going to bat for 57-year-old Calk as he faces the possibility of decades in prison for financial institution bribery and conspiracy.

Calk was convicted by a federal jury last July after the government proved he corruptly used his position as the head of Federal Savings Bank in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood.

Prosecutors say Calk handed $16 million in loans to 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The quid pro quo, according to US prosecutors: those loans were in exchange for a senior post in the Trump administration; maybe secretary of the Army or an ambassadorship.

In his sentencing memo, Calk calls Manafort, "...a skilled con artist who pleaded guilty to defrauding Mr. Calk's bank." President Trump has since pardoned Manafort.

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Calk was prosecuted, and is now asking for punishment other than prison, and dozens of notable people are trying to help him.

As expected, letters to the judge come from his heartbroken relatives, including his brother who now runs the bank, neighbors and co-workers. There are also letters from a former Cook County prosecutor, numerous current and former military men and women, an ex-congressman, a fraternity brother and the chairman of Gibson's steakhouse group who touts, "Steve is a good man."

Calk was a volunteer economic adviser to the Trump campaign but never received a paid job from the president. Even without a Trump letter to the judge, the government has asked for a delay in its own sentencing request because prosecutors say they need time to go through the hundreds of pages of Calk character letters and arguments.

As of now, sentencing is set for February 7th in New York federal court. No comment from Calk's attorney.