- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Chicago banker who approved $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort in exchange for a post in the Trump administration was indicted on a bribery charge Thursday.

Stephen Calk, president and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning. He is scheduled to appear later in the day before a federal judge in New York.

Mr. Calk, 54, was appointed as an economic adviser to then-candidate Trump’s campaign in the summer of 2016 after his bank approved a $5.4 million loan to Manafort, federal prosecutors said.

After Mr. Trump was elected, he then sought a high-level administration position while more than $6 million in loans to Manafort were awaiting approval at his bank, according to court documents.

While the loans were pending, Mr. Calk presented Manafort with a list of positions he wanted, including Treasury Secretary, Secretary of the Army, and 19 different ambassadorial posts, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said Manafort arranged an interview for Mr. Clark to become undersecretary of the Army, but ultimately wasn’t hired.

Mr. Calk approved “high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely to an appointment as Secretary of the Army, or another similar high-level position in the incoming presidential administration,” prosecutors wrote.

Manafort, who desperately needed cash to stave off foreclosure, received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Mr. Clark’s banks. The loans covered Manafort’s homes in New York, Virginia and the Hamptons.

The loans raised red flags among Federal Savings Bank officials, prosecutors said. Bank officials were concerned because Manafort had a history of defaulting on mortgages and the loan size made Manafort’s debt, the single largest lending relationship at the bank.

Mr. Calk was so intent on lending money to Manafort, he used the bank’s holding company  — which he controlled — to acquire a portion of the loans from the bank, according to court documents. That was the first time the maneuver was ever used by the bank, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say those loans resulted in perks for Mr. Calk, noting he was appointed to the president’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016 within days of approving a $9.5 million loan to Manafort.

After Manafort was charged with financial fraud in 2017, he stopped making payments to the bank, forcing it to foreclose on the collateral securing the loans and writing off the principal balance, more than $12 million prosecutors said.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide