Former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton has urged supporters in an email to show up at his sentencing Thursday in federal court, saying he believes he will unfairly receive a maximum sentence for “... going against the Belleville political party.”
In the email addressed to “the friends of Oliver Hamilton,” many of whom supported the splinter group St. Clair County Freedom Coalition against the county Democratic Party in the November election, Hamilton cited a sentence given to former Moro Township Supervisor Donald R. Flack by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Reagan, who will sentence Hamilton on wire fraud charges.
“I’m in need of your support. I am sure the judge is going to use all the lies the newspaper has printed to give me a maximum sentence,” Hamilton wrote in the email. “In Moro Township, the supervisor misappropriated $700,000 in taxpayers dollars, and Judge (Reagan) sentenced him to 5 years probation. I guess I have to pay for going against the Belleville political party. I need as many citizens of the area to show the judge the city (East St. Louis) supports me,” he said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat.
Reached Monday, Hamilton referred comments to his attorney, Clyde Kuehn of Belleville. Kuehn could not be reached. Federal judges are not allowed to comment publicly on cases before them.
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Flack pleaded guilty in 2013 to embezzling $698,894 from the township’s general fund and road and bridge fund. The loss was 17 times greater than the $40,000 in public funds Hamilton pleaded guilty to misusing by making personal purchases on a township credit card.
Reagan ordered Flack to serve six months in a halfway house and five years probation with the first 30 months under house arrest. Flack is the father of Madison County Associate Judge Donald M. Flack.
Flack, 80, also was ordered to repay the entire nearly $700,000 loss at $1,000 per month or $12,000 a year. From his first scheduled monthly payment on Aug. 1, 2014, it would take 698 months or 58 years to pay the debt in full. It was not clear whether Flack’s estate could be made liable for the payment. Most of the losses were covered by insurance financed with tax dollars.
I’m in need of your support. I am sure the judge is going to use all the lies the newspaper has printed to give me a maximum sentence. In Moro Township, the supervisor misappropriated $700,000 in taxpayers dollars, and Judge (Reagan) sentenced him to 5 years probation. I guess I have to pay for going against the Belleville political party. I need as many citizens of the area to show the judge the city (East St. Louis) supports me.
Former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton
The BND reported last year that Hamilton charged at least $230,000 over four years, including tens of thousands of dollars in building supplies for which he could not provide a reason they would be charged to the township. Hamilton owns a private construction company.
He also charged $40,000 in gasoline at gas stations all over the metro east and in St. Louis, sometimes buying more than $200 worth of fuel in a single day. He spent thousands of dollars for car washes and detailing for his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and used the card to pay for trips, including to Las Vegas.
Much of the BND’s reporting was based on township financial records obtained by the BND under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Reagan will sentence Hamilton, 63, at 10 a.m. Thursday in federal court in East St. Louis. It earlier was incorrectly reported that the sentencing was set for Tuesday.
Last week, the judge placed a 28-page statement in the public court record in which he called Hamilton’s misuse of public funds “staggering” and stated that an agreed-upon sentence of a year and a day plus restitution of at least $40,000 may not be enough to deter corruption of public officials. Reagan also signed a subpoena requiring current East St. Louis Township Supervisor Tommy Dancy to show up at Hamilton’s sentencing for questioning.
A prosecution court document stated that Flack at first embezzled to cover personal costs and then to invest online in an effort to repay what he had stolen. The court record stated that he often made out checks to himself using township funds, “to make wire transfer funds via Western Union to various places around the world, generally South Africa, Nigeria and Nicaragua.” None resulted in profit.