A month-long governor’s office investigation of state parole board member Adam P. Monreal’s bankruptcy, in which he reported income less than half his actual board salary, has been expanded to include a review of annual state economic interest statements he filed since being named to the board in 2010.
In each of five economic statements filed during 2011-2015, Monreal, 48, of Chicago, reported he was paid for work not connected to his parole board duties, despite a state law prohibiting such employment for parole board members, who earn more than $85,000 a year.
According to state law, members of the 15-person Illinois Prisoner Review Board, “shall not hold any other salaried public office, whether elective or appointive, nor any other office or position of profit, nor engage in any other business, employment or vocation.”
According to copies of Monreal’s economic interest statements filed annually with the Illinois Secretary of State since 2011, he reported “income in excess of $1,200 per year” from Monreal Investment Properties, L.P. of Morton Grove in Cook County. Monreal listed his services to the investment firm as “adviser/counsel.”
On each of the same statements for the five years, he also reported that he made an income “exceeding $5,000” for the year for “professional services,” to Monreal Investment Properties, L.P. Each of the forms contained a hand-written note that the income in excess of $5,000 was, “All related to passive income.”
Catherine Kelly, spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner, said Friday that the economic interest statements filed by Monreal are now part of an overall ongoing investigation that also focuses on board member Eric E. Gregg, a former mayor of Harrisburg, and his bankruptcy.
Kelly’s statement concerning Monreal’s economic interest statements came Friday, a day after the News-Democrat sent written questions asking why the pay Monreal reported in addition to his board salary wasn’t questioned years earlier.
“The administration continues to investigate documents filed by both Adam Monreal and Eric Gregg. Any necessary action will be taken upon the conclusion of those investigations,” Kelly said in a written statement. During a Friday telephone interview, Kelly said that the “documents” she referred to include economic interest statements filed by Monreal. Previously, statements from Kelly concerning the investigation of Monreal and Gregg referred only to their bankruptcy filing documents.
As a parole board member, Monreal, an attorney and former assistant prosecutor in Cook County, receives a salary of $85,855. In 2011 he was the board’s chairman and received $91,400. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in May of that year listing his salary as $38,673 and his position as “director, state of Illinois penitentiary,” according to bankruptcy court documents. The bankruptcy was approved four months later.
Ken Tupy, attorney for the state parole board, is listed as a state “ethics officer,” and has the responsibility to review the annual economic interest statements prepared by parole board members before they are sent to the Index Department of the Secretary of State.
Asked whether he had raised questions about the additional income reported by Monreal on each of his five economic interest statements, Tupy said, “I will rely on the governor’s office response that they are investigating Mr. Monreal’s documents.”
A review of the economic interest statements filed by the other 14 members of the parole board for the same period show that none listed extra income.
At least four members of the 15-person parole board have filed bankruptcies — Monreal; Gregg; Vonetta Harris, of Swansea; and Gary D. Duncan, the former Jefferson County state’s attorney in Mount Vernon. Only Monreal and Gregg are being investigated by the governor’s office.
The governor’s office’s initial investigation of Monreal and Gregg was prompted by questions raised by the News-Democrat after its review of federal bankruptcy records. In Gregg’s pending bankruptcy, he listed an income of approximately $48,000 from an energy business in addition to his parole board salary. That was potentially a violation of the law prohibiting parole board members from receiving additional income.
Gregg has since stated in a court deposition that the $48,000 listed on his bankruptcy, which is pending, was a mistake, and should have been filed under his wife Patti’s name, even though she was listed as a “non-filing spouse.” Patti Gregg is a full-time teacher’s aide.
Gregg’s state economic interest statements also do not list money from a charity that raised $5,000 for him when he underwent emergency surgery, and for the cost of an $1,100 medical lift chair purchased for him by a local businessman.
In August 2010, a few days after he was appointed to the parole board, Monreal filed an economic interest statement that included income derived by his job as “administrator/counsel” to M. Monreal Corp., of 3059 S. Central Park, Chicago. This is the Los Globos nightclub, a huge, windowless dance hall that features cantina music. This was not listed in later statements and was allowed at the time since he had not yet received his state board pay.
Harris, a parole board member with a pending bankruptcy, is a former program coordinator for School District 189 in East St. Louis. Duncan, was the Jefferson County state’s attorney when he filed for bankruptcy in 2005. Both Harris and Duncan filed under Chapter 13 that requires all or a portion of their debts to be repaid.
Court records show that Harris’ pending bankruptcy in federal court in East St. Louis states that she owes $11,000 to the IRS and $306,000 in student loans. She will not have to repay the student loans for five years, but interest on this debt will accrue. Harris was recommended to the parole board by state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville. In December 2014, the BND reported that Harris was seen driving a vehicle out of Clayborne’s garage at 7:30 a.m., but their exact relationship is unclear.