Adam Monreal, who resigned from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board last year after a News-Democrat investigation disclosed he under-reported his state salary in a bankruptcy proceeding, is due in federal court Wednesday where his attorney will petition the judge to allow corrections in the four-year-old Chapter 7 case.
Monreal resigned following an investigation by the office of Gov. Bruce Rauner, that also involved alleged misstatements on a required economic interest form. Former Harrisburg mayor Eric E. Gregg, then a parole board member, was also investigated for entries he made in a pending bankruptcy and for entries he made on his economic interest statement. Gregg has challenged his firing from the parole board in Saline County Circuit Court.
According to court documents filed Dec. 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, Chief Judge Bruce W. Black is scheduled to hear a motion from Monreal’s attorney Robert Benjamin of Chicago to reopen the bankruptcy proceeding, which was approved and closed in August 2011 at a time when Monreal was chairman of the state parole board.
State salary records show that Monreal, who is an attorney and former Cook County assistant prosecutor, earned $7,900 a month or $94,800 per year, but listed his income in the bankruptcy proceeding as $3,750 per month. Neither Monreal nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
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The new documents filed in the bankruptcy in December now list Monreal’s salary in 2011 as $7,908 a month and his wife Nora Monreal’s income as $524 a month. Previously she reported no income. The new filings also list “financial assets” that do not appear in the original documents from four and a half years ago. These include an IRA account of $102,701, a state retirement system pension of $18,964 and a “1/6th interest” in a family trust account valued at $334,455.
When cash in two checking accounts plus a State of Illinois life insurance policy with a refund value of $92,000 are added to the assets listed above, the couple’s total assets are $555,698, according to the amended filing. This does not include their Chicago home, valued at approximately $350,000 four years ago. The financial liabilities or total of what was owed in 2011 was $483,340 to 19 creditors, mostly credit card companies and banks. Creditors have been notified of the Wednesday hearing.
Under federal law, to qualify for a Chapter 7 proceeding, an applicant cannot exceed a certain financial threshold set by income and financial assets. If the threshold is met, creditors do not have to be repaid and the applicant can keep items like a house and car.
According to an online site maintained by Black’s Law Dictionary, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be reopened within two years of closure for the purpose of adding creditors who might have been missed in the original procedure. The proceeding cannot be reopened if fraud is suspected. Bankruptcy fraud can be prosecuted under federal law.
The court clerk for Black, the chief bankruptcy judge in Chicago, said she was not allowed to answer any questions concerning federal law, including a reporter’s query about why a four-year-old closed case might still be reopened.
In the original proceedings in 2011, Monreal and his wife signed numerous bankruptcy court documents attesting under penalty of perjury that the paperwork filed in their case was true and complete. In addition, a hearing was held before a bankruptcy attorney or referee, where the sole purpose was to make sure the information entered in the proceeding was correct. Monreal and his wife attended that hearing, court documents states.