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Feds used elk head sting to nab Jacksons

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013

* Bizarre

In one of the more unusual expenditures, Jackson Jr. also used campaign money in part to buy two mounted elk heads for about $8,000 from a Montana taxidermist.

The elk heads were later sold to an undercover FBI agent posing as an interior designer, and the money from the sale was wired to Jackson Jr.’s personal account, according to the court documents. Sandi Jackson oversaw the transactions in August last year, according to the court documents.

* From the government’s “statement of the offense”

* Context

In March 2011, Jackson Jr. traded emails with a Montana taxidermist about a pair of mounted elk heads. Over the next several weeks, a person identified in court papers only as Person A received money with which to purchase the elk heads for Jackson Jr. (Person A has been identified by Crain’s Chicago Business as Jackson’s onetime campaign treasurer Terri Harris, who now goes by the name of Terri Jones.) Jackson Jr. gave Person A $3,000 in cash, money he has said was given to him by family members. Another $4,000 was given to Person A from Jackson’s campaign, in two checks whose memos indicated they were payments “for Data Reconciliation” and “for Data Entry & Cleanup.” Person A later sent two checks to the taxidermist in Montana, who shipped the elk heads in April to Jackson’s Congressional office.

Fast forward to July 2012. A month earlier, Jackson had reportedly collapsed at his home in Washington D.C., and subsequently took a medical leave of absence from Congress. (After an initial news blackout, it was revealed that Jackson was receiving treatment for bipolar disorder.) On July 23, Person A contacted the taxidermist again, asking if the taxidermist knew anyone who would want to buy the elk heads, or, alternatively, someone who could build crates in which the heads could be stored. A month later, Person A got a call from an undercover FBI employee posing as an interior designer interested in buying the heads.

Over the final week of August 2012, Person A and the undercover FBI employee negotiated the sale of the heads. They settled on a price of $5,300, which Person A told the FBI employee to wire straight to one of Jackson’s personal accounts. According to the court documents, it was Sandi Jackson who, knowing the elk heads had been purchased with campaign funds, had them moved from Washington D.C. to Chicago, and then directed Person A to sell the elk heads for less than the original purchase price, and to have the money wired to Jackson Jr.’s account.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    The deal was just too deer …

  2. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    Mounting evidence of the Jackson family stuffing their personal accounts with elk gotten gains.

    The media ruminates on the implications.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    You risk everything and commit felonies for a couple of mangy elk heads? Brazen and stupid, beyond belief.

    And seriously, $8K? For $30, you could have gotten two singing Billy Bass at Walgreens. Selection of songs, and it moves.

  4. - Atbat - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Two heads are better than one…

  5. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Or one singing Buck head for about $40 …

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    “We called this Sting … ‘Operation Bullwinkle’ …”

  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:01 am:

    “When asked how the Congressman got the heads, he explained he hit the two with his car.

    ‘The paw got caught in the ..’.

    Alderman Jackson interrupted explaining, ‘The hoof … the hoof’.

    Congressman Jackson, ageeeing wh Alderman Jackson nodded in aggreement and continued, ‘The hoof, the hoof got caught in the front, and I couldn’t just leave it out there so I borrowed a knife’…”

  8. - Oh Yeah - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:08 am:

    I wonder if the feds are still investigating JJJ for the potential payment to Blago for the Senate appointment. If so, this latest deal could be just the start of JJJ’s problems rather than the end.

  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    So J3 got run over by a reindeer? On his way to………come Word finish this one for me.

  10. - Stones - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    Too funny! You just can’t make this stuff up. Nobody would believe it.

  11. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:15 am:

    “I have these Elk Heads and they are F***ing golden.”

  12. - siriusly - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    Jake, DuPage Dan - you made my day.

    You mess with the Elk, you get the horns.

  13. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Case is closed. Elk out front shoulda told ya.

  14. - Wumpus - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    So J3 got run over by a reindeer? On his way to… buy a senate seat!

    And that was the end of the Bull Moose Party

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Good Lord, they shoulda hired a decorator with some of that lifted loot. Elk heads are considered a bit tacky around Dupont Circle.

  16. - Nickypiii - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:30 am:

    The man is bi-polar. Spending like a drunken sailor on items that have little or no real value seems like actions caused by a manic state. Couldn’t his on going illness have contributed to these outrageous purchases? Just because the public wasn’t aware of his mental illness until recently doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a problem for years.

  17. - Wumpus - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:30 am:

    You may say theres no such thing as Fitzmas, as for me and Sandi, we believe!

  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    Gee, those elk heads would be great places for hiding cameras and microphones. I wonder to whom the G “resold” them.

  19. - John A Logan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    In Illinois politics, bizarre is the norm.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    –Gee, those elk heads would be great places for hiding cameras and microphones.–

    Obviously, Trips didn’t watch enough “Three Stooges,” “Abbot and Costello” and “Bowery Boys” movies when he was a kid.

    Anytime there is a moose head hanging on a wall, someone is always behind it, watching through the eyes.

  21. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    It seems if being bi-polar is Jackson’s problem, his wife would have known that and directed the money be put back into Jackson’s campaign fund instead of his personal account or does she suffer from bi-polar too?

  22. - Kankakee Man - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    If they could have gotten away with this elaborate scheme, they would have in a heartbeat! Otherwise, why so much deception!

  23. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    JaC - it’s called folie a deux. “Shared Psychosis”. To say it’s rare would be an understatement.

    It’s all a dodge - no knock on MOPAR intended.

  24. - Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    We enter. The elk mingles. Did very well. Scored. Two guys were trying to sell him insurance for an hour and a half. Twelve o’clock comes - they give out prizes for the best costume of the night. First prize goes to the Berkowitzes, a maried couple dressed as an elk. The elk comes in second. The elk is furious.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    “No, you heard right, we want TWO moose heads… Yes, I can hold.”

  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    “No moose, eh … How about … Elk? Yes

  27. - Say again - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    I agree. JJJ may be bi-polar but his wife had made no such claims. Why didn’t she stop this? She needs to serve time too.

  28. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    === A got a call from an undercover FBI employee posing as an interior designer interested in buying the heads. ===

    So if JJJ had only been able to convince Sandi they should keep the elk heads, that sting never happens and we might not be having this discussion?


    Then again, it seems fairly certain the Feds would have found something else to go on in fairly short order. JJJ apparently had a broad collection of interests and memorabilia.

  29. - Happy Returns - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    ‘My name is Jesse, and I am an elk-aholic.’ (Hi, Jesse)

  30. - Darienite - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    Jesse Jackson Jr., meet Rita Grunwall. Rita, meet Jesse.

  31. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    By the way, was Jackson treated for alcoholism or not? If he was, it’s unfortunate that he told the court he had a beer the night before his plea.

  32. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    Seems J3 is now qualified to be Governor. Wonder if Rod’s cell has room for 2 Elk heads plus J3?

  33. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    I don’t know if Ms Jackson should serve any time. Can someone describe how what she did is criminally significantly different/worse/better than what Ms Blagojevich did?

  34. - Apologies to Word and Willy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    J3 got runned over by a reindeer
    Walking home from his townhouse Election Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as FitzPa,
    But as for me and Blago, we believe.

    He’d been drinkin’ too much eggnog,
    And we’d begged him not to go.
    But he’d left his medication,
    And he mumbled something about going to Mayo.

    When they found him Election mornin’,
    After a bi-polar attack,
    There were fingerprints on the checkbook,
    And incriminatin’ invoices in a stack.

    J3 got runned over by a reindeer
    Walking home from our house Election Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as FitzPa,
    But as for me and Blago, we believe.
    (Lord, we believe)

    Now we’re all so proud of Sandi,
    She’s been bilking it so well.
    See her in there transferring monies,
    from what accounts she just can’t tell.

    It’s not Primary without J3.
    All the Peotone’s decked out in black.
    And we just can’t help but wonder:
    Should we keep the land or give it back?

    J3 got runned over by a reindeer
    Walking home from our house Election Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as FitzPa,
    But as for me and Blago, we believe.
    (Lord, we believe)

  35. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Turns out Trips wasn’t bi-polar, he was bi-elk. Or Buy elk.

    Apologies, you drove me to that one. Now I have to go to church on Sunday and probably join the grounds committee.

  36. - Exalted Ruler - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    Worse still, did Jackson defraud a lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks? Those mounted Elk heads need to be returned two Elks Clubs, pronto.

    Jackson, clearly was not under the antlers of protection.

  37. - LisleMike - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    JJJ: Remember what the doe elk said as she left the forest: “I’ll never do that for two bucks again!”

  38. - walkinfool - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    It’s a keeper. It will go down in history with the “cash in the shoebox” caper.

  39. - Mike M - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    March 2011: purchase two elk heads for $7000
    July 2012: sell two elk heads for $5300

    Sounds like the perfect politician for Illinois.

  40. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    I don’t partake in the sport of blogging anymore because it drains my brain and frankly makes me cynical but I must say this is the funniest series of comments I’ve read in a long, long time.

  41. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    Horse’s ass buys elk’s heads.

  42. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    That’s the feds really using their heads.

  43. - Publius - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Sandi , what do we do with these things, keep ‘em or sell ‘em. I am on a dilemma of horns.

  44. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    Word is out that Trips was undergoing intensive psychotherapy overseen by accolates of the late Dr Alfred Antler. Freud would have had a field day with the allegedly inadvertent references to Bullwinkle and the Squirrel.

  45. - Casual Observer - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    Boris and Natasha finally catch moose and squirrel.

  46. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Maybe Trips can use the WABAC Machine and undo things …

  47. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    This is one of the best and funniest comment threads on CapFax evah. I cannot possibly compete with the quality of creativity and humor already posted, so I won’t try. Kudos!

  48. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    dupage dan @ 1:32 pm:

    To seriously answer your question, unlike Patti, Sandi was an elected official.

  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    Oh Look! A Squirrel!

  50. - Quizzical - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:38 pm:

    Maybe Rahm would have deferred to Sandi’s choice of succesor if the aldermanic office had the elk heads.

  51. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:43 pm:

    =The elk heads were later sold to an undercover FBI agent posing as an interior designer,=

    lol You have to love someone who not only has to play the role of an interior designer with an “acquired taste” for elk heads, but also has to keep it hushed from others besides their fellow agents until “it’s over.”

  52. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:52 pm:

    This one’s for you, word.

  53. - Amalia - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:54 pm:

    Elk Head Sting, a new bar? or a new dance?

  54. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    Amalia, with a little funding, I think you could take that notion and turn it into a concept. Who knows? A little more money, it could be an idea.

    I must stop. I’m already going to church and/or hell. The schaudenfreude is too much.

  55. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:08 pm:

    As you’re the one who brought up “schaudenfreude,” word: Do we get to debate over, or vote on, where you get to go?

  56. - Amalia - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:41 pm:

    @wordslinger, there’s always the Springfield Schaudenfreude as a bar concept!

  57. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:42 pm:

    The reason Jackson sold the elk’s heads after only a few months is because they clashed with the bear skin yurts.

  58. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:44 pm:

    The reason Jackson sold the elk’s heads after only a few months is because weasels are allergic to elk fur.

  59. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:46 pm:

    The reason Jackson sold the elk’s heads after only a few months is because they clashed with the skunk-skin wallpaper.

  60. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    Elk heads are so 1892.

    What did they buy to replace them - Thomas Kincaid paintings?

  61. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:45 pm:

    Well played everyone!

  62. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:46 pm:

    =Thomas Kincaid paintings.=

    lol V-Man…. ;)

  63. - Newsclown - Friday, Feb 22, 13 @ 7:01 am:

    No, Chuck Testa!

  64. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 22, 13 @ 8:05 am:

    - Apologies to Word and Willy -,

    Well Played, and well done by ALL.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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