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Report: Former Rep. Howard to plead guilty

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013

* To those who know her, this is probably a big surprise

Former State Rep. Constance “Connie” Howard, a once-prominent South Side Democrat, is expected to plead guilty to a single count of federal mail fraud Wednesday related to misusing scholarship funds from a charity she founded.

Howard is expected to admit skimming roughly $28,000 out of about $76,700 raised between 2003 and 2007 from the Tee Off For Technology charity golf outing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield.

The money that she took went for personal and political purposes and to the benefit of an unnamed individual.

The event was designed to raise scholarship funds for needy students pursuing college degrees in computer science and related fields. But out of the nearly $77,000 raised, Howard is expected to admit awarding only five $2,500 scholarships.


…Adding…
From the US Attorney’s office…

Today, at 1:30 p.m., a court hearing is scheduled in Springfield, in federal court, for former Illinois State Representative Constance ‘Connie’ Howard to waive indictment and enter a plea of guilty to an information charging her with a single count of mail fraud. Howard is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore.

For more information, the case U.S. v. Constance A. Howard, Court Docket #13-30057, and the filed information are available at the U.S. Clerk of the Court, on PACER… The U.S. Attorney’s Office expects to issue a news release following completion of the scheduled court hearing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Former Downstater - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    I wonder how this relates to the Lets Talk Lets Test debacle. A plea deal here for testimony on that issue?


  2. - Cal Skinner - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    Connie was one of the first black state legislators to take an interest in the AID/HIV epidemic.

    How sad that she succumbed to this temptation to enrich herself.


  3. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    She cited “personal reasons” in her July 2012 resignation letter.

    Perhaps she meant “public reasons” and public dollars.

    If this is what the “good guys” in Springfield are up to, I shudder to think what the “bad guys” are doing. Sorry to see Rep. Howard’s career end on this note.


  4. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Did Howard have any influence in choosing her successor, Elgie Sims?


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    I stand corrected: not “public” dollars, but “charitable” dollars.

    That might actually be worse.


  6. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    Destroying her career over less than half her annual salary as a pol?


  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Did Howard have any influence in choosing her successor===

    Little to none.


  8. - Raising Kane - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    I am surprised…I had a lot of respect for her. And I agree with hisgirlfriday that its such a waste of a reputation for such a piddling amount of money.


  9. - Just Me - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    Formerly Known As said it best….if this is the type of behavior that the good ones exhibit, I shudder to think what the bad ones are doing.

    More importantly, this is clearly a plea bargain since she is pleading guilty. I wonder what else was out there…..


  10. - Ann - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    She’s a grown-up, and responsible for her actions, but I am sure that Lloyd Kelly, her aide now under indictment for the Let’s Talk, Let’s Test debacle, was at least an enabler.


  11. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    upping the quotient of female politicians indicted and heading to the pen. sad.


  12. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    Nowhere in the budget to cut? BS, and this is another prime example. About $1 BILLION per year being thrown around to these “charities”, member initiatives, grants… and they have absolutely no idea if that taxpayer money is doing any good, let alone if it is being stolen. How many stories like this have there been the past decade? After school programs and RickEy, Monique and Brainerd’s rent money, “jobs program” for a theater, Smith’s day care center, Obama’s community garden gazebo, and those are just off the top of my head.

    If they can’t follow up and know the money is actually doing good, they shouldn’t be handing it out, especially when the state is broke. Complete fools.


  13. - bored now - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    i wonder if lloyd was the recipient of the “money that she took went for personal and political purposes and to the benefit of an unnamed individual…”


  14. - Truth Please - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    Why are you so sure Rep Howard had no hand in choosing her successor? That’s not the word in the district.


  15. - dave - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    **Nowhere in the budget to cut? BS, and this is another prime example.**

    Pretty sure that her charity was not state-funded. Good spin though.


  16. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    dave, perhaps not this specific indictment, but her other charity, Let’s Talk Let’s Test Foundation, got two state grants for $2.4 million with her aide Lloyd Kelly being indicted and a Public Official A described that most likely is Howard.


  17. - bored now - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 8:01 pm:

    Truth Please: elgie had connie’s support, but she didn’t announce her endorsement until late in the game, iirc. more important to elgie was having donnie trotter’s support (and help and money); connie wasn’t really a factor. she had health issues for the last few years, had lost her office manager over a dispute with or about lloyd, and simply didn’t have an organization that could have annointed elgie, if she had wanted. the people i know from that district would say the same thing, so i’m not sure to whom you are referring…


  18. - ChicagoDem - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 9:36 pm:

    Sad to see this end for Connie. She was one Harold’s friends whom he helped to elect. She indeed changed from her early years of optimism, dedication, and community grass roots organizing. Oh well; and for what? She may even lose her pension!


  19. - 1776 - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 10:02 pm:

    You do the crime, you do the time. At one point, I worked for a large company and she tried hard to get us to make a donation. We refused and she was not happy.

    Guess its a good thing she worked on legislation to expunge criminal records.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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