Chicago News Roundup: The Latest in Washington’s Federal Saga, Rising Natural Gas Prices and More


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is a roughly five minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

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This afternoon it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm and a high of around 72. Tonight it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and a low of around 44. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a maximum of around 54.

top story

Key figure accused of embezzling failing Bridgeport bank lost $1m in casinos, sources say

Since a Bridgeport bank was shut down in late 2017 following what federal authorities described as a brazen embezzlement scheme involving the bank’s CEO, a key question has remained unanswered: where did dozens of millions of dollars of missing money?

Now, sources tell the Sun-Times, authorities have determined that Marek Matczuk — one of the central figures charged in the ongoing criminal investigation into the failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings — lost at least $1 million. dollars playing at Chicago area casinos. And they’re trying to figure out if the money he lost gambling came from the millions of dollars he never paid back to the bank, the sources say.

Matczuk, 59, is a roofer and handyman from Park Ridge. Federal regulators said he had $13 million in defaulted loans from Washington Federal when suspended bank CEO John F. Gembara was found hanged in Matczuk’s bedroom shortly before the closing of the bank. Park Ridge Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Gembara committed suicide, although his wife questioned that conclusion.

Matczuk was charged with embezzling $6 million from the bank in what prosecutors said was a scheme in which Washington Federal made loans to privileged insiders without documentation, without collateral and without the expectation that the money is ever refunded.

Matczuk lost $182,000 gambling at Rivers Casino between 2011, when the Des Plaines site opened, and 2018, shortly after Washington Federal closed, plus more than $800,000 at other area casinos. Chicago, according to knowledgeable sources.

Neither Rivers nor the other casino operators would speak in detail about the case.

Tim Novak and Robert Herguth have more on the latest in the Washington federal saga here.

More news you need

  1. The judge in R. Kelly’s ongoing case in state court today told his defense attorney that in the future, he wants Kelly to be present in the courtroom for the hearings – although he was excused from attending the next one. Our Matthew Hendrickson and Andy Grimm have more on the judge’s decision here.
  2. Chicago police trainer who faced 12 counts of unprovoked shooting of unarmed man will not be sent to jail after plea deal with County State’s Attorney’s Office Cook, Kim Foxx. Officer Kevin Bunge, 40, pleaded guilty on September 14 to a single count of aggravated discharge with a firearm for the 2020 off-duty shooting on the North Side.
  3. A man who previously admitted to damaging two Chicago clinics that provide abortion services — and who was suspected of additional attacks — now faces federal charges, court records show. Michael Barron, 40, is charged with one misdemeanor count alleging he damaged a Planned Parenthood health center in Edgewater on June 5, 2021.
  4. As winter approaches, Chicagoans wondering about the harsh weather conditions are getting a stark warning: their personal finances are in danger of taking a hit. The big concern is the significantly higher costs of natural gas, used to heat the vast majority of homes in the area, reports our David Roeder.
  5. Cook County Board Chair Toni Preckwinkle recently shared good news for taxpayers and voters: There are no new taxes or tax hikes in her proposed budget of 8, $75 billion for 2023. Preckwinkle is offering bold spending plans, thanks to about $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funds the county must spend over several years. But it needs workers to make those plans happen, says WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
  6. Dozens of pastors plan to spread the same message from their pulpits this weekend. Their objective? Parting the sea of ​​stigma around mental health services and directing parishioners to care. Our Michael Loria has more here.
  7. The Second City is expanding into a Third City, announcing a plan to open a theater in New York City to complement its longtime locations in Chicago and Toronto. The Chicago-based comedy company said today that the new space will be located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
  8. The Chicago Marathon returns on Sunday with 40,000 people from 50 states and 100 countries expected to compete. Our Katelyn Haas breaks down what you need to know to watch the race, avoid traffic jams and more here.
  9. Vacant for 25 years, a former furniture store in Auburn Gresham will soon be open for business as a community health and education center. The developers hope that in addition to housing a myriad of businesses focused on health and prosperity, the building will also become a beacon of the community, a space where everyone is welcome.

A bright

Leftover food from the set of HBO’s ‘South Side’ goes to the needy; the city hopes it will spread with other productions

Diallo Riddle, co-creator of HBO’s “South Side,” has a unique understanding of the importance of food.

“I am a father and I have three boys growing up. And I work on film shoots that have 150 people with cast and crew. In both worlds, you always have to have more food than you think you need,” Riddle said.

So when he heard about a program Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office is trying to institute to collect leftover food from movie sets and get it into the hands of less fortunate Chicagoans, he didn’t not hesitate.

Diallo Riddle (left) and Bashir Salahuddin are co-creators of HBO’s “South Side.”

Leon Bennett/Getty Images

“The second I heard about it, I was like, ‘Oh yeah! Let’s not waste anything. It’s a no-brainer,'” he said. feeling like you’re wasting something someone else needs.”

The showrunners made six food donations this summer from four different filming locations that totaled 160 meals, according to Replate, a nonprofit that collects leftovers from various businesses and distributes them to other nonprofits. lucrative who have customers looking for a healthy meal. Replate works with many Chicago companies – including Boston Consulting Group, Sprout Social and Jump Trading – and benefactors hope “South Side” food drives will provide a foray into the city’s film industry.

Riddle hopes the trend will continue in Chicago, home to a thriving film industry that includes film, TV and commercial shoots.

Mitch Dudekhas more on Replate’s efforts here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question☕

How would you describe what it’s like to navigate Lower Wacker Drive to someone who isn’t from here?

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: Think about the best neighbor you’ve ever had – what made them the best?

Here’s what some of you said…

“My current neighbors are wonderful. They are friendly. They keep their property. They are calm and respectful of the neighborhood. They are very considerate of other neighbors when throwing a party. —Tony Williams

“They supported me.” — Tony Galati

“We were the best friends in the world. We helped each other and watched our homes and our children. we had so much fun in the neighborhood. Became like a family. — Sandra Gooch

“Mine were four girls who lived a few houses down. We did everything together and to this day they are like my sisters. — Melissa Goodman-Houston

“They became more than neighbors, more than friends, they became family, and after more than 50 years the feelings are still the same.” — Tony Aiello

“His name was Stan. He and his wife were so kind and helpful to my husband and I at our first home in Chicago. From lending power tools to sending baked goods, they were the best. — Joan Fregapane

“When we moved into our first house, we had Sophie and Dan next door. They were like the grandparents of my daughter and my next two who were born there. When the house became too small for our family and we had to move, it broke my heart. We remained friends until they both died. — Bernadette Tomasek

“The Schlabachs. They were the very first people to welcome my family to the United States. Mrs. Schlabach came to our door the day after we arrived in the US with a delicious, freshly baked apple pie and a tub of vanilla ice cream. It was the 80s and my parents, brothers and I had just left a racially oppressive and segregated South Africa where interactions between different races ranged from unpleasant to emotionally and physically violent. Even deadly. So to see Ms. Schlabach on our doorstep with a huge smile on her face was both very shocking and pleasantly surprising. It was so impactful that we talked about it for years. This was just the first of many heartfelt gestures of love and good neighborliness from the Schlabachs to our family. My love and appreciation for them runs deep. —Nolwazi Buthelezi

“I am surrounded by wonderful neighbours. I am an elderly person who lives alone and came home from the hospital after being treated for COVID. My neighbors watched me three or more times a day, cooked my food, washed the dishes, and cleaned the house for me. I took care and cleaned up after my cats and the snow blew into my driveway. It was wonderful to have company after three weeks in the hospital and three weeks in the nursing home where no one could visit. — Sandi Spiewak Estelle

Thanks for reading the afternoon edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.Think we missed a story? Email us here.


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