Ford resolution asks fellow lawmakers to 'remain neutral'

State rep denies guilt in bank fraud charges

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

One day after being indicted by federal authorities for allegedly committing bank fraud, state Rep. LaShawn Ford said he would introduce a resolution in the General Assembly asking his fellow lawmakers not to pass judgment on him.

Ford's House resolution asks his colleagues to remain neutral regarding the charges and to allow him to continue his duties as a legislator, according to a press release from his office Friday morning.

"I hope that my constituents will continue to accept me as their state representative," Ford said in the release.

His House resolution stresses to fellow members that the charges brought against him are of a "personal nature," are unrelated to his work as a lawmaker and do not involve any abuses in that role or violates his oath as an office holder. In his press release, Ford reiterated that he believes he is innocent of the charges and "that his whole record of service should be considered" by fellow lawmakers who might be reluctant to work with him.

Ford added that he will not talk about the indictment or the charges any more with the media but instead about the issues facing the state.

"I look forward to working with the media to shed light on the needs, challenges and opportunities to improve the lives of the people of the 8th District and the state of Illinois," Ford said.

The incumbent state rep, however, will not have trouble legislating in Springfield, Illinois political experts say.

And state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) says she will continue to work with Ford, adding that she believes other lawmakers will, too. She also stressed that Ford is innocent until proven guilty.

"I've always known LaShawn Ford to be a legislator who is always on task and focused, and I don't know why this would prevent that from being the case going forward," she said. "I definitely look forward to working with Rep. Ford in the future."

University of Illinois-Springfield professors of political science Christopher Mooney and Kent Redfield said they expected most of Ford's colleagues in the Illinois House of Representatives to feel the same as Lightford. Both men drew a clear distinction between Ford and recently indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith (10th).

"The parallels will be drawn immediately, but the cases are really different and the people involved are very different," Mooney said.

Smith was indicted in April for allegedly accepting a bribe from an FBI informant in exchange for a political favor, while Ford's indictment stems from fraudulent statements federal prosecutors say he made to obtain a bank loan and improper use of those funds after he got them. The charges are regarding actions that occurred before Ford became a state representative.

Redfield, Mooney and Lightford say that makes all the difference.

"This … has nothing to do with his work as a legislator," said Lightford, whose Senate district includes the entire 8th House district.

AustinTalks.org, an online news site covering the Austin community, contributed to this report.

Contact:
Email: tdean@wjinc.com

Reader Comments

16 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

bankalchemist  

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 1:30 PM

deja vu...see the movie Leap of Faith staring Steve Martin...something for everyone otherwise you will have to wait for Bill Winston staring in his own episode on American Greed CNBC TV.

A Realist from Oak Park  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 11:08 AM

@Dylan. 1. As you know, the County Democratic machine and liberal side own OP politics. On the minority side of an issue, I'll open myself to retaliation. No thanks to the harassment and vandalism the folks with the "End Obamacare" sign got. Just the prudent thing to do. 2. So It was political posturing on calling in the guard: that still doesn't qualify as "great" work. 3. Go to a hardware store and buy heavy-duty drain cleaner. The bill number is on all the paperwork you have to sign, verify.

Dylan Bellisle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 7th, 2012 1:38 PM

A Realist, Firstly, put your name out there. If you want to stand behind your comments then have the courage to have your name out there. Secondly, we can debate the merits of calling for the National Guard to help in distressed areas of the city. To be honest I believe it was a political move by him and others to raise awareness to the unacceptable amounts of violence in Chicago, and the lack of action by Leadership - the Mayor. In terms of a bill to criminalize drain cleaner... Whats the bill number? You can pull out two isolated incidents but the fact remains that overall he has been doing some great work, and works real hard as well.

A Realist from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 2:59 AM

@ Dylan. Ford highlights: Held a press conference to call for the National Guard to patrol Chicago streets. Co-sponsored the bill that criminalized drain cleaner. And this is "great" work?

Dylan  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 10:38 PM

T.J. I doubt you have met Rep. Ford, because actually he is one of the better Reps. I hope there is some mistake. Ford has been doing some great work.

Diogenes  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 3:49 PM

For the most part, I agree that the charges are unrelated to his office (aside from that of fraudulently using the loan proceeds to finance his campaign). However this odd, superfluous resolution weakens his credibility instead of supporting it.

Smitty  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 2:57 PM

Tired of Taxes, neither Ryan or Blagojevich are great examples. Better examples are Ed Vrdolyak, Ed Burke, Daley, Madigan...those are the big players.

OP Bob Dylan  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 2:28 PM

Ryan and Cellini will be picked up by Big Jim Thompson from prison and welcomed right back into the club. Blago turned on them so he was treated same as black. Ford's mistake was he didn't "sell" his legal services as a lawyer like Harmon or Madigan.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 10:41 AM

Tell that to Messrs Ryan, Blagoyevich, Cellini, and numerous other white politicians who are in prison now, OP Dylan. Being black does not excuse one from following the laws that we non-politicians have to follow.

OP Bob Dylan  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 8:55 AM

Blacks sit like Buddhas in ten foot cells while the white pols "earn" millions in legal and lobbying fees according to "ethics" laws they make, drink martinis and watch the sun rise. Whites don't have to steal, they just game the system better.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 7:53 PM

I guarantee that Mr. Ford will be convicted in Federal Court. The Feds don't waste their time unless they are certain they can get a conviction. I've met Mr. Ford and he doesn't seem very bright. He'll do 4 yrs. No parole in federal system.

muntz  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 5:01 PM

I disagree, Mr. Ford. Your inability to properly manage your own funds DIRECTLY impacts your ability to represent your constituents. Misrepresentation by a state representative goes against the very title of your position. Casino debt = big red flag

The Truth  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 4:55 PM

Somehow I suspect Don Harmon makes a lot more than this fellow and none of it is leveraging his "public service." Google the Tribune articles about him. Illinois Democrats have perfected the art of pinstripe patronage and Oak Park lemmings (aka voters) return them to office in landslides. The voters are the real criminals not these silly scapegoats. Worst state in the union and the voters voting for the likes of Harmon are responsible.

Veronica from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 3:36 PM

Just another wonderful politician in Illinois. The nerve of people in this world that they think they are above everyone else.

Anonymous Bank Lawyer from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 2:39 PM

I've had a good amount of experience examining bank fraud from representing banks. Even bad banks keep just about the most meticulous records imaginable. If he was indicted on a 17 counts of bank fraud, I'd be shocked if he didn't actually commit it

We're all to blame  

Posted: November 30th, 2012 2:11 PM

Don't worry Mr. Ford. Your colleagues are too busy being wined and dined by lobbyists at Gibsons to worry about a sacrificial lamb like you. Your mistake was not being cunning enough to partake in the legal scams the big-time players cook up.

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