Contact Us




The Arizona Daily Wildcat Online





News Sports Opinions Arts Classifieds

Friday March 9, 2001

Basketball site
Elton John


Restaurant and Bar Guide
Daily Wildcat Alumni Site


Student KAMP Radio and TV 3

Arizona Student Media Website

Lawyers accused of plotting to buy judgeship

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO - Three lawyers were accused of plotting to buy an associate county judgeship for $10,000.

Thomas Fazioli, Peter Coladarci and James Pancratz were charged Wednesday by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission with violating state election law and professional conduct rules.

Fazioli was seeking an associate Cook County judgeship last year. According to the commission's complaint, he initially offered Illinois Supreme Court candidate Thomas Fitzgerald a campaign contribution in exchange for his support. Fitzgerald was then a member of the associate judge nominating committee.

When the offer was rejected, Fazioli allegedly arranged for Coladarci and Pancratz to each donate $5,000 to Fitzgerald's campaign and reimbursed them each $7,500 to cover income taxes.

The complaint said Fitzgerald's campaign treasurer later learned the contributions actually were from Fazioli and returned the money and notified the disciplinary commission.

The commission called the alleged scheme a "criminal act," but James Grogan, chief counsel for the commission, declined to say whether there was a criminal investigation.

The lawyers, who all mostly handle personal injury cases, face discipline ranging from censure to loss of their law licenses.

Fazioli's attorney, William J. Martin, said yesterday that his client had made a mistake. He said the money was intended as a campaign contribution and should have been made in Fazioli's own name.

"The characterization of the campaign contribution as a bribe is totally misleading, inaccurate and unfair," Martin said. "... It was not the most appropriate conduct that could have been undertaken, but he is very contrite and apologetic."

Coladarci's attorney, Thomas Durkin, said he doesn't think "all the inferences in the complaint are accurate."

"We look for a favorable resolution," he said.

Pancratz's attorney did not immediately return calls seeking comment yesterday.