Former business ties to convicted felon surface in Newman's bid to unseat Lipinski
Marie Newman, a La Grange Democrat who challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) of Western Springs in the Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District, is busy fending off questions about her judgment amid reports she and her husband were once in business with a convicted swindler.
Newman's ties to James Garofalo has become a hot topic of conversation, according to a posting by Capitol Fax. The parties were partners in a trio of suburban restaurants for roughly nine months before the Newmans pulled the plug on the venture in 2015, the posting said.
Garofalo pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme and was sentenced to six months in federal prison, a Chicago Tribune article said.
Newman recently insisted she and her husband never knew about Garofalo’s felony past; and once they became aware of it, quickly moved to dissolve the partnership.
“What speaks to your character is when you immediately fix it,” she recently told the Chicago Tribune. “And my husband and I immediately fixed our error. I think it speaks very clearly that I’m very transparent. And that when I see that I’ve made a mistake or an error, I’m very accountable and I own it. Then I fix it immediately and I move on, and I don’t make that mistake again.”
According to Capital Fax, mailers calling attention to the former business ties were sent to voters from United for Progress Inc., which is believed to have ties to Lipinski that fronted the $37,637 cost of the project.
Among United for Progress' biggest Chicago-area donors are Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf ($200,000); Craig Duchossois, chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group ($100,000); and Jim Frank, CEO and president of Wheels ($100,000).
Newman has a background as an ad agency partner, marketing executive, author and anti-bullying advocate. She is widely viewed as a much more liberal option to Lipinski, who has served seven terms in Congress and is known as one of the more conservative Democrats.