A former commissioner of the Illinois Medical District, his wife and two associates used several companies to steal $3.7 million or more in state money meant to fund medical programs for diseases like cancer and AIDS, prosecutors said today.
South Side businessman Leon Dingle Jr., 75, worked with a bookkeeper he employed, Jacquelyn Kirkpatrick, 57, his wife, Karin Dingle, 73, and Edmond Clemons, who lived with Kirkpatrick in Phoenix, Ill., to use millions in grant money from the health department for themselves, rather than for medical programs, according to prosecutors in the Central District of Illinois, in Springfield.
The grants were supposed to go to fight or treat diseases like cancer and AIDS, as well as emergency preparedness for medical disasters.
Dingle was appointed to the Illinois Medical District in 1991 and left it in March when Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle replaced him with a different commissioner.
Dingle had served as treasurer of the district’s governing commission in recent years.
The district governs the planning of the West Side medical area that includes institutions such as UIC Hospital, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, and Rush University Medical Center.
The four were indicted Thursday on fraud, mail fraud and money laundering charges.
Prosecutors said Advance Health, Social and Educational Associates Inc., owned by the Dingles, received about $7.4 million in grants, about $3 million of which was taken by the Dingles to buy luxury cars; maintain vacation homes in Savannah, Georgia, and Hilton Head, S.C.; pay expenses at the Chicago Yacht Club, the South Carolina Yacht Club and the Mid-America Club; and pay mortgages for family members, among other things.
About $400,000 went toward paying legal fees related to lawsuits filed against Dingle and Advance Health, prosecutors said.
Leon Dingle also used about $29,000 in grant money to buy tickets to the 2007 and 2008 Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field — a game between two historically black colleges — as well as to pay for two skyboxes, food and alcohol, prosecutors said.
Karin Dingle used a $58,962 check from the grants to buy a 2008 Mercedes Benz, while Leon Dingle used a $30,498 check to buy a 2005 Mercedes that same year, according to the indictment. In April 2009, Kilpatrick used a $55,237 check to buy a new Mercedes, and in March 2009, Leon Dingle used a $95,066 check to pay his son’s mortgage.
The Dingles also failed to pay taxes on about $1.4 million in income, most of it grant money, according to the indictment. Kilpatrick and Clemons failed to pay taxes on about $277,000 in income.
Leon Dingle, who lives with his wife in Chicago, was able to get the grants with Kilpatrick’s help, using non-profits as sham grant recipients to get more than $11 million in grants from the health department, most of them without competitive bidding and paid up front, according to prosecutors.
The grants were supposed to go to the Broadcast Ministers Alliance of Chicago, as well as two groups founded by associates of Leon Dingle: Access Wellness and Racial Equity, and Mental Health Association. But when the groups received the grants, the money was transferred to Leon Dingle and Kilpatrick’s control, according to the indictment.
Leon Dingle and Kilpatrick submitted false budgets and reports to hide where the money was going, and paid associates money for little or no work related to the grants’ purposes, prosecutors said. In addition to the money diverted by the Dingles, Kilpatrick and Clemons and their family members used about $700,000 to keep a vacation home in South Carolina, buy luxury cars and a fur coat, and pay college tuition.
The four, who were not arrested, are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 7 in Springfield.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun