An arrest warrant has been issued for the former director of real estate for Tribune Co. after she twice failed to show up in federal court on fraud charges.
Stephanie Pater is accused of diverting real estate commissions meant for Tribune Co. to her own company, according to a federal indictment. After Pater failed to show up for her arraignment on Jan. 3, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan warned he would issue a warrant for her arrest if she missed a hearing today, according to court records.
Pater did not show up and Der-Yeghiayan issued the warrant, according to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office. Pater has been free on a recognizance bond attached to her indictment, but has yet to appear in court to have bail set. Pater does not live in the Chicago area.
An official in Der-Yeghiayan's courtroom received an email from Pater saying her attorney would be in touch with the judge, but federal court records do not show that an attorney has filed paperwork to represent her.
Pater joined Tribune Co. as director of real estate in January 2008, soon after billionaire real estate developer Sam Zell took the company private in a heavily leveraged $8.2 billion deal. Her role with the company included seeking buyers for the Tribune Tower and Times Mirror Square in Los Angeles before the properties were taken off the market in 2009.
Pater left the company in 2010 to form Catalyst Group, which was hired by Tribune Co., identified only as Company A in the indictment, to oversee its real estate holdings for a monthly fee. Sources have confirmed that Tribune Co. is Company A.
In March 2010, Pater created a fake contract between Tribune Co. and Catalyst that directed an unnamed company to pay commissions to her company, according to the indictment. The scheme took place over a period of about six months, according to the indictment.
Tribune Co. owns the Chicago Tribune.
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