WBEZ | Greg Zoeller http://www.wbez.org/tags/greg-zoeller Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Latino group joins lawsuits against Indiana over immigration law http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-group-joins-lawsuits-against-indiana-over-immigration-law-95097 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-21/AP080314026008.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>La Union Benefica Mexican has been around for decades in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>The East Chicago-based not-for-profit group has been hosting its annual Mexican Independence Day parade for years.</p><p>And, the group, known as the UBM for short, promotes Mexican culture and traditions throughout the year with events and gatherings.</p><p>But the UBM is taking a more serious tone in joining a federal lawsuit against Indiana’s anti-illegal immigration law, SB 590.</p><p>Although adopted last Spring by the Indiana General Assembly, certain provisions of S.B. 590 have yet to take effect since a federal judge’s injunction kicked in last summer.</p><p>Still, Antonio Barreda, head of the UBM, says the bill discriminates against Latinos, not just those who may be in the United States illegally.</p><p>“The law itself could violate not only immigrants but American citizens such as I and many others,” Barreda told WBEZ on Wednesday. “It also gives businesses the opportunity to become even more discriminatory by not hiring Hispanics.”</p><p>Barreda said UBM is join in its lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis.</p><p>In a written statement, MALDEF says the bill “poses severe and immediate threats to the United States Constitution and to the livelihood of anyone who 'looks' to local authorities like an undocumented immigrant.”</p><p>“This challenge is necessary to send a message to anti-immigrant groups that their efforts to pass Arizona-style legislation in the Midwest are not welcome and will be resisted,” Alonzo Rivas, MALDEF Midwest Regional Counsel said in a statement.</p><p>The Republican-controlled Indiana State House pushed S.B. 590, although many Hoosier Democrats supported the measure which drew harsh criticism and protest by those opposed to it.</p><p>Several more controversial aspects were nixed from the bill, such as giving an Indiana State Trooper the right to pull over anyone who appeared to be an undocumented immigrant.</p><p>But other provisions, primarily against businesses who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants, remain in the law.</p><p>The bill is already being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.</p><p>Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Indiana is seeking to delay hearings on all challenges to the bill until the U.S. Supreme Court decides Arizona’s own tough immigration law.</p><p>“We will be seeking a stay in this case in addition to the previous case while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge to Arizona’s immigration statute. Indiana will join with other states in seeking a ruling from the Supreme Court that will provide some guidance to states on immigration since Congress has thus far failed to enact or enforce federal immigration policies,” Zoeller said in a statement to WBEZ on Tuesday.</p><p>IN December, the U.S. Supreme Court announced plans to hear the case challenging Arizona’s immigration law this spring.</p></p> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 01:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-group-joins-lawsuits-against-indiana-over-immigration-law-95097 Indiana to stand firm on immigration law http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-stand-firm-immigration-law-88168 <p><p>The state of Indiana says it will defend its controversial immigration law in federal court. The law won’t take effect until July 1, but it’s already drawn fire — and a court challenge — from the American Civil Liberties Union.</p><p>The ACLU was in Indianapolis Monday to ask U.S District Judge Sarah Evans Barker to block two provisions. The first bans the use of foreign identification cards, even if those cards are approved for use by treaty or by the federal government. The U.S. Treasury currently allows banks to accept the “matricula consular” issued by Mexico. Banks and other institutions in the Hoosier state would no longer be allowed to accept them as identification.</p><p>The ACLU also asked the federal judge to block a provision that allows local police in Indiana to arrest immigrants whose status has not been determined by an immigration court.&nbsp; ACLU attorney Ken Falk told Barker that the law gives police sweeping powers to arrest immigrants who haven't committed any crime.</p><p>For its part, Indiana officials say the state won’t budge. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the state will defend all provisions of its new immigration law even if, as he says, it’s not perfect. “Everyone agrees that the federal government has failed in its responsibility to define our statutes and enforce them,” Zoeller said. “So the states are all left struggling with the problems and failures of the federal government.”</p><p>Barker said she expects to rule on the ACLU’s request for injunction before July 1.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-stand-firm-immigration-law-88168 Planned Parenthood closes Indiana clinics for a day http://www.wbez.org/story/planned-parenthood-closes-indiana-clinics-day-88169 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-06/111902165.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most Planned Parenthood offices in Indiana will be closed Wednesday, including those in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>The move comes while the group’s fighting to preserve access to federal Medicaid dollars that are administered by the state. A new Indiana law bars those funds from going to abortion providers.</p><p>Planned Parenthood of Indiana has asked a federal judge for an injunction that would block Indiana’s law and allow the group to once again accept Medicaid payments. While that court fight has dragged on, private donors have provided the group with more than $100,000. That money dried up earlier this week, so Planned Parenthood workers will not be paid for their time off Wednesday.</p><p>Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the organization could fix the funding problem on its own by splitting in two. “They’ve refused to do that. Why won’t they just separate those two services,” Zoeller said. “One with federal and state funds can go to and the others that are prohibited by law.” Zoeller is in Chicago this week for a conference held by the National Association of Attorneys General.</p><p>Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration point out that federal law already bans Medicaid funds from being used for abortions. The federal government has said Indiana’s law is illegal and has sided with Planned Parenthood in federal court. A judge plans to rule on whether to grant an injunction by July 1.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/planned-parenthood-closes-indiana-clinics-day-88169 More trouble for East Chicago library board http://www.wbez.org/story/more-trouble-east-chicago-library-board-85470 <p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The library board in East Chicago, Indiana, is under legal scrutiny for making health and life insurance payments for board members between 2008 and 2010. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the law is clear: Library board members in Indiana must serve without compensation. So, he is suing to get six board members to pay back more than $180,000.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">It’s just the latest in a series of lawsuits or legal challenges against officials for unethical spending practices within the library system and in East Chicago government, as well. </span></p><p>“This seems to be a constant theme in the city of East Chicago. There’s an open question about whether things have been done incorrectly for so long that maybe they don’t know the right way,” Zoeller said Wednesday. “But I do know it’s my job to pursue the collection of these funds and that’s what I intend to do.”</p><p>Zoeller filed his lawsuit in Lake County Superior Court on Tuesday.</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The suit names board members and the amount they are asked to reimburse: Diana Garcia-Burns, $642.60; Hector Cavazos, $27,965.53; Chasidy Gomez, $44,686.90; Clifton Johnson, $52,686.26; Gary McCracken, $24,604.76; and Aldolfo Velez, $31,673.49.</span></p><p>Two other library board members, Marco Arredondo and Ricardo Garcia, have agreed to repay illegal insurance benefits. They were not named in the lawsuit, according to the attorney general’s office.</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“The lawsuit is part of my office’s effort to aggressively take legal action against officials who violate the public trust when they spend taxpayers’ money as if it were their own,” Zoeller said.</span></p><p>Zoeller is also going after the library system’s former director, Manuel “Manny” Montalvo, for $12,000 in unauthorized expenses uncovered in an audit conducted by the Indiana State Board of Accounts. .</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Zoeller said the audit revealed numerous unauthorized expenditures made by Montalvo for non-library business while he was director of the East Chicago Public Library, including trips to the Puerto Rican Gala Day in New York City and a conference in Puerto Rico. Auditors also questioned expenses for repairs to Montalvo’s personal vehicle.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Montalvo had all of his assets frozen last month by a Northwest Indiana judge at the request of Zoeller’s office. Zoeller cited a public-accountability law passed by Indiana lawmakers in 2009, which he says gives him the authority to secure repayment by freezing Montalvo’s assets. A judge later eased up on Montalvo, so he is now allowed to pay personal expenses and sell a home. Proceeds from a property sale could allow Montalvo to pay the state.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Last year, a Cook County court convicted Montalvo for misdemeanor charges of battery and disorderly conduct following a Cubs game.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Montalvo was fired as library director last month by a reconstituted board.</span></p></p> Wed, 20 Apr 2011 23:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/more-trouble-east-chicago-library-board-85470 Indiana AG sues library director http://www.wbez.org/story/business/indiana-ag-sues-library-director-84098 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.9824369343204307" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Manuel &quot;Manny&quot; Montalvo had been in legal trouble for a while as director of the public library in East Chicago, Indiana, a small industrial city just outside Chicago. But now Montalvo could be facing financial trouble, too. Montalvo was convicted in Cook County on misdemeanor charges of battery and disorderly conduct following a Cubs game in 2010. He had gotten into an altercation with transit police on the South Shore line while returning home from the game. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Earlier this month, an audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts found Montalvo used thousands of dollars in library funds for repairs to his personal vehicle. The audit also found he took unauthorized trips to New York and Puerto Rico for non-library business. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Last week, the board of directors of the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n_cQNMvuVI">East Chicago Public Library Board</a> fired Montalvo from his job. </span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">On Tuesday, Indiana&rsquo;s attorney General Greg Zoeller went a step further&mdash;he seized Montalvo&rsquo;s own property by filing a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Lake County. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">In all, Zoeller wants Montalvo to pay back at least $12,000 dollars.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">A Lake Circuit Court judge approved Zoeller&rsquo;s request for a temporary restraining order to freeze Montalvo&rsquo;s personal assets, including his bank account, house and cars.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Zoeller will be back in court next week, seeking approval to make the temporary freeze permanent. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">A 2009 Indiana law gives Zoeller authority to seek assets of public employees when misappropriation is suspected.</span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Montalvo has not been criminally charged. Last week, he threatened a lawsuit against the library board for firing him.</span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span></p></p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/indiana-ag-sues-library-director-84098