NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOND LAWYERS
Only three people I knew well went to prison.
VOICE FROM THE PAST
Dan Walker had been a petty officer in the Navy and won a fleet appointment to the
U.S. Naval Academy during World War II. He was one of the top two or three students in
my class at Northwestern Law School. He was the editor of the law review. He was tall,
handsome, and always looked you straight in the eye. Dan was also ambitious, and was not
likely to be in a position where someone could take advantage of him. The easy, jovial
warmth one often finds in a politician was missing.
After graduation he went to work in the legal department of Montgomery Ward & Co.
and in a few years rose to the position of general counsel. He also took an interest in public
affairs, and was the author of the Chicago Crime Commission's report on the excesses of the
Chicago Police Department at the time of the Democratic Convention in 1968. This was
when various groups of hippies and the like came to town for the purpose of causing trouble,
and received brutal treatment from the police. Authorship of this report brought broad
recognition to Dan, and enabled him to run successfully for Attorney General. In 1972 he
was elected Governor of Illinois, but was not re-elected in 1976.
Dan started a law firm called "Dan Walker & Associates" but it did not attract enough
clients to keep going. He got into other businesses and into the habit of spending lots of
money, especially on a yacht or two. He and his second wife bought a savings and loan
association, and he took to drinking more than he should have. In time the association
became insolvent, and one of the reasons involved amounts that Dan had borrowed from it.
He was convicted of various federal crimes and sentenced to seven years in the federal prison
at Duluth, Minnesota. After his release, he eventually got a job as a legal assistant with a
law firm in San Diego. A book titled Dan Walker: The Glory and the Tragedy was
written about him by Pensoneau and Taylor and published by Smith-Collins of Evansville,
Indiana, in 1993. Dan was welcomed by our classmates at our 45th and 50th reunions in 1995
John Lomelo was the mayor of the City of Sunrise, Florida, when I did bond work for
that city. Unlike the mayors of many cities, he took an active interest in bond work, and in
many other parts of the city's operation. Rough, crude, and abrasive, he lacked the polish and
understanding that many mayors have, but he compensated by his diligence and devotion to
the welfare of his city. He knew how to get things done, and he saw to it that they were
done. There was a sort of competition among the cities in western Broward County, Florida,
to annex land as it was developed. I was told that the developers preferred to be annexed to
Sunrise because of Mayor Lomelo: he saw to it that when a developer filed a plan, it was
acted on promptly, so that the developer would not have to keep his capital tied up while
finding out whether his plan would be accepted. The voters consistently re-elected John.
The code by which John lived was not always subservient to the law. If a city worker
seemed recalcitrant, he could expect not only harsh words, but possibly a punch in the nose.
Most or all of the City's bonds were sold at negotiated sale to a particular dealer with whom
Lomelo was friendly. I once heard him tell the dealer how much to contribute to the
campaign fund for John's re-election. On another occasion there was some discussion about
where to hold the next closing so that the city officials could have a party in a new location.
They chose a California firm to print the bonds so that they could have an ostensible reason
for closing in San Francisco. Not long after that I ceased being bond counsel to the city.
During his 17 years as Mayor, John was indicted three times without a conviction.
But, in 1985, he was convicted in federal court on eight counts of mail fraud, conspiracy to
commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. The mail fraud charges involved the
payment of city money to a lobbyist for services that were never performed; the other charges
involved an attempt to extort money from a nursing-home concern that wished to build in
Sunrise. He was sentenced to five years in prison. (The Wall Street Journal, Aug
12, 1985). The February 1, 1988 edition of The Miami News carried a story which
reported that, six days after being paroled, John became a local radio talk show host.
Courteous, diligent, wise, knowledgeable, and trustworthy were adjectives that applied
to E.L. He had been a highly respected member of the State Legislature. It was generally
agreed by everyone who knew him that the State Highway Department was very lucky when
E.L. agreed to take the job of director. I worked with him on bond matters during a major
expansion of the State's highway system, and shared in that general agreement. He
occasionally told me of his farm, which he loved deeply. At one time he was planning to
grow wine grapes and establish a winery, but found that it would be unprofitable.
I was later shocked to learn that E.L. had been convicted of embezzlement for taking
some money that had been held in trust by the Highway Department. The Assistant Attorney
General with whom I worked was in charge of the prosecution. He told me that E.L. needed
the money to keep his farm, and did not know how to avoid leaving an easily followed paper
trail when he applied the funds to that purpose. It occurred to me that E.L. probably could
have found a highway contractor who would have helped him out in a manner that, if not
ethical, would at least not have been illegal; yet that would not have been E.L.'s way. He was
sentenced to six years in prison, and released after one or two. Since then, so far as I can
tell, the newspapers have respected his privacy.
Manly W. Mumford