Federal court denies Tezak’s bid to stay out of prison
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com September 18, 2013 7:04PM
Robert "Bobby" Tezak is escorted from the Will County Courthouse in this undated photo | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: October 24, 2013 6:27PM
Former Will County Coroner Robert “Bobby” Tezak’s last-ditch effort to stay out of prison has failed.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago denied an emergency motion filed by Tezak that would have postponed his return to federal prison for four months for failing to pay restitution in his arson cases.
Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Tezak will either report Thursday to a facility that the Bureau of Prisons has designated or to the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
Tezak, a former millionaire who was once a powerful GOP power broker and the owner of the Uno card game business, claimed he was surviving on only about $200 a month while he was actually driving a Mercedes, living in an upscale Phoenix community and racking up $380,000 in gambling winnings at Harrah’s Casino in Joliet on return visits to Illinois, according to a federal sentencing memorandum.
All the while, he failed to pay restitution and fines levied against him after he was convicted of two 1987 arsons, federal prosecutors said. Tezak, who was coroner from 1976 to 1988, went to prison for having two buildings he owned torched — the Galaxy Bowl in Crest Hill and the Private Industry Council building in downtown Joliet.
He pleaded guilty to federal charges for the bowling alley fire in 1994 and was convicted on state charges stemming from the PIC building fire in 1996. Tezak was released from a federal prison in 2002 and from home confinement in October 2003.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered Tezak back to prison after learning in May that Tezak had violated the conditions of his supervisory release by not paying restitution or the fine.
Tezak owed about $1.2 million in restitution and fines after his convictions, an amount that has ballooned to $3.37 million because of accrued interest on the unpaid fine, according to the sentencing memorandum.
In a 2003 interview with The Herald-News, Tezak, who owned an Indy car that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1990, said he was worth $40 million at the peak of his career. In the same interview he blamed much of his downfall on a cocaine addiction.
In 2005, he told The Herald-News he had paid all of his restitution and the fines pending against him were dismissed in bankruptcy court. But the recent sentencing memorandum details how many of the checks sent for restitution were not valid and could not be cashed.