Categories:  University

Former federal prosecutor new UI trustee

Led corruption cases against Illinois governors George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich

Patrick Fitzgerald, former federal prosecutor, named UI trustee

Patrick Fitzgerald attends the UI Board of Trustees retreat Wednesday in Student Center West. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Patrick Fitzgerald, the former federal prosecutor who led corruption cases against former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, was appointed to a six-year term on the university Board of Trustees by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Fitzgerald was officially installed as trustee this morning at the board meeting in Student Center West.

Fitzgerald was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 2001 until stepping down last year.

Besides the cases against Ryan and Blagojevich, he led successful prosecutions for criminal fraud against former media baron Conrad Black, whose publishing empire included the Chicago Sun-Times; for public corruption and bribery against city employees involved in the Hired Truck Program and patronage scandals, including top officials in the Daley administration; and for perjury and obstruction of justice against former Chicago Police detective and alleged torturer Jon Burge.

As special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, he led the investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, resulting in the conviction of Bush White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Before he was appointed to his post in Illinois, Fitzgerald was assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he headed the organized crime and terrorism unit. He participated in the conspiracy trial for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the trial of mobster John Gambino.

“Patrick Fitzgerald has served the people of Illinois well and he will be an outstanding member of our outstanding leadership team at Illinois’ flagship university,” Quinn said.

Fitzgerald is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom.

Fitzgerald replaces Lawrence Oliver II of Orland Park, chief counsel for investigations with the Boeing Co. in Chicago, who had served on the board since 2009.

Quinn reappointed trustees Timothy Koritz and James D. Montgomery to new terms on the 12-member board.

Koritz, a trustee since 2009, is staff anesthesiologist at Rockford Memorial Hospital. Montgomery, a trustee since 2007, is a partner at the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith and Montgomery in Chicago. Both are alumni of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Christopher Kennedy, who has served as chairman since he was first appointed to the board in 2009, was re-elected to a fifth term.

Kennedy is former president of Merchandise Mart Properties, a commercial property management firm based in Chicago. Last year, he founded Top Box Foods, a nonprofit organization that provides low-cost food staples to families in need.