The money loaned to Robert Brady, one of the senator’s brothers, was never repaid. Gorman ruled that the loan made to bail out a construction company owned by the senator and two brothers was made under false pretenses and so the obligation cannot be discharged via bankruptcy.
Dr. Tom Pliura loaned the money predicated on promises that there was plenty of collateral in real estate if the loan went south, according to Gorman’s decision. In fact, the real estate, four apartment buildings in Normal, was mortgaged and underwater.
Contrary to what Robert Brady told the doctor when the loan was made, the buildings were owned by limited liability corporations as opposed to Robert and Edward Brady, also a brother of the state senator. According to Sen. Brady’s statements of economic interests filed with the secretary of state, the senator, dating back to 2010, has stock in one of the corporations and a “membership interest” in the other.
Ultimately, the buildings were turned over to a bank in lieu of foreclosure, and Pliura received nothing. With interest, the doctor says that he is owed more than $1.8 million.
The deal began in the summer of 2010, when Pliura received a call from the senator while on a fishing trip in Canada. At the time, Sen. Brady was running for governor against the incumbent, Pat Quinn. “Sen. Brady advised Dr. Pliura that he and his brothers were having financial difficulties and needed to borrow $1 million quickly,” Gorman wrote in her decision. “Dr. Pliura was told by Sen. Brady that the money was needed to pay subcontractors who had done work for the Bradys’ construction company and were threatening to go to the newspapers about the lack of payment. Sen. Brady was concerned about the adverse publicity on his (gubernatorial) campaign.”
Robert Brady, the “go-to” guy in the Bradys’ construction business, according to Gorman’s decision, signed the loan agreement and is debtor in the bankruptcy, but the senator was closely involved in the loan.
“Dr. Pliura said that it was his idea to have the real estate as collateral for the loan and he was advised by the Bradys that the…properties were worth more than $1 million, had no mortgages against them and generated significant rental income,” the judge wrote in her ruling. “He said that Sen. Brady did not want a mortgage recorded against the…properties by the Pliuras, again for political reasons.”
The senator and his two brothers were present when Pliura signed loan papers, according to court documents, and all three brothers reviewed the paperwork. “(Pliura) recalled the debtor and his brothers all assuring him that, based on the value of the collateral, the Pliuras were protected,” Gorman wrote.
During the loan closing, Pliura, following advice from his accountant, suggested that spouses sign the loan agreement, according to court testimony. “(Pliura) said that all three of the Bradys, including the debtor, specifically replied to that request by declining to have their wives sign, saying it was not necessary because the Pliuras were receiving a lien on collateral with a value that more than covered the amount of their loan,” Gorman wrote in her decision. “He recalled the debtor and his brothers all assuring him that, based on the value of the collateral, the Pliuras were protected.”
Pliura testified that he received just one payment, but the check bounced. Six months after making the loan, he hired a lawyer, who discovered the properties, appraised at $1.68 million, had mortgages against them totaling $2.7 million. Three months later, Pilura learned that the properties had been turned over to a bank in lieu of foreclosure.
Pliura and his wife sued Robert and Edward Brady in 2018, seeking repayment. The senator was named a respondent in discovery in the pending McLean County lawsuit, indicating he had evidence relevant to the case. After Pliura sued, Robert Brady filed for bankruptcy, attempting to discharge the debt, but Gorman in her decision ruled that the debt could not be erased via bankruptcy because the loan hinged on false information.
“There is no question, based on Dr. Pliura’s unrebutted testimony, that if the debtor and his brothers had told the truth – that they were totally underwater on their real estate holdings and had nothing to offer the Pliuras as collateral – the loan would not have been made,” Gorman wrote. “The truth was not told.”
The judge rejected arguments from Robert Brady’s lawyer that the fault was Pliura’s: The debtor and his brothers obviously were in financial crisis, so how could the doctor have believed they had any property to pledge as collateral? “The defense asserted here by the debtor – that his lies were so obvious they should not have been believed – is a tough one to make because it shifts blame from the wrongdoer to the victim,” Gorman wrote.
Pliura during testimony acknowledged he was “stupid” in making the loan without hiring an attorney, but that he had trusted the senator and his brothers. He testified that he had seen the Bradys socializing at a local country club and assumed that their financial troubles were a “blip,” according to Gorman’s decision.
“He had been friends with the Bradys for years; their wives were also friends,” Gorman wrote. “He knew that William Brady was a state senator and a candidate for governor and, apparently, he held Sen. Brady in high regard. He knew the Bradys as successful businessmen in the community, and, despite also knowing of their current financial distress and urgent need to borrow money, he had no reason to think that any of the Bradys, including the debtor, would look him in the eye and lie.”
Brady lost the governor’s race but remains a senator and holds the position of Republican leader in the senate. Despite the bad loan, Brady endorsed Pliura in 2012, when the doctor made an unsuccessful run for a senate seat. “Tom will bring a unique perspective to Springfield, and be an important voice in our efforts to bring jobs to Illinois and set new priorities for our limited state revenues, yielding renewed opportunity for our children and grandchildren,” the senator wrote in his endorsement statement.
Pliura has given $14,600 to Brady’s campaigns over the years. The last contribution came in 2010, one month before he made the loan.
Brady could not be immediately reached for comment.
Contact Bruce Rushton at email@example.com