A Chicago construction company owner pleaded guilty yesterday to paying bribes to the former vice chairman of Illinois' certificate-of-need board to direct hospital and medical school construction projects to his company. The plea is the latest development in a kickback scandal that rocked the Illinois board last year and resulted in criminal indictments of the vice chairman and two alleged co-conspirators. Jacob Kiferbaum, president of Deerfield, Ill.-based Kiferbaum Construction Co., was indicted in May on multiple counts of criminal mail and wire fraud, extortion and misapplication of funds. His guilty plea to a single count of attempted extortion is likely to increase pressure on former Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board Vice Chairman Stuart Levine and P. Nicholas Hurtgen, former Midwest director of Bear Stearns and Co., co-defendants in the case. In his plea, Kiferbaum confessed to paying Levine millions in bribes to steer building contracts to his company and to inflating the projects' costs to cover those kickbacks. Kiferbaum and his successor company, Design+Build, agreed to pay $7 million in restitution by July 1. His sentencing hearing was postponed until after the cases against his co-defendants have been completed and the extent of his cooperation with U.S. District Judge John Grady in Chicago can be established. -- by Mark Taylor
Ill. construction exec pleads guilty in kickback scandal
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