United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
J. DAVID JOHN, ex rel., United States of America, Plaintiff and Relator,
J. DENNIS HASTERT, Defendant.
CHARLES P. KOCORAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
with this Court's order of July 6, 2016, an evidentiary
hearing was held on February 9, 2017. The hearing was
necessitated by the dispute of material facts presented by
the assertions of J. David John, the Plaintiff and Relator,
and the version of events as asserted by Special Agent of the
FBI Douglas Soika (“Soika”), as to his contacts
with John. The essential question to be decided was what was
disclosed by John to Soika and whether John qualified as an
original source of information to the Government in order to
avoid the public disclosure bar of 31 U.S.C. § 3730.
John and Soika testified at the hearing and, along with the
admission of some exhibits, their testimony constituted the
entirety of the hearing. The parties were represented by
counsel, and each of the two witnesses was subjected to cross
examination in addition to their direct examinations.
following description represents the Court's findings of
fact and conclusions of law. Soika joined the FBI in August
2005 after receiving a four-year college degree from the
State University of New York, graduate studies at the College
of St. Rose, and service in the United States Marine Corps.
He graduated from the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia and
had, as his first assignment, the Buffalo, New York division.
Soika was assigned to a small office in Rochester. In
December of 2008, he was transferred to the Chicago office
and, in 2011, assigned to the Lisle FBI office.
evidence established that John contacted the Chicago FBI
office by phone on August 5, 2011 and spoke to Patricia
Chrasika. The FBI records reflect a report of that contact
and what the call was about. John told Chrasika that he was
born in India on 10/6/1964, and that he was currently
involved in a child custody case with a woman by the name of
Megan. This child was born in March of 2010, and John was
scheduled to go to court on 9/16/2011. John said he feared
that his civil rights were being violated because he was from
India. John said he lived in Burr Ridge and wanted to speak
to an agent. The report states that John was given an address
to the WRA (assumed to stand for Western Resident Agent) so
that he could discuss this further with an agent. John was
also given the phone number of the Chicago Bar Association
with reference to free legal services and where John could
speak to an attorney with any questions he may have. The
report is silent as to Defendant Hastert and contains no
reference to any misuse by him of federally funded benefits.
next contact between John and the FBI was on August 29, 2011,
when John contacted the Chicago West Resident Agent's
office and spoke to Soika by telephone. Consistent with his
training and established FBI procedure, Soika memorialized
the conversation with a written memorandum containing four
pages. Although not intended to be in verbatim form, it is a
summary of the relevant matters about which John was calling
one of the report contains the synopsis of the complaint. It
reads as follows:
“Possible corruption of a District Judge in
Bentonville, Arkansas (Benton County).”
two of the form is headed, “Details of the
Complaint.” Reference in this section is made to the
complaint of August 5, 2011. In addition, the following
topics are described as the Complaints John made:
1. John's involvement in a custody battle with Megan
Marie Bolinder, formerly Megan Marie;
2. An upcoming court appearance of September 15-16, 2011 in
3. That Megan Bolinder's parents, Garth and Dixie
Bolinder, threatened to “bury” John if he
continues to pursue custody of the child;
4. That Garth is a Superintendent at an Evangelical church
(Mid South Conference Evangelical Covenant Church) and a
ranking member of a religious/fraternal organization known as
“The Fellowship, ” based in Washington, D.C.;
5. John's belief that his federal rights to privacy of
his student education records were violated because the
Bolinder family illegally acquired John's records from
6. That the Bolinders met with Tom Pratt, a trustee at
Wheaton College, and that Pratt is an associate of Garth
Bolinder and a member of “The Fellowship;”
7. That Pratt provided the Bolinders with John's academic
and employment records in an attempt by the Bolinders to
discredit his character to prevent John from gaining custody
of his child;
8. That on January 5, 2011, Paul Chelsea (Dean Vice President
for Student Development at Wheaton College) fired John from
his position as a volunteer wrestling coach;
9. That Chelsea's explanation was that Garth Bolinder
told Wheaton's President to remove John because he was a
man of poor moral character and had a child out of wedlock;
10. That the Bolinders sought the influence of Mike Duke
(Walmart CEO and alleged “Fellowship” member) and
his wife Susan Duke in an attempt to prevail or influence
Judge Douglas Schrantz of the 19th Western
Judicial Circuit, Division 6, Benton County;
11. That shortly after the Bolinders met with Mike and Susan
Duke, John's attorney, Johnnie Rhoads (female, ) informed
John that she would no longer represent him;
12. That John's current attorney told him that Judge
Schrantz and Rhoads once worked at the same law firm;
13. That Rhoads turned over client-lawyer privilege documents
to the Bolinders;
14. That John cannot get a fair custody hearing in Arkansas
because the Bolinders have and will continue to try to
influence Judge Schrantz through their influential
provided John with contact information for the Department of
Education should he wish to file a complaint against Wheaton
College for violation of his right to privacy in his student
records. Soika advised John that he did not see any other
violations of federal law that warranted an FBI
investigation. John was further advised to recontact Soika if
John obtained any additional information that might suggest
that the judge was involved in any type of corrupt activity.
testimony at the hearing before the Court was entirely
consistent with his report of the events of August 29, 2011.
Soika believed he and John spoke again on August 30, but he
did not write anything because there was no violation of
federal criminal law. In Soika's view, as he testified,
“we were looking at it as a civil matter in his custody
battle, other than, you know, potential corruption on the
part of the Arkansas judge.” Other than that,
“there weren't any violations of federal-alleged
violations of federal-criminal law that he believed were
being discussed during his conversations with Mr.
absent from Soika's report, made contemporaneously with
the events at issue, is any mention whatever of Hastert's
misuse of federally provided funds for his private business
dealings. Indeed, neither of the two FBI reports includes
Hastert's name. In his testimony, Soika denied having
any conversations with John about Hastert.
was shown a copy of John's Second Amended Complaint and
directed specifically to paragraphs 50 through 52. In those
paragraphs, John alleged that he told Soika a number of
specific things about Hastert and his misuse of federal funds
for his office and other related items. Those paragraphs are
the gravamen of John's claim to be the original source of
information supplied to the FBI in support of his complaint
in this case. Soika denied that John told him any of those
things about Hastert, whether as stated in the complaint or
“that might have sounded like that stated in different
words . . .” Soika put the subject matter of his
conversations with John succinctly:
conversation we had related to the custody battle of his
child.” In relevant respects, this is what Soika
testified to about whether Hastert was discussed in his
telephone conversations with John:
Q. So, other than the corruption -- the potential corruption
-- matter involving the Arkansas judge, there weren't any
violations of federal -- alleged violations of federal
--criminal law that you believed were being discussed during
your conversations with Mr. John?
A. That is correct.
Q. And that includes all of the conversations you had with
him; is that correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. And when you were having these conversations, were you
aware of who Dennis Hastert was?
A. I was -- I had a familiarization with the name, yes. I was
no -- certainly no -- expert in his history, as it has played
out since then. But I was familiar with the name being
assigned to Chicago, in Illinois.
Q. You were aware that he was a member of Congress?
A. That is correct.
Q. Did you discuss Dennis Hastert during any of your
conversations with Mr. John?
A. Not that I recall, no.
Q. Did you ask Mr. John why Dennis Hastert would want to keep
him quiet during any of your conversations with Mr. John?
A. No, I didn't have any conversations about Mr. Hastert.
Q. Did Mr. John tell you that he and Dennis Hastert were
doing business together on any of your conversations?
A. Not that I recall, no.
Q. Did Mr. John tell you that he and Mr. Hastert had been
working out of the Office of the Former Speaker in Yorkville