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In 2004, then Attorney General Steve Carter filed a racketeering lawsuit naming 27 East Chicago individuals and contractors as defendants - including former Mayor Robert Pastrick and mayoral aide James Fife III. The lawsuit alleged Pastrick and Fife poured public funds into politically motivated concrete-paving and tree-trimming projects on private properties in order to boost Pastrick’s chances in the 1999 mayoral primary election. Not only was the bidding illegal, but the massive project drained the East Chicago city treasury of approximately $24 million. The first-of-its-kind lawsuit, filed under the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations or RICO statute, named the city government of East Chicago itself as a corrupt enterprise. Current Attorney General Zoeller inherited the case from Carter in January and has continued to prosecute the civil RICO.