PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The former developers of the Hotel Pere Marquette will go to trial this fall, a federal judge said after a hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Chief. U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow will preside over the trial of Gary Matthews and Monte Brannan which is slated to begin on Oct. 16 at Peoria’s federal courthouse.
The two were indicted in December 2020 on charges of money laundering and mail fraud. THe charges allege the two took $750,000 from the hotel and diverted it to themselves after the hotel went into foreclosure. They are also accused of taking $1.6 million from the hotel bank account.
Initially, the hotel project and the partnership with Matthews and Brannan was seen as a good thing and the City Council approved a loan to the hotel as it was seen as a way to revitalize Downtown Peoria. however, things quickly went south and taxpayers were left on the hook for about $7 million.
In 2019, the two sued City Hall, alleging it was them not the city or taxpayers who was harmed by the hotel’s problems. That suit has since been dismissed.
Both men will next appear in court over the summer for a pretrial conference. set for July 18. Until then, they both remain free on bond.
If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.