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A longtime municipal attorney is alleged to have stolen at least $1 million - and perhaps as much as $3 million - from the village of Calumet Park, where he grew up, according to prosecutors and others familiar with the matter.

Mark J. McCombs, of Chicago, worked for nine years as the village's special counsel for development and is accused of a fraudulent billing scheme meant to bolster his position at the Chicago law firm where he worked until Friday.

Village records show McCombs billed the village for tens of thousands of dollars each month for work that apparently never was done. He helped himself to property tax revenue that flowed into accounts of Calumet Park's tax increment financing districts.

"The billing was a joke. He didn't do any work," said Burt Odelson, the village attorney.

Cook County prosecutors Friday charged McCombs, 50, of the 1300 block of Flournoy Street, with one felony count of theft of government funds in excess of $100,000. McCombs, who faces six to 30 years in prison if convicted, pleaded innocent. Bail was set at $25,000.

McCombs was an attorney and shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm that employs nearly 1,800 attorneys and has offices in the United States, Asia and Europe. He's accused of billing the village at least $1 million for work he never performed, but a village official pegged the number at closer to $3 million.

McCombs wired the cash to his law firm in a scheme designed to boost his reputation as a moneymaker and to give him greater visibility and a higher pay rate at the firm, Assistant State's Attorney John Mahoney said in court.

Greenberg Traurig fired McCombs on Friday afternoon after learning of the charges and had no previous knowledge of his alleged misdeeds, according to Jill Perry, managing director of the firm.


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