Back in February, when federal charges were filed against former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), we wondered about the identity of “Person F,” a person who, according to court documents, wrote a check for $25,000 in April 2011 to pay down the balance on a credit card belonging to Jackson and his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson.
The mystery has been solved. Greg Calhoun, an Alabama businessman and longtime friend of the Jackson family, was identified as Person F by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.According to the Journal, before leaving Congress, Jackson had been working “on several fronts” to help Calhoun work out several lucrative business deals with for-profit education companies. In fact, just weeks before receiving the $25,000 check, Jackson and his office had helped set up a meeting involving Calhoun, executives of the for-profit Education Corporation of America, and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. At the time, Duncan was considering new regulations of the industry.
The Journal reported that no one close to the Duncan meeting has suggested a connection between the meeting and Calhoun’s check. But the newspaper also noted that law enforcement officials said they had been unaware of the meeting before the Journal came asking questions. Calhoun and Jackson had told officials that the check was a loan.
Calhoun owns an Alabama grocery store chain and has served as a diversity consultant for major companies, including Coca Cola and NASCAR. He also serves as a national board member of Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Rainbow Push Coaltion.
In early 2011, Calhoun also attended a meeting with executives of Education Corporation of America, which is owned by Willis Stein & Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. Jackson was present at that meeting as well, along with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Calhoun and ECA executives later proposed creating a “business exchange” clearinghouse where for-profit colleges could connect with minority-owned businesses who would provide goods and services.
At the April 2011 meeting with Duncan, Willis Stein Managing Partner Avy Stein told Duncan about the business exchange proposal, according to the Journal.
But Calhoun has since filed a lawsuit against the Education Corporation of America, Willis Stein, and others, claiming that they backed out of the deal.