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Press Release

Former Owner of Rooftop Building Across from Wrigley Field Convicted of Defrauding Chicago Cubs and Municipal Taxing Agencies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal jury today convicted the former owner of a rooftop building overlooking Wrigley Field of defrauding the Chicago Cubs and municipal taxing agencies by underreporting attendance figures and gross revenues.

After a nine-day trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, R. MARC HAMID, 47, of Lincolnwood, was convicted on four counts of mail fraud and five counts of illegally structuring financial transactions.   The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 6, 2016.

Hamid is a licensed Illinois attorney and an owner and operator of Right Field Rooftops LLC, which did business as Skybox on Sheffield, a rooftop entertainment venue located across the street from Wrigley Field’s right field wall.  Hamid also owned and operated Inc. and Just Great Seats LLC, companies that purchased and re-sold tickets to entertainment and sporting events.

Skybox on Sheffield and other rooftop venues surrounding Wrigley Field had an agreement with the Cubs that required, among other things, that each rooftop pay the Cubs a royalty of 17% of their gross annual revenues.  In addition, Cook County and the city of Chicago required the rooftops to pay an amusement tax on admission fees, and to report its amusement tax returns to the municipalities.  The state of Illinois also required Skybox on Sheffield to file sales tax returns and to pay the state a certain dollar amount per ticket sold.

Evidence at trial revealed that for the years 2008 through 2011, Hamid caused Skybox on Sheffield to submit false annual royalty statements to the Cubs that under-reported attendance figures by thousands of paid attendees, and under-reported gross revenues by at least $1.5 million.  At Hamid’s direction, sales from Skybox on Sheffield were diverted to the two ticket companies, thus concealing from the Cubs, Cook County and the city of Chicago Skybox on Sheffield’s true revenue.  Hamid’s accountant, JOSEPH GURDAK, further reduced the attendance and revenue figures reported to the Cubs.

Gurdak, 73, pleaded guilty prior to trial to one count of mail fraud and one count of willfully filing a false income tax return.  Gurdak faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison.  Gurdak’s sentencing hearing before Judge Durkin has not yet been scheduled.

Hamid’s conviction was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in Chicago; and Antonio Gómez, Postal Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas, Sean Driscoll and Katherine Welsh.

Updated July 22, 2016

Financial Fraud