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the story and more
Michael Segal was born and raised in the neighborhood of West Rogers Park in Chicago. The son of a fur salon owner, he attended Loyola University of Chicago, went on to Depaul University Law School, and began his career working full-time as a certified public accountant.
After several years of providing outside financial services to a small brokerage, Near North Insurance, he was invited to join the firm as a business manager. Later, he became a partner at the agency, and eventually assumed full ownership.
Under his leadership, Near North Insurance grew from a small, storefront office into the fifth largest independent insurance brokerage in the United States. The business reported annual sales in excess of one billion dollars, supported more than 950 employees in eight U.S. cities, operated an office in London, and counted numerous Fortune 500 companies as clients.
Michael never lost sight of his modest beginnings, and he worked to ensure that Near North Insurance act as a positive force in the Chicagoland community. In addition to providing coverage to hospitals, airports, and a dozen or so major sports organizations, Near North Insurance was a proud supporter of numerous local charities.
Yet at the height of his success, Michael became embroiled in an intense legal saga. A group of former Near North employees, set on a hostile takeover, looked to oust Michael by accusing him of fraud. A series of courtroom battles ensued, and the ordeal intensified as overzealous prosecutors attempted to exploit Michael's professional and political ties, and coerce him into falsely identifying his friends and business associates as criminals.
Incensed, Michael marshaled his considerable resources, and sought to clear his name in front of a jury. Yet his tenacity turned him into a target, and he found himself at the nexus of a Kafka-esque web of corporate espionage, cyber-crimes, unlawful surveillance, and wild prosecutorial conduct. He was accused of a growing number of bizarre and byzantine "crimes," and after a number of protracted contests, he exhausted his resoivors, and eventually served time at Oxford Camp in Wisconsin.
Upon returning to Chicago, Michael was welcomed home by friends and family, and was able to re-establish his life. He recovered assets, pursued new business opportunities, and soon launched a new title and escrow agency. After a time, he resolved to share his story, and embarked on a second career as a legal advocate and author.
Today, he is committed to drawing attention to the fissures that sometimes linger just below the surface of the justice system. He focuses on to issues relating to our system of checks and balances, government accountability, and fair practices in business and insurance.
Working alongside Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Maurice Possley, who is noted for his work investigating wrongful convictions, Michael has authored an account of his case, Conviction at any Cost, which is due for release in winter 2018. He hopes his cautionary tale highlights the need for judicial reform, and proves instructive for aspiring business leaders, legal professionals, and law makers.
When he is not working, Michael can usually be found in the company of old friends, or more often, with his grandchildren.
Get to know Michael
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