STUMP » Articles » The Undeniable Corruption of Chicago and Illinois: part 3 - Who Sent You? » 2 February 2019, 04:35

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

The Undeniable Corruption of Chicago and Illinois: part 3 - Who Sent You?  

by

2 February 2019, 04:35

This is a very old story:

One of the stories that is told about my start in politics is that on the way home from law school one night in 1948, I stopped by the ward headquarters in the ward where I lived. There was a street-front, and the name Timothy O’Sullivan, Ward Committeeman, was painted on the front window. I walked in and I said “I’d like to volunteer to work for Stevenson and Douglas.” This quintessential Chicago ward committeeman took the cigar out of his mouth and glared at me and said, “Who sent you?” I said, “Nobody sent me.” He put the cigar back in his mouth and he said, “We don’t want nobody that nobody sent.” This was the beginning of my political career in Chicago.

That story was told by Abner Mikva, who had served in the Illinois House, U.S. Congress, and then was a federal judge (that makes me feel soooo warm inside.)

While other cities may have moved on from ward politics (New York City is particularly frothy in its politics, as rich people can definitely buy their way in — cf Bloomberg), Chicago is firmly entrenched.

When you’ve got a long-time player like Ed Burke being pulled down… you find he has connections to all the major politicians.

OMERTA IN THE WINDY CITY

The City Council’s omerta problem

“Where I come from, if you wore a wire, someone’s gonna kick your ass.”

That’s not a line from “Goodfellas.” It’s 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea speaking to veteran Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman on Jan. 23 as Chicago aldermen absorbed the blockbuster news that one of their longtime colleagues, Daniel Solis, 25th, powerful chairman of the Zoning Committee, had spent two years wearing a wire and recording dozens of conversations that helped federal investigators build a corruption case against his close ally, former Finance Committee chieftain Edward Burke, 14th.

….
In short, far too many aldermen seemed more outraged that Solis wore a wire than they were over the illegal activities allegedly taking place on their watch.

For the record, it should be noted that Burke adamantly denies the allegations of attempted extortion that led to his removal from the Finance Committee chairmanship. He maintains that nothing Solis may have taped will make any difference in the end. He’s concentrating instead, he says, on his re-election race, which he expects to win. Solis, meanwhile, has not been charged with wrongdoing—at least not the kind that could get him in trouble with authorities. But it’s obvious many of his City Council colleagues view his actions as wrongdoing indeed.

….
This entire saga underscores the need to give full auditing and investigatory powers to City Hall’s inspector general, who still to this day is walled off from full oversight of certain City Council business. It also renews our belief that the City Council’s tradition of aldermanic privilege has outlived whatever usefulness it may once have had. As we argued as recently as Jan. 11, allowing aldermen unquestioned say-so over matters even as minor as signage changes and drive-thru configurations in their wards has created a balkanized set of 50 tightly ruled fiefdoms. Within each, the alderman operates as a mini-mayor, a practice ripe for abuses of the sort alleged against Burke.

Ya think?

BURKE: LORD OF HIS DOMAIN

The problem with these fiefdoms is that each ruling “lord” of the fief can do as Burke did — point out all the goodies he’s brought folks, sometimes directly:

[January 3] — The dramatic federal raids of his government offices didn’t come up as Ald. Edward Burke strolled through a Garfield Ridge banquet hall recently handing out bags stuffed with swag to seniors enjoying a holiday luncheon.

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Wearing his signature pinstripe suit, the alderman talked up the goodies in the “Ald. Edward Burke” gift bags, which included a book of photos of Chicago, a garment bag and hand sanitizer. After a priest gave a blessing in Polish and the alderman took his leave, diners in the crowd stood up for Burke and dismissed the federal cloud.
…..
Still, he’s survived federal interest before, and said at the senior luncheon that “of course” he was running for a 13th full term after the high-profile raids of his offices. A City Council and 14th Ward without Burke are difficult to imagine.

He was elected alderman in 1969, and first became chairman of the powerful City Council Finance Committee in 1983. In the decades since, Burke has consolidated a huge amount of control within the committee, handling the workers’ compensation program and Police Department settlements, along with just about any other high-profile proposals that impact the city’s bottom line.
…..
And it was not unusual for Burke to lock down proposed ordinances in his Finance Committee, deciding how and when to bring forth for hearings those he favors while leaving others to sit there.

While several long-tenured aldermen remain on the City Council, it’s not clear who will step into Burke’s shoes if this is his last term.
…..
He maintained a lucrative outside business of filing property tax appeals for Chicago’s wealthy that often conflicted with his City Council duties, forcing him to file a long financial disclosure list each year including firms from which his law firm earned money. The alderman often abstained from committee and council votes because his firm represented businesses that could be affected by the outcome — even after presiding over committee hearings at which the issues were discussed.

Burke’s family has controlled the 14th Ward since 1965. As a young police officer, Burke won election as Democratic committeeman there in July 1968 after his father, Ald. Joseph P. Burke, died of lung cancer while in office. The following year, Burke won election as alderman and has since held the seat, accruing strength through the decades as mayors and other members of the council came and went.
…..
After running unopposed in 10 out of his last 11 elections for alderman and never receiving less than 70 percent of the vote, Burke is facing four challengers this time. Three of them are young Hispanics with ties to U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who has targeted Burke for defeat. On Wednesday, Garcia backed civil engineer Tanya Patino and pledged his organization’s support to her candidacy to become the ward’s first Latina alderman.

…..
Political friends and foes alike could be sensing Burke’s weakness. Though his fundraiser drew a huge crowd, allies have in recent weeks been backing away from him. Mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle and Susana Mendoza announced they would get rid of donations Burke had made to their political funds in the past.

Mmmhmmm.

Let me relieve this litany of grubby hands in everybody’s pockets, handing the taxpayers’ funds around (in addition to whatever payoffs came from private companies), by allowing a little ray of sunshine in.

AN OPTIMIST’S TAKE

The following is not my opinion, but Joe Cahill’s: The end of the Chicago Way

Doing business in a city where politicians routinely demand a piece of the action has never been cheap. Yet many firms flourish here, thanks in no small part to some seemingly immutable features of the local landscape, most notably a business-friendly mayor and heavyweight political insiders offering clout for hire.

Suddenly those pillars are wobbling. Business interests have become a bogeyman in a wide-open mayor’s race among 13 candidates vying to out-populist each other. Even the hopeful with strongest ties to business preaches such heresies as a commuter tax. For the first time in decades, Chicago may elect a mayor who owes little or nothing to business backers.

As businesses ponder a potential loss of influence on City Hall’s fifth floor, federal prosecutors are taking a sledgehammer to another cornerstone of clout-based commerce. Alderman Edward Burke, dean of City Council, has been charged with extorting a restaurant owner for legal work and campaign donations. Burke denies the charges. The feds have even recorded powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, long considered untouchable, talking business with a real estate developer referred to him by longtime city council zoning czar Danny Solis. Madigan denies wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with any.

[Yet.]

Previous cases took down relatively small players: mid-level aldermen with their hands out and judges fixing cases for surprisingly slight amounts.

None of these efforts hit the biggest players or the deepest pools of money. Outright payoffs tend to be less lucrative than fees for legitimate services such as Burke’s property tax work. It’s easy to downplay clumsily overt quid pro quos. Even the downfall of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was written off as the predictable fate of an amateurish boodler.

Boodler: “One, especially a politician, who seeks or receives boodle; a political grafter.”

Huh, I learned something.

For the first time, prosecutors are puncturing that veneer to strike at the top of the food chain. A conviction of Burke and anyone else at his level would send two strong signals: Nobody is immune to prosecution, and business-as-usual won’t fly anymore in Chicago.

I’m skeptical.

But federal prosecutors have injected a new risk into the business case. There’s danger in doing business with a cloutmeister who might be under investigation. Your conversations might be recorded. Say the wrong thing and you might wind up doing the perp walk.

Legitimate business people recoil from that kind of risk. Firms are already starting to disengage from purveyors of political favor. Sterling Bay, developer of splashy Chicago offices for Google and McDonald’s and of the proposed $6 billion Lincoln Yards project, has dumped Klafter & Burke as its property tax firm. Ditto Related Midwest, which is working on the massive “78” development along the Chicago River.

Now, I excerpted chunks from Cahill’s piece… this is definitely a sunny take in which the old corrupt boys are shoveled out.

But there’s loads of money to be made, with so much power concentrated in one body, especially when people sit on that body for decades, as Burke did. Maybe new ones will come in, but perhaps those new ones will be a bit more careful.

SOLIS IS NO SAINT

We already know Burke is under indictment, but what about Danny Solis, the man-with-the-wire?

Citing a 120-page federal search warrant affidavit, the Sun-Times on Tuesday reported that Solis was investigated for soliciting campaign donations from a politically connected family that owns a major street-sweeping company and was seeking help on changing the city’s system for water billing to save money.

The FBI was listening in on numerous wiretapped conversations between Solis and a lobbyist for the company, who agreed to provide Viagra pills as well as sexual interludes at massage parlors, the Sun-Times quoted the affidavit as saying.

The affidavit also laid out an alleged scheme involving a developer who in 2015 provided Solis with “free weekend use of a 180-acre Indiana farm” to hold a graduation party for Solis’ son, the Sun-Times reported. The same developer later benefited by Solis participating in city approval of real estate projects and proposing a city ordinance “favorable” to his business interests, the newspaper reported.

The affidavit depicted Solis as being in dire financial straits during the time he was being recorded. One call intercepted by the FBI came from a debt collector about an overdue $12,000 debt. Solis allegedly told the collector he was “out of a job” and couldn’t pay, according to the Sun-Times.

According to city records, Solis makes an annual salary of $118,550. But since 2004, the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization campaign fund — of which he is the chairman — has issued him checks several times each year, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records. In total, the fund has paid him more than $333,000, for both “services rendered” and “contractual” work, the records show. Separately, over the years, the fund also loaned him money, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. Records indicate he’s paid back all but $1,500 of the loans.

There’s more in that piece, but interestingly, not all of that 120-page affadavit was released. Mark Glennon at Wirepoints asks: Among Many Huge Questions About The Solis Affidavit, Why Not Release The Whole Thing?

It appears to contain more hard evidence of political corruption than Illinois has seen in a generation. It’s a single affidavit, 120-pages long, signed in 2016 by an FBI special agent, and it’s the basis of all the bombshell news this week.

But only the Chicago Sun-Times has it. It’s not public record and we don’t know all that’s in it. Why not?

“Bombshell” isn’t an overstatement. “Viagra, sex acts, use of a luxury farm” by a Chicago alderman, but that was just the start. Because the primary subject, Chicago Alderman Danny Solis, was wired and tens of thousands of his communications overheard, a cloud hangs over other top politicians, starting with House Speaker Michael Madigan and already-indicted Alderman Ed Burke. Most importantly, they include certain mayoral candidates who, like Solis, are part of the Chicago’s Machine.

….
First among those questions is why the Sun-Times hasn’t released the whole thing. Shouldn’t we be able to see it? Early voting started Tuesday for Chicago’s mayoral and aldermanic elections, and few things are more pertinent than the affidavit. What else is in it?

Maybe they spilled on the dishiest of the details (can they top “viagra, sex acts, use of a luxury farm”?) and the rest is boring, but the public surely would like to see it. It’s nothing to post a PDF or whatever for anybody to read. Other publications do it all the time.

Further questions arise when you consider who might have leaked the affidavit and why. With the affidavit being three-years old and the underlying investigation five-years old, it would be understandable if some Feds are asking whether the public should know at least some of what they’ve found. Maybe one of them leaked it for that reason. That’s a tough situation for a prosecutor to be in, not unlike the release of information about the investigation over Hillary Clinton’s emails just before the presidential election, which caused a firestorm of controversy.

But maybe the three-year old affidavit is outdated and the Feds have since found exculpatory evidence that would remove the cloud from some of Solis’s associates. In other words, did somebody with an agenda selectively leak only the incriminating material the Feds have? Maybe somebody with access to the affidavit is friendly towards a mayoral candidate who is not part of the Machine, hoping to dirty up candidates who are part of the Machine — Toni Preckwinkle, Susanna Mendoza, Bill Daley and Gary Chico.

Aren’t most of the top mayoral candidates part of the Machine? I’m not sure this one will wash.

A couple more Solis stories:

I want you to remember Brian Hynes, because I’m coming back to him for part 4 of this series.

The above is not exhaustive, but I’m sure more details will be coming out, especially since the Sun-Times has been dribbling out details (perhaps to gain more eyeballs).

Do Chicago voters actually care about corruption? As long as “their guys” bring home the goodies, they seem to be going along. Chicagoans and Illinoisians have voted and re-voted for people they knew were iffy… because they were happy with the results.

MIKE MADIGAN IN DEPOSITION

Or the elections were completely rigged — consider that there’s a current civil lawsuit against Mike Madigan, claiming Madigan filled ballots with phony candidates to prevent any challenges to himself:

Attorneys for a vanquished opponent have placed the powerful Southwest Side Democrat and his operatives under oath in recent months as part of a civil lawsuit alleging one of Chicago politics’ oldest and most effective tricks: putting sham candidates on the ballot to siphon away votes from a more formidable foe.

The Tribune obtained never-before-seen depositions in the case that establish ties between Madigan’s organization and two other candidates in a 2016 Illinois House contest. But the depositions also show the speaker and his aides proved adept at providing short, clipped answers that do little to reveal motive or method.

….
The suit was filed by Jason Gonzales, who unsuccessfully ran against Madigan in the March 2016 primary election in a bid that was bankrolled by allies of then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, the speaker’s political nemesis.

Gonzales contends that the speaker’s team stacked the ballot with phony candidates with Latino-sounding last names to confuse voters and undermine his legitimate bid for office. He argues that violates federal civil rights voting protections, and he’s seeking as much as $2 million in damages.

….
On Monday, a college student sued Madigan, Ald. Marty Quinn and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, alleging an overly aggressive attempt to knock the challenger off the ballot until the alderman pulled back after receiving negative publicity. And last year, the speaker publicly parted ways with several longtime trusted associates amid a series of #MeToo allegations and an accusation of bullying.
…..
For Barboza and Rodriguez to end up on the ballot, they had to collect enough valid signatures from district voters and get that paperwork to the Illinois State Board of Elections in Springfield.

It was another top Madigan political operative — lobbyist Shaw Decremer, a former Madigan staffer — who drove the petitions Downstate for Barboza, Rodriguez and other candidates. Last February, Madigan parted ways with Decremer following allegations that he bullied a Democratic lawmaker and staff while working on a 2016 campaign.

During his deposition, Decremer acknowledged he took the nominating petitions for both candidates to Springfield.

“Why would you be bringing Grasiela Rodriguez’s petitions who is an opponent of Michael Madigan to file for her?” Peraica asked Decremer.

“Because someone asked me to,” Decremer said.

“Who?” Peraica asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t recall,” Decremer said.

A lot can happen in three years.

I mean, when one has so many political favors one does all the time, one can forget actually who asked for what.

via GIPHY

(haha, just kidding. It totally matters that one knows who did political favors for whom. ALL these people have excellent memories of who owes what.)

WHO’S THE DIRTIEST OF THEM ALL?

It seems to me, it’s not really a competition. Of course, all the old-time Chicago pols will know each other. They’re all Democrats, and even those who are Republicans are not necessarily clean (don’t I know it from the Albany way of doing things.)

I will start with excerpts from some, and then just link a bunch of recent stories.

Who was closer to Daniel Solis—Bill Daley or Susana Mendoza?

In the big bed that is Chicago establishment politics, just about everyone who’s running for mayor has dealings of one kind or another with powerful aldermen-turned-pariahs Edward Burke, 14th, and Daniel Solis, 25th. Some of those relationships are strictly casual. Others are much, much more serious.

Which leads to the latest development of consequence in the race for mayor: efforts by candidate Susana Mendoza to wrap a notable trio—Solis, legendary mayoral political operative Victor Reyes and the vaunted Hispanic Democratic Organization that helped establish Solis as a major political figure here—firmly around rival Bill Daley’s neck, getting the corruption monkey off of her back.
…..
But Mendoza’s problem is that she’s charging the wrong Daley. Much of what happened did so primarily at the behest of Richard M. Daley and generally occurred decades ago under debatable circumstances. Mendoza is the one who, just a week ago, had to return $141,000 contributed to her by Solis and groups tied to his family. Ergo the put-down from Daley spokesman Peter Cunningham: Mendoza’s ties to Solis are “much more intense and more recent” than Daley’s.
….
Back in the early days of Richard M. Daley’s tenure, his political team figured out it needed a stronger base in the city’s fast-growing Latino community. So it started courting an up-and-coming community leader, Solis, whose United Neighborhood Organization was providing a nice counterweight to other Latino groups that had been allied with the late Mayor Harold Washington. Mayor Daley appointed Solis to the board of the Chicago Housing Authority and later to that of the Regional Transportation Authority.

Perhaps as part of that courtship, Bill Daley, then serving on the board of Fannie Mae, the big federal housing-loan agency, recommended in 1993 that UNO get a $100,000 grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation, according to press reports at the time. Solis also was named to a Fannie Mae advisory board. Both actions occurred within a couple of years of when Bill Daley was part of a group with Reyes that proposed forming HDO, which served as Mayor Daley’s campaign army in Latino wards, Solis told newspaper interviewers.

In 1996, Mayor Daley appointed Solis 25th Ward alderman, and he was on his way. Solis quickly became known as one of the then mayor’s top Latino allies, rising to become president pro tem of the City Council and, eventually, chairman of the Zoning Committee, one of the true power posts in the city government. Meanwhile, Reyes emerged as one of Mayor Daley’s top political operatives, later becoming a prominent lobbyist and public affairs consultant. He has maintained relations with the family, with Reyes in 2017 hiring as an associate at his lobbying firm John R. Daley, a nephew of Bill and Richard M. Daley and son of County Commissioner John Daley. Bill Daley also hosted a meeting between Solis and then President Barack Obama in his White House office when Daley was presidential chief of staff.

Daley declines to be interviewed on any of this, with spokesman Cunningham describing these events as “ancient history.”

That reminds me of comments from the Clintons (both Bill & Hillary). And there definitely is a whiff of “What have you done for me lately?” in Chicago politics, so Bill Daley has a point.

Let’s do a round-up:

This is far from exhaustive.

OLD COVERAGE OF BURKE

The thing is, when you’ve got politicians who have been hanging around power for longer than I’ve been alive (and I’m middle-aged, and have teenagers), there is all sorts of stuff in one’s history.

I found a series on Ed Burke at Breitbart, back in April 2010. This is definitely interesting. This three-part series was by a James Peterson (such a generic name, and I can’t seem to get any info on him), but he’s mainly stitching together news stories from other people — just like I do. His slant was mainly to show Obama’s ties to Chicago’s dirty politics… but that is really old news, isn’t it?

Part 1: Alderman Edward Burke: Top Machine Boss of Obama’s Chicago

In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley gets the spotlight while Alderman Edward Burke runs the show. Burke is Chicago’s longest serving Alderman, first elected in 1969. He chairs the City’s Finance Committee. He also chairs the Judicial Slating Committee for the Cook County Democrat Party. Since there are no Republican judges at the circuit level, Burke is de facto head of the Judicial Branch of Chicago’s government. Burke was an early Obama supporter.

Burke’s campaign chest is impressive. In 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Burke “has more money in his four campaign funds than the combined total of all 49 other Chicago aldermen, more even than Mayor Daley’s $2.9 million.”
….
In 2001, the Daily Herald reported that Burke was an early backer of Rod Blagojevich’s run for Illinois Governor. Illinois’ current Governor, Pat Quinn, recently received a chunk-of-change from Burke for his re-election campaign. In February, the Sun-Times reported that Quinn took “$310,000 in loans and contributions from Burke and from campaign funds Burke controls.”

Burke’s brother, Daniel, serves in the Illinois General Assembly. Recently, he was mentioned in a joint Chicago Sun-Times / Better Government Association (BGA) investigation concerning political influence and lobbying. BGA Executive Director Andy Shaw summarized the investigation:

“Illinois may be the only state in the country where the brother of Chicago’s most powerful alderman can collect a city pension and a state legislative salary–while he lobbies his brother (and others) on behalf of businesses that want help from the city and will happily contribute to politicians, including Burke’s brother, to get that help. “
….
Another Burke relative holds a position of statewide judicial power. Burke’s wife, Anne, sits on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Burke rose to the top of Machine politics while associating with Chicago mobsters.

In February 10, 1985, a Chicago Tribune article entitled “Jailed First Ward ‘Fixer’ Worked in Shadows,” reported how Chicago mobster Victor Albanese wound up on the city payroll. The paper claimed that Burke did a favor for Democratic Committeeman John D’Arco, Jr. by hiring Albanese as a “ghost employee” – remember that term for later.

Heck, remember it for now. Some people say that many of the Committee of Finance employees Burke had were ghost employees.

Part 2 of the series talks about fixed murder trials, someone claiming Burke ran book back in the 1980s, and other mobster-related stuff. (sounds much juicier than what we’ve got going now… maybe people got a bit more cautious as they got older… or all those older stories are so much bullshit. Who knows? A bunch of dead people, and a few live ones.)

Part 3 continues the story and I want to excerpt this piece:

Ed Burke is now in charge of slating the Democrat Party judges for elections in Cook County.

Burke also has familial influence in the remapping of ward boundaries. On February 17, 1997, in an article entitled “Role In Two Suits Raises Ethics Issues,” Chicago Sun-Times reporters Adrienne Drell and Charles Nicodemus pointed out Burke’s ties to the law firm of Jenner and Block.

“Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), whose decisions on hiring lawyers in the City Council ward remap case have funneled $7.5 million in city fees to the prominent Jenner and Block law firm, holds co-counsel status with that firm in two recent lawsuits, court records show. Burke’s links with the firm do not appear to violate any laws or regulations…

“Managing partner Jerold Solovy – who is the lead attorney in the remap case – was treasurer of the unopposed 1996 campaign for Illinois Appellate Court justice of Anne Burke, the alderman’s wife. And prominent [Jenner and Block] partner John Simon served as her campaign chairman. The firm provided $14,414.15 in services and money to the campaign.

“The firm hired Burke’s daughter Jennifer A. Burke in June, 1995, shortly after she graduated 173rd in a class of 385 from Chicago Kent College of Law. In making new hires, the firm usually draws top students from the nation’s leading law schools. Two weeks ago, Burke, whose name has been linked to the federal investigation of ghost payrolling at City Hall, hired Jenner and Block partner and former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to represent him in that inquiry.”

And the return of ghost employees:

Document No. 101317 of the Illinois Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, dated May 18, 2006, told the story of Burke’s ghost employee, Joseph Anthony Martinez-Fraticelli. He was a newly minted attorney hired by Burke to a succession of city jobs for which he performed no work at all. That eventually led to him losing his license to practice law. Burke, who hired him, was never held accountable. Martinez cleaned up his act, paid restitution, and was reinstated to the bar by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Oh, and do you remember Tony Rezko?

Alderman Burke’s power is such that he can ignore the rules in the City Council. For example, Barack Obama’s friend, neighbor and financial supporter, “Tony” Rezko, knew to go to Burke for results. In October 2007 the Chicago Sun-Times asked,

“Why did Ald. Edward M. Burke vote to approve Tony Rezko’s plans to develop the South Loop’s biggest piece of vacant land even as he [through his law firm] was working for Rezko on that same deal?

“Burke says: I forgot to abstain.”
….
So let’s see if we have this straight: Burke forgot to invoke a rule against himself based on a clear conflict of interest between his role as a voting alderman on a project while also providing legal services to a bidder. The project involved $140,000,000 in city money.

That reminds me of a Steve Martin routine.

But my point isn’t so much that Burke has an iffy past (hey, maybe it’s just that Chicago color), but that there’s no way anybody could have gotten very far in Chicago politics without knowing Madigan, Solis, and Burke… not to mention the Daleys. They all know each other.

Nobody got anywhere in Chicago politics without being sent.

Now, perhaps Joe Cahill is correct. Perhaps the specific old fogeys who have been hanging around for 50+ years are going to get the heave-ho, even if the only way for it to happen is they all go to federal prison (it seems to have cleared out the governorships nicely).

Perhaps there will be cleaner elections run (I’ll believe it when I see it), and perhaps it will all collapse under its own weight anyway, what with Chicago indebtedness. I always thought Daley (not Bill, but his brother Richard, who had been mayor) was a bit daft to hang around Chicago after his time was up, but perhaps I didn’t see how much money was still there to be milked.

As long as there’s no oversight to huge $$ projects in the city, even if you pry free the old folks, it will still be a draw for the corrupt.

So perhaps the federal investigation may help bring in the oversight that Chicago needs, but the FBI is in very low reputation right now, no matter your politics. I assume that Burke will be re-elected to his aldermanic chair, I assume he will vigorously fight any criminal trial and may legitimately get off; I assume Mike Madigan will continue to hang on until mortality finally gets him; and I assume the Daleys will always be with Chicago, until Chicago collapses under its own financial failure.

Nobody ever accused me of being an optimist.

Next, I’m moving a bit away from Chicago and going to look at Illinois, and the unpaid vendors (remember Brian Hynes?) program. That’s something I noticed years ago, though I didn’t know the who at the time. I knew the what.


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