"The culture of corruption runs throughout Chicago's history, one hand washing the other," said Hoffman in an interview last week. "It's not about serving the public. But it is all about maintaining and controlling power." * * * The presumptive front-runner is Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a well-funded friend of President Barack Obama. But Hoffman perceives weakness there. He's going after Giannoulias' tenure as an official in the Giannoulias family Broadway Bank, and the bank's dealings with convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. Rezko is scheduled to testify at former Gov. Dead Meat's corruption trial in June, before the general election. Rezko bounced a series of six-figure checks at Broadway Bank that he made out to casinos. The bank has come under fire for loans to convicted bookies and others. The national Republican Party will focus on these if Giannoulias wins the primary, Hoffman argues. "If I or you bounced a four-figure check or a five-figure check, as Tony Rezko did, my guess is our banks would say we are not interested in your business," Hoffman said. "I've been saying it, and I'm going to continue to say it. It's fair to scrutinize the record. I'm happy to have my record scrutinized. Everyone should."
The dead body of Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott has been found in the Chicago River after his family reported him missing last night as reported by WGN: "A blue Cadillac registered to Scott, 60, was found parked next to a trash bin yards away from the river." Susan Carlson from CBS 2 reports that Scott was "subpoenaed last summer by a federal grand jury investigating how students are chosen for admission to elite public schools" to determine "whether some students were being 'clouted' in."
A preliminary investigation indicates Michael Scott . . . apparently shot himself in the head along the banks of the Chicago River early this morning, sources say. * * * He apparently fell forward after shooting himself, and the gun was found near the body, the sources say. While police sources say it appears the gunshot wound was self-inflicted, the Cook County medical examiner's office was still conducting its investigation and hadn't determined how he died.
No time wasted in getting out the suicide narrative.
A key member of Mayor Richard M. Daley's Olympic committee, Scott earlier this year "was scrutinized over Olympics-related real estate dealings" as reported by Steve Bryant for NBC.
Obama's tired cliches, Michelle's facile tugs on the heart strings, Daley's political machine and Oprah's smug ernestness weren't enough, and in the first round of voting the International Olympics Committee rejected Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics in its corruption-infested and murder-littered city as reported by Kenneth P. Vogel for Politico:
In addition to being the first president to personally lobby the IOC, Obama established the first-ever White House Olympics office (tapping senior White House advisor and longtime confidant Valerie Jarrett to head it) and recorded several videos seeking support from IOC subcommittees. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama, who had spent two days in Copenhagen lobbying IOC members and also made a formal plea to the committee Friday morning, were aboard Air Force en route from Copenhagen to Andrews Air Force Base when the IOC delivered the news, and the White House did not immediately issue a statement on the loss.
Chicago’s dismal showing today, after Mr Obama’s personal, impassioned last-minute pitch, is a stunning humiliation for this President. It cannot be emphasised enough how this will feed the perception that on the world stage he looks good — but carries no heft. * * * Mr Obama was greeted — as usual — like a rock star by the IOC delegates in Copenhagen — then humiliated by them. Perception is reality. A narrow defeat for Chicago would have been acceptable — but the sheer scale of the defeat was a bombshell, and is a major blow for Mr Obama at a time when questions are being asked about his style of governance.
Last week Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley belittled federal law enforcement for investigating corrupt city cops and other local officals: "if someone takes $100, it could be a Chicago policeman or anybody else, the feds are right there knocking on your door." Daley contends that the feds instead should focus more of their resources on targeting drug dealers and street gangs. The mayor does not understand that the dirty cops he apparently wants to protect invariably are on the take from the drug dealers, and perhaps that's one reason why street gangs proliferate in Chicago. Indeed, "[f]ederal prosecutors are . . . expected to soon bring a major indictment against a disbanded special police unit whose members were accused of kidnapping and robbing people with impunity."
In any event, Mayor Daley's contention that the feds are not targeting street gangs and drug dealers simply is wrong as a matter of fact:
Federal authorities work hand in hand with Chicago police and other organizations to identify top gang targets and organize conspiracy cases that can take down large wings of a gang's leadership in a single swoop. In recent years, federal authorities have made major cases against the Spanish Cobras, Gangster Disciples and Mickey Cobras street gangs, arresting scores of members. And twice recently they have used informants to burrow into the structure of the powerful Latin Kings gang to arrest that organization's second in command. The office has used federal gun laws in numerous prosecutions, and last summer announced that $2 million in federal funds had been secured for the anti-gang work of local Chicago groups.
The fundamental question Mayor Daley should be asking is why his administration is unable or unwilling to purge the city of crime. Curiously, Daley also does not think the feds should prosecute people who commit perjury. However, "when asked if he thought the federal case against his longtime patronage chief Robert Sorich and two other former aides represents a good use of law enforcement power and resources," Daley dodged the question:
The three were convicted in 2006 of rigging the city hiring and promotions process in favor of campaign workers who showed loyalty to the mayor and his favorite political candidates. * * * The mayor quickly cut off a question about the patronage case, saying, "They can prosecute any case they want. It doesn't matter."
The investigation is sending shock waves through City Hall. That's because O'Hare and Midway are havens for ward-organization patronage workers and lucrative contracts that often have gone to Daley's friends and political supporters.
Mayor Richard Daley said today Chicago has compiled a wish list of "shovel-ready projects" to spend federal economic stimulus funds on should Congress approve a plan. Unlike hundreds of other cities, however, Daley said Chicago won't make its list public. "Yes, we do, we have our list, we've been talking to people. We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart," Daley said. "It's very controversial. Yes, we have ready projects from the Board of Education to the City Colleges to the Park District to the CTA and the city of Chicago. Oh yes. Us and New York decided not to do that. We thought we could go directly into the federal bureaucracies and the different departments," the mayor added. Later, Daley was asked why he wasn't being more transparent. "Read some of your newspapers. Heh heh," he replied.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, has been very busy in recent years. They convicted 385 public officials of crimes over the past decade, a per capita rate that puts it in the bottom third of big U.S. metros. The Northern District office boasts of recent successful prosecutions, including "a corrupt former governor of Illinois, Chicago officials who rigged city hiring, individuals who lied about their support of foreign terrorism, corporate executives who cheated public shareholders and traditional organized-crime bosses who were responsible for notorious murders." Illinois' record of public corruption, particularly in the governor's office, is staggering. Five of the past nine governors have been charged with crimes, and three, as of now, have served time in prison. Whether former Gov. Blagojevich will do any jail time is still to be determined.