JUNE 09, 2006
A cozy little city in Illinois that claims to take pride in everything it does isn’t too proud of its longtime mayor who was arrested this week – on his 78th birthday – for taking bribes.
Federal authorities had for years investigated the mayor of Niles, a city North of Chicago with a population of about 30,000, for taking bribes in exchange for pressuring businesses to buy insurance policies they really didn’t need. The mayor, Nicholas Blase, has held his position for 45 years and was arrested as he left his house.
Authorities claim that Blase threatened to withhold liquor and business licenses from restaurant owners unless they bought insurance from an agency owned by his late friend, a man named Ralph Weiner. Apparently, the mayor got some hefty kickbacks from the costly policies.
Blase is extremely popular and well-known for fighting crime and driving the mob out of Niles. Of course, he denies any wrongdoing and refuses to resign. However, investigators have traced more than $281,000 that went to Blase from the insurance agency from 1997 to 2003. The mayor used some of the money to pay the salary of an employee at his law firm, Nicholas B. Blase, Ltd., in Niles. That employee is a cooperating witness in the case and has provided evidence of special treatment for insurance customers and the mayor’s special intervention when one business failed a fire inspection.
While the story has received quite a bit of media attention in Illinois and other parts of the country, Gateway Pundit points out that, not one media account, mentioned that the mayor is a Democrat. This includes the biggies like the Associated Press, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. Could this be just another example of “mainstream media” bias?
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