FEBRUARY 22, 2007
The upcoming municipal elections in one big city famous for its widespread corruption features a mayor under federal investigation, four politicians who served jail time for fraud and a sitting councilwoman charged with bribery.
Some simply shrug it off as typical Chicago politics because the city has long been the target of federal investigators, who have indicted dozens of crooked politicians in a massive corruption ring that has sent countless bribed city officialss to jail.
At the top of next week’s ballot will be Mayor Richard Daley, a powerful Democrat who is running for reelection even though many in his adminstration are in jail and he is currently the target of a federal corruption probe. The scandals include fraud, violating a court order against using politics as a basis for hiring city workers, taking bribes for city business contracts and the disappearance of 840 truckloads of asphalt intended for city jobs.
Incredibly enough, Chicago’s major newspaper endorses Daley to a sixth term because, corruption aside, he has performed uniquely well. The endorsement actually says that, were it not for the scandals that have made FBI agents the real clout crowd at City Hall, Daley’s reelection wouldn’t trigger much discussion in Chicago.
The four convicted city officials who want to return to city politics served prison time for taking bribes. Three of them – Ambrosio Medrano, Virgil Jones and Percy Giles – ran a 1990s scheme called Operation Shovel and the fourth, Wallace Davis, was convicted of taking bribes and extortion in a separate 1980s case.
Also on the ballot will be an incumbent councilwoman from the South Side, Arenda Troutman, who was arrested earlier this month and federally charged with taking a $5,000 bribe and agreeing to an additional $10,000 to help a bogus developer move forward on a building project.
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