APRIL 12, 2007
Taxpayers in one big city known for its free-flowing clout and patronage will dish out at least $12 million to pay for the ongoing corruption of public officials.
Chicago’s city council unanimously agreed to allocate the millions to settle dozens of cases involving high-ranking officials who over the years rigged tests to hire politically connected candidates for most city jobs.
Dozens of public officials have been indicted in the past few years and about 20 have been convicted, including Mayor Richard Daley’s former patronage chief. The mayor’s former deputy water commissioner also pleaded guilty to taking bribes and shaking down companies for political contributions.
Other scandals at Chicago’s City Hall include fraud, accepting bribes for city business and building inspection approvals and the disappearance of 840 truckloads of asphalt intended for public jobs. Daley, who was recently elected to a record sixth term, denies any blame for the rampant corruption in his administration.
At least one city official took responsibility, saying that it was “subterfuge, disrespect, conniving and bending the system that got us here.” Unfortunately, it is the city’s law-abiding citizens who will end up paying for the fraudulent actions of those they elected to represent them.
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