FEBRUARY 05, 2009
The scandal-plagued mayor of a major city long targeted by federal investigators for corruption refuses to disclose a list of projects that will be funded with economic stimulus money when Congress approves the plan in the next few weeks.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he has compiled a wish list of “shovel-ready projects” to spend the federal funds but, unlike hundreds of other mayors nationwide, he won’t reveal the details. Daley told the local newspaper that Chicago’s list is secret because once it’s made public, the “media is going to be ripping it apart.”
When a reporter asked why he’s not more transparent, the six-term Democrat mayor snapped back: “Read some of your newspapers.”
Could he be referring to the media coverage of his notoriously corrupt administration, well known for its free-flowing clout and patronage? In fact, during municipal elections a few years ago, the Windy City had the dubious honor of having on its ballot a mayor under federal investigation, four politicians who served jail time for fraud and a sitting councilwoman charged with bribery.
Over the years dozens of Daley Administration officials have been indicted and many, including the mayor’s patronage chief, have been convicted of fraud, taking bribes and the disappearance of 840 truckloads of asphalt intended for public projects. Daley’s former deputy water commissioner also pleaded guilty to taking bribes and shaking down companies for political contributions.
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