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[16 Aug 2013 | No Comment | ]

(W)hile a state senator in 2003, Obama did recommend to now incarcerated Gov. Blagojevich—Obama’s go-between was none other than the also incarcerated Tony Rezko—that Blago appoint Whitaker to the job as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The Department of Public Health under Whitaker, Sweet adds, “also got caught up in scandal. He oversaw the budget of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which approves medical construction projects. Rezko and his associates controlled that board, which they used to solicit kickbacks and payoffs, according to testimony at Rezko’s trial. Rezko was …

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[7 Dec 2012 | One Comment | ]

Released from prison earlier this year after serving, non-consecutively, three years and two weeks, the 68-year-old Black is back in Canada living on a temporary resident permit. He spoke to me by telephone from Toronto. His feelings about Chicago seem raw and angry—he is barred from entering the U.S. until his legal issues are resolved—and he has harsh words for, among many others, his “persecutor,” former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, “a notorious headline-seeking zealot,” and for F. David Radler, Black’s former business partner, former Sun-Times publisher, fellow indictee-turned-government-star-witness—“almost a caricature of a …

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[7 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

I tracked all 14 aldermanic runoff races closely most of the day and late into the evening on Tuesday. Sound boring? Not for me—not with a new mayor coming in and the possibility, slim as it might be, that aldermen under Mayor Emanuel may morph into something more lively than potted plants. Here, some lessons and thoughts I had along the way:

A return to the limelight, sort of, for Burris
In the 6th Ward, which includes Chatham and Englewood, the expectation was that 13-year incumbent Freddrenna Lyle would easily survive …

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[14 Dec 2010 | One Comment | ]

Rahm Emanuel took the stand this morning in a hearing to determine whether he meets the residency requirements to run for mayor, given that he has been living in D.C. for the last two years. The hearings, held at the Loop offices of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, have been something of a spectacle, with crowds of objectors swarming the tiny basement conference room, shouting “indict Rahm”—or worse.

Presiding over the three-ring circus has been hearing officer Joseph Morris, a 59-year-old lawyer and conservative activist donning a bow tie.
Read more …

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[15 Sep 2010 | 2 Comments | ]

A friend called to tell me that Democrats are secretly supporting conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady because they predict he’ll be a one-termer. So they’ll grit their teeth for four years and then run a Democrat (who is not Pat Quinn) who can keep the office for multiple terms.
Turns out my friend was half right. There are Democrats working for Brady; but they are working for Brady because, they say, he’s just what’s needed by the state of Illinois, which is teetering on fiscal insolvency. He’s a proven businessman, …

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[16 Apr 2010 | 2 Comments | ]

Toni Preckwinkle, almost certainly the next President of the Cook County Board, is backing Democrat Joseph Berrios—lobbyist, head of the County Democratic Party, toady of House Speaker and state Democratic Party chief Mike Madigan—for assessor.

When I read of Preckwinkle’s preference for Berrios over reformer Forrest Claypool (in Stella Foster’s Sun-Times column), I was surprised. Silly me.
Read more from Carol Felsenthal in Chicago Magazine

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[15 Apr 2010 | 3 Comments | ]

Joel Pollak, 32, (graduate of Niles North, Harvard College, Harvard Law School), wants Jan Schakowsky’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Having secured the GOP nomination after running unopposed in the February primary, Pollak now boasts that an endorsement from Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard professor and Obama supporter, is in the bag. A formal nod will come later this spring, he promises, when Dershowitz, for whom Pollak worked as a research assistant, travels to Chicago for a press conference. (Dershowitz had not responded by post time to attempts to …

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[11 Mar 2010 | No Comment | ]

After the Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Mike Sneed reported a cute item last week that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was at the White House and had taken home to her daughters “two boxes of presidential M&M candy,” I wondered if Obama aides Rahm Emanuel and/or David Alexrod had attempted to persuade Madigan that she should replace Alexi Giannoulias, the deeply flawed Democratic candidate for Barack Obama’s Senate seat–assuming that they could somehow elbow Alexi out for the good of his basketball buddy Obama and the party.

Read more at the Huffington …

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[3 Feb 2010 | No Comment | ]

So the nominee is Giannoulias, who comes equipped with a spotty record — under his watch, parents who put money into a college savings account lost as much as half of it — and ties to a family bank currently in meltdown and in the headlines. Last week government regulators ordered Broadway Bank, founded by Giannoulias’s father, now run by his brother, to accept federal oversight, to raise millions in capital and to stop making payments to family members without federal approval. When Giannoulias was the bank’s chief loan officer, …

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[18 Dec 2009 | No Comment | ]

Retired Senate President Emil Jones — Obama’s mentor — “is mounting a formidable effort to re-elect embattled Cook County Board President Todd Stroger” by gathering “business powerhouses from the black community to generate a business-based final push for the candidacy of Stroger, who needs a concerted turnout in the black community.”
There was no link in her story, unfortunately, to Carol Marin and Don Moseley’s excellent investigative piece, also in today’s Sun-Times:
A consulting firm headed by former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr.’s stepson John Sterling has been paid more than …