Some See Liz Gorman’s Woes Good News for Cook GOP
Two days after the wreckage of Alan Keyes’ 2004 senate candidacy Michael Sneed posed a question in her Sun-Times column, asking, “Is a new Republican Party in Illinois looming?”
Republican fundraiser Thomas Grusecki told Sneed at the time, “the unfunny joke is over. It’s time to rebuild, but without (Keyes). We need fresh blood and new leadership and to get this back to a two-party system.”
Unfortunately, well over three years later, the answer to Sneed’s question is still “no.” New leadership, yes. Rebuilding, no. And certainly no two-party system. That may finally be changing. Under party rules Republican county chairman Liz Gorman must convene the 50 Chicago ward committeemen and 30 suburban township committeemen by March 5 to elect a county chairman.
Though only 80 people will cast ballots, a political contest to be held within days will have a major
effect on Cook County politics, for better or for worse.
When it’s over, the local Republican party will either
be in the hands of someone dedicated to building an effective political organization, or someone like Gorman, who’s shown a disturbing propensity to merely turn that power over to the Democrats. Tony Peraica is actively seeking support from Republican township and ward committeemen. Gorman has repeatedly and caustically called Peraica a divisive figure, someone who doesn’t play well with others.”
But Peraicia has just as consistently argued that he’ll work to be a unifying figure within the county GOP political apparatus and has labeled Gorman as someone who is far too willing to, so to speak, play well with Democrats.
Now Gorman is all but out of the picture in the wake of a devastating federal appellate court ruling Thursday. She and her husband, failed auto dealership
operator Gerald Gorman, were slapped down hard by Federal Judge Frank H. Easterbrook in a particularly harsh and humiliating ruling.
Calling the Gormans’ claim of racial discrimination on
the part of Daimler-Chrysler “dubious,” the court acerated the couple for their “chicanery” in the specious lawsuit. The ruling let stand a lower sanction that dismissed the Gorman’s original lawsuit due to their misconduct. They must now pay Daimler-Chrysler over $4 million. That’s in addition to nearly $2 million in state court judgments against Gerald Gorman.
The Gormans have to be equally chilled by the chances of a criminal indictment cast by Easterbrook’s use of the term “perjury” in relation to his blunt assessment that Gerald Gorman lied to a federal judge in a court filing.
“Plaintiffs have behaved like a pack of weasels and can’t expect any part of their tale be believed,”
Easterbrook nearly spat in conclusion.
While Liz Gorman wasn’t specifically the focus of
Easterbrook’s judicial ire, she is formally a defendant in the case. She’s told the media she and her husband are “considering their options,” none of which, I’d think, look very good.
Nor is Liz Gorman the victim of her husband’s failings. Consider that Gormans’ political organization, the Gorman Good Government Group, has been seen by many as the beneficiary of $375,000 in loans from either Gerald Gorman or his businesses, Dodge of Midlothian and Sales, within the first six months of 2002. That hefty capital infusion came as Gorman was gearing up for her first run at the 17th district Cook County commissioner seat. It also came as Gerald Gorman was trying desperately to keep his business afloat.
According to State Board of Elections records, the Gorman Good Government Group, of which Liz Gorman was chairman until last June, still owes around $275,000 to Gerald Gorman’s defunct business.
Also keep in mind that Liz Gorman parlayed her supposed business expertise with that hefty infusion
of cash from her husband’s business to also grab the GOP chairmanship, and even mention as a possible Republican US Senate
candidate in 2004.
The sad reality is that there are far too few genuine Republicans politically active in Cook County. The resulting void has allowed pretenders to step in and advance their own specious self-serving agendas.
With her own future looking dim, the word is that Gorman’s now looking for a surrogate to run for her seat to allow her maintain some chance of control or influence.
I’ve said before that, as an open minded Democrat, I want a real two party system in Cook County, one that works to keep both sides honest and on their toes. If
ever there was an opportunity for serious and principled operatives to take over in the Cook County
GOP, this is it. Whether the GOP establishment has the will and stomach to rid itself of pretenders, and take to task the weaker individuals within its ranks too meek to confront such conflicts of interest, is a question soon to be answered.
Some have been mentioned for high GOP leadership like Forest Park Mayor Tony Calderone whose party pedigree includes service as the Republican Organization of Proviso township’s treasurer. Yet Calderone lent his name to a September, 2002 program as a member of the “Mayoral Host Committee” for a pricey fund raiser at the Melrose Park Civic Center for then gubernatorial Democratic Rod Blagojevich. In
2004 Calderone endorsed Democrat Gery Chico, for Senate, and recently endorsed Democrat Larry Suffredin for state’s attorney.
That despite there being an
announced and qualified Republican candidate.
Another Republican, Broadview Mayor Henry Vicenik, has had his Republican credentials question for reportedly giving Democratic State Rep. and Township Democratic committeewoman Karen Yarbrough free rent on a village owned office building the past several years.
Before local Republicans can even dream of holding elected Democrats accountable for their actions, a
true GOP leader must first step forward and hold accountable within their party those who are
supposedly representing the party’s interests. Only
then can Republicans and Democrats finally start having productive honest disagreements, instead of
intentionally neutered dishonest agreements.
Federal judges have fiercely condemned the business practices of local GOP leaders. The question now is whether the majority of local GOP party officials can do the same.