Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicago politics gets new conspiracy

Why, oh why, do I suspect that the death of Christopher Kelly will never be resolved to the satisfaction of the people whose determination in life is to see Rod Blagojevich get attacked in prison?

Because the way this particular police investigation has stumbled out of the block makes me think that there will be plenty of questions for people to dispute whatever findings are eventually reached.

KELLY IS THE one-time political fundraiser who, in the course of federal investigators looking for dirt on Blagojevich, got caught in some irregularities of tax law. He received a prison term earlier this summer of just over three years, was facing more criminal charges and was expected to have to start serving his time soon.

But now, his corpse has been picked over by the Cook County medical examiner’s office, which on Sunday could not come up with a definitive cause of death. More tests will have to be done.

There is circumstantial evidence to indicate this may be a suicide. If so, then it could be sad that Kelly (who was only 51) decided that death was preferable to having to do time in a federal prison. That isn’t an unheard of choice, and I’m sure it will happen many times in the future.

Of course, those future people likely won’t have a connection to someone with the notoriety of Blagojevich. So they won’t have every move of the resulting investigation coming under incredible scrutiny.

THAT SCRUTINY HAS already created comical images – such as the sight of a mayor holding up the driver’s license of a woman who reportedly was Kelly’s girlfriend (yes, he was married to someone else) as though he can somehow expose her to the public – a scarlet “A” and all.

What makes this one a little intriguing is that the girlfriend lives in suburban Country Club Hills. So this one doesn’t involve the Chicago Police Department. Richard M. Daley will be spared any ridicule for police ineptitude over this one.

We got to see Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch holding up the license, while also denouncing the woman because her reaction to learning that the police wanted to talk to her was to get an attorney.

Which is probably smart. Because since there is a chance she was with him in his final hours of life, she’s likely going to be asked specific questions. The slightest slipup could result in a criminal charge.

BUT AS WELCH – the man who previously was known for being the lone public official who thinks a riverboat casino in Country Club Hills would make sense despite the lack of a nearby river – described it, she is now, “lawyering up.”

How dare she try to look out for her rights! Of course, some “conspiracy theory” types find it suspicious that her attorney was once one of Blagojevich’s attorneys.

Now I’m sure police in Country Club Hills would like to wrap this up as quickly as possible. They’d rather go back to being the town whose name makes it sound more impressive than it really is.

Having this crime with its political implications lingering over the town could cause a smear on the public image – even though throughout the years Country Club Hills has had a population of people who never would be admitted to any real-life country club.

THIS ONE WILL linger in large part because there already is speculation bopping about the Internet that this was somehow NOT a suicide. This was a “murder” done for political cover to keep Kelly quiet and prevent other political people from being taken down by federal prosecutors.

Not that anybody has any evidence of such a view. In fact, I feel downright ridiculous for having typed out such an over-the-top sentence. But anything that gets the name “Blagojevich” tagged to it these days is going to bring out the over-the-top reactions in some people.

There are those who are quick to bash Blagojevich himself for releasing a public statement upon learning of Kelly’s death. The fact that the statement expressed condolence and sympathy to Kelly’s family doesn’t matter. How dare Blagojevich express concern for somebody else!

There also are those who want to denounce Kelly as some sort of coward for having the unmitigated gall to die before serving a prison term. That just strikes me as grotesque – and anybody who has the nerve to think such a thing is diminished as a human being in my eyes.

IN FACT, IT is more disgusting than the one offbeat tidbit that came from the Country Club Hills police about how they are handling this investigation.

It turns out that the girlfriend found Kelly at a local lumber yard where he had vomited – which is what caused her to take him to an area hospital from which he eventually was transferred to Stroger Hospital in Chicago, where he was pronounced dead Saturday morning.

Police investigators went to the lumberyard to see if they could get any samples of Kelly’s vomit so as to provide additional evidence of what he might have had in his system at the time he became ill.



EDITOR’S NOTES: I haven’t changed my mind significantly about the overall safety of society ( without Christopher Kelly.

The death of Kelly ( has become a part of “All the News that’s Fit to Print.” And on the local front, Dwight Welch ( gets his moment of attention.

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