Friday, March 22, 2013

Beavers jury got a free lunch out of it

Let’s be honest. Now-guilty Cook County Commissioner William Beavers is 100 percent accurate when he says all the gambling he did at area casinos isn’t a crime.
BEAVERS: Ray Charles?!?

“There’s no law against what I did. There’s no law against gambling with campaign funds,” Beavers told reporter-types at the Dirksen Building right after a jury spent as little time as possible in reaching a “guilty” verdict against him on the various counts of tax evasion that he faced.

SERIOUSLY, THAT JURY was fed lunch and didn’t start deliberating until about 1:30 p.m., with a verdict coming in plenty of time for the evening newscasts.

But back to Beavers, who is true enough in what he said.

But the law does require that political people who convert their campaign cash into personal use acknowledge it as income, which means letting the Internal Revenue Service have a share of the proceeds as well.

That is the offense for which Beavers was found guilty, and likely will have to serve a bit of prison time. Although at age 78, it can be argued that any prison sentence has the potential to be a life sentence.

NOT THAT I think many people care about that fact these days. Because the prosecutorial tactic was to dirty Beavers up to the point where a jury would want to put him away, and would use whatever charge it was presented with in order to do so.

Hence, we get the image of a guy who is a degenerate gambler. Although his defense attorneys on Thursday tried presenting the image of a guy with a gambling problem.

As though he ought to be sent to sessions of Gamblers Anonymous, rather than some time at the Oxford Correctional Center in Wisconsin, or whichever facility in the Bureau of Prisons system they wind up deciding to use to incarcerate the one-time cop and alderman-turned-county commissioner from the city’s Southeast Side and surrounding suburbs.

If it reads like I’m not convinced that Bill Beavers is anything resembling Public Enemy Number One, you’d be correct.

PERSONALLY, I FIND much about casino gambling to be absurd, and I don’t get the appeal of playing games of chance that strike me as being nothing more than tossing one’s money into the equivalent of a trash can for someone else to empty out and get rich off of.

But it seems Beavers was a regular at the Horseshoe Casino just over the state line in Hammond, Ind. Because he was a regular who lost a lot of money (all regulars invariably do), he got the VIP treatment that entitled him to the free meals and tickets to entertainment – all so that he’d go back to the slot machines and lose even more money.

Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Beavers lost $477,000 playing slot machines during a three-year period.

Excuse me for thinking that the real “crime” against society is being perpetrated by the casino operators who can sucker someone into their facilities to be able to lose that much money.

I’D HATE TO see what happens to the people who don’t have a campaign fund to tap into who let their losses get above their means.

Not that I’m implying that we all should get a campaign fund for such use. Beavers is guilty of a bookkeeping offense. For that, his political reputation is besmirched permanently.
Although at his age, I can’t help but have the same feeling I had when one-time 10th Ward Alderman Edward R. Vrdolyak faced the possibility of prison – his political accomplishments were in the past. What more did anyone seriously expect him to do?
A political vacancy, if you live in the grey blotch

Beavers will move on, and soon we’ll have to go through the process of replacing him on the Cook County Board.

NOT THAT I have a clue who’s going to get the post. But it has me wondering if it could somehow be a consolation prize for some of the Democratic Party losers of the special primary election for a replacement for Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Beavers’ district is entirely within the Congressional district. Yet another vacancy for a political aspirant in need of a post.


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