Saturday, November 30, 2013

Could Beavers be political equivalent of ‘Goodfellas’ gangster Henry Hill?

My imagination is running amok about what this weekend will be like for one-time political person William Beavers – who has until Monday before he must report to a federal corrections institution unless he wants the label “fugitive” attached to his name.

BEAVERS: Counting down the days
Somehow, I just don’t see the man and his ego spending these final days of freedom in prayer and quiet solitude.

I DON’T KNOW if he’ll have the nerve to show up at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. – the place where he got into his legal trouble because he used money from his campaign contributions to gamble with.

The gambling isn’t what technically got him into trouble with the IRS. It was the fact that he didn’t report the contributions as income; which would have made it legal, but also would have required that he pay more in federal taxes.

But the idea of a weekend of gambling and some booze – a wild bash before climbing into the back of a limousine Monday morning and telling the chauffeur, “Now take me to jail” (a la actor Ray Liotta’s “Henry Hill” character in the film “Goodfellas”).

Be honest! It would be totally in character for the man whose stylish suits (“finely tailored” was the way he would describe his attire) were among his characteristics – along with an ability to verbally take on anybody about him with whom he did not agree. Although I'm not claiming to have any hard-fact as to what Beavers did with his final days of freedom.

BUT THE OVER-THE-TOP nature of this situation would be worthy of this entire case, where Beavers will get to spend the next few months in a minimum-security correctional center.

He’ll be free by Independence Day. In fact, he may well be free by Memorial Day. He can celebrate his freedom with a picnic somewhere that theoretically is meant to pay tribute to those who died while defending the concept of our nation’s continued existence.

The real-life Henry Hill
Attorneys for Beavers did try to persuade a federal appeals court to let the one-time Chicago Police officer, 7th Ward alderman and Cook County commissioner to remain free while the legal appeal of his criminal conviction is pending.

Those justices who heard the argument ruled this week against Beavers’ request, although they did agree to put Beavers’ appeal on an expedited schedule. There could be a ruling on the legal merits by sometime in February.

WHICH COULD MEAN Beavers could be free sometime around Valentine’s Day – if the court is at all sympathetic! If not, he’ll have to serve the entire six-month sentence, which would mean freedom sometime in the spring.

Six months isn’t the longest period of time. Although having to serve it in a prison facility, even one that is minimum-security, isn’t the most pleasant experiences one can have.

Particularly if/when his fellow inmates get word of the fact that he was a cop for just over two decades.

Liotta's 'schnook' take on Hill
For those people who are somehow convinced that Beavers is getting off lightly with such a sentence, I’d retort that he’ll still suffer. Particularly since I’m sure the man who turns 79 come Feb. 21 will wind up having the IRS on his case for the rest of his life – ensuring that the federal government gets its fair share of whatever future income he generates in the future.

THAT MAY WELL be the hardest part of the rest of Beavers’ life. He’s the flashy, outspoken guy who thrives on the public attention. Yet he’s not going to get any of that any more. He has become the political equivalent of gangster Hill.

For as Liotta’s “Hill” character described his post-organized crime life in "Goodfellas," “I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”


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