Monday, June 1, 2015

Another blast from Chi political past; could ‘Fast Eddie’ return to prison?

It almost feels like the “G-men” of Chicago are engaging in Old Home Week lately.

VRDOLYAK: From before the feds paid him mind
First, we learn that former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert – one of the few Illinoisans to ever rise to that exulted position – was indicted on charges he violated federal laws concerning bank withdrawals; supposedly to come up with money to pay off someone else to keep quiet about long-ago wrongdoings.

NOW, WE’RE GETTING word that former 10th Ward Alderman and Cook County Democratic Chairman-who-turned-Republican Edward R. Vrdolyak is the subject of federal investigators.

As of now, Vrdolyak isn’t charged with anything.

But Daniel Soso, an attorney from suburban Alsip, is indicted on federal tax evasion charges. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday that the Soso indictment makes reference to an “Individual A” who may have been involved.

And the newspaper said it has sources contending that Vrdolyak is the aforementioned “Individual A” being referred to.

I PREVIOUSLY MADE reference to a similarity between Hastert and Vrdolyak in that both came to the attention of federal prosecutors long after their time on government payrolls was complete.

Vrdolyak already has served a 10-month prison term for charges contending that he arranged for a kickback in the sale price of a Gold Coast neighborhood building, in addition to any legal fees he would have been entitled to for his legal services.

MEDRANO: Not many pols get 2nd conviction
Is he now going to face the possibility of another prosecution? This one likely to produce a significant prison term? Is someone determined to see that Vrdolyak leaves this mortal realm of existence by being pronounced dead in a prison infirmary?

The newspaper says the latest case relates to the 1998 settlement of Illinois’ lawsuit against tobacco companies – a $9.1 billion payment, which means significant money.

PROSECUTORS ALLEGE THAT Vrdolyak, although not registered as one of the attorneys involved in the case, were paid a portion of the settlement; and did not comply with the regulations set by the state Attorney General’s office for receiving such payments.

HASTERT: Another pol facing not-relaxing retirement
So what should we think? Did Vrdolyak somehow get payments for work done under the table? Or for helping somebody to meet somebody else connected to the case?

We really don’t know what it is that Vrdolyak is purported to have done; other than that the “I” word is being flouted about – and that if he were to be prosecuted for something a second time, it would put “Fast Eddie” in a unique situation.

He and Abrosio Medrano, who also has separate convictions and wound up being returned to prison for a much lengthier sentence than his first stint of incarceration.

IS THAT GOING to become the Vrdolyak legacy? Or is he going to get the support of the East Side and other 10th Ward residents who once relied on him to be their voice at City Hall – and some of whom still think of him as the person who “saved” their neighborhood.

Of course, what he was saving them from was what was represented by the election of Harold Washington as mayor. Which is why I’m sure there are some people who are more than glad to see Vrdolyak suffer these legal predicaments.

What this case is all going to come down to is trying to figure out what exactly constitutes a legal fee? Why shouldn’t Vrdolyak have received some money if he truly did legal work? I’ve already seen some Facebook commentary implying that prosecutors should, “leave Eddie alone.”

It is interesting that Vrdolyak’s attorney told the Sun-Times that the case was so long ago (17 years) and that his client is now 77; some people will feel sympathy for “Fast Eddie.” But will more be eager to see him carted off to prison yet again?


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