Friday, August 2, 2019

EXTRA: A Cullerton, but not THE Cullerton, gets indicted by the feds

I have no doubt that some people are wetting their pants with glee at the word that a Cullerton, one of the most prominent of political families in Chicago history, got busted by the feds.
CULLERTON -- The federally-indicted one

Sure enough, officials announced that state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, faces a criminal indictment on some 41 criminal counts. The kind of people who are eager to see a Chicago politico get busted because it fits into their own ideological hang-ups are the ones all excited.

THERE’S JUST ONE problem. The Cullerton who’s the big name these days is John, who serves as president of the Illinois Senate. He’s also the one who’s a direct descendant of the many Cullertons who have been prominent on the Chicago political scene – both within City Hall and Cook County government.

Tom is actually a distant cousin to John, and from a different branch of the Cullerton family tree.

Anybody who thinks they FINALLY nailed a Cullerton ought to relax This isn’t the major deal you might want to fantasize it is.

Just to give you a clue, Tom is actually a DuPage County resident, and once served as mayor of suburban Villa Park. Not exactly a City Hall denizen!

HE’S NOW A part of the DuPage legislative delegation – which is a fact I’m sure infuriates the long-time DuPage residents. The ones who remember back when DuPage County was the base of the Illinois Republican Party and when DuPage was one of the most Republican of counties that could be found anywhere in the United States.

Now, a Cullerton (which in Chicago political circles is a name almost as prominent as “Daley” itself) has a seat in DuPage. Which, I’m sure, is a prominent motivation for locals to want to tag Tom with some wrongdoing.

Mess him up, and maybe dump him do they can replace him with a good ol’ fashioned GOPer (the kind of Republican who reveres the memory of Abraham Lincoln and the days before the Party of Lincoln sold its soul out to the ego of Donald Trump).

I’m not saying that’s the only reason Tom Cullerton got himself indicted. But you can’t underestimate the significance of that element.
CULLERTON -- The prominent one

NOW WHAT ACTUALLY is Cullerton (Tom, not John, although I don’t doubt there are those who will openly encourage any confusion about who’s who within the Cullerton clan) to have done wrong.

It seems from March 2013 to February 2016, Cullerton received a salary as a Teamsters union official, along with bonuses, and allowances to cover the cost of his cellphones and automobiles. He also received health insurance and pension benefits for his “work” with the labor union.

Which prosecutors contend was minimal. He didn’t really do work for the union – although he took their money (more than $252,000). Which has prosecutors insisting it’s criminal, and worthy of embezzlement charges.

It seems the fact that Cullerton took a pass on health insurance benefits he was entitled to as a state legislator (accepting the union’s health plan instead) was not enough to keep him in the clear legally.

HE’S NOW GOING to have to face criminal charges, and likely will be added to the “hit” parade of politicos who got themselves busted. The political prominence of his moniker will add to the impact.
What would feds do for Daley descendant?

Although it should be noted that Cullerton’s indictment came just days after the guilty plea of Teamsters boss John Coli, who supposedly demanded payoffs from a film studio. In exchange for legal considerations, it seems Coli is now talking about union business – including his ties to Tom Cullerton, whom he allegedly set up with the no-work job to begin with.

Could Cullerton be the fish Coli tosses up to prosecutors who figure they get a bigger case if they can bust a “Cullerton,” even if it’s not one of the really big-name Cullertons whose own activities may be even worse?

It makes me wonder how much the federal prosecutorial types would give if they could build up a case against someone with the “Daley” name – no matter how small-fry the actual individual is?


No comments: