Is Chicago really that corrupt? Yes
"Most aldermen, most politicians are hos," corrupt Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman said, rather famously, on federal tape.
She wasn't speaking about gardening tools, was she?
Troutman was talking about the politics of Chicago, which is, if you've forgotten, the political corruption capital of the United States.
Troutman represented the South Side's 20th Ward. At her 2009 sentencing, she squirted a few tears, sobbed, prayed, begged and then got four years in federal prison anyway.
And on Wednesday her replacement, Ald. Willie Cochran, a former Chicago police officer who campaigned as something of a corruption buster, was himself indicted on federal corruption charges.
His alleged crimes? That he looted a charity fund for seniors and shook down a developer for bribes and squeezed a liquor store owner while spending the money on gambling and a little on college tuition for his child.Today's fun fact: at the state level, two of the last four and four of the last eight Governors of Illinois were tried and convicted for corruption and did prison time.
Cochran was at the Chicago City Council meeting when the Tribune broke the news online, and before he left the room, Ald. Edward Burke, the white-haired dean of the council, whispered something in his ear.
I don't really want to know what Burke said, because I'd rather imagine him whispering something philosophical, like:
"Willie? Just remember that in politics, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests."
Or something simple: "Keep your mouth shut and don't rat on your friends."
Or perhaps punchy, as in, "See ya, Willie."
If Cochran is pronounced guilty, he would be the 30th alderman convicted of crimes related to his or her official duties since 1972....MORE
Also at the Tribune:
Chicago aldermen and corruption cases: Hall of shame