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April 30, 2007

Tony Rezko hung out to dry-Daley Family Clam up

$2 mil. -- for what?
REZKO TIES | Subcontractor on county deal hasn't shown it's done any work
April 30, 2007
BY STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter/spatterson@suntimes.com
Four years after a company with ties to indicted political insider Tony Rezko landed a lucrative no-bid Cook County contract, there's no evidence the firm has done any work for the millions of dollars it has made.
Crucial Communications is a minority-owned subcontractor on AT&T's pact to provide phone services at the county jail. But a recent audit shows the company has not submitted any documents showing what it has done for the more than $2 million it has received, other than help AT&T meet its minority contracting requirement.
Crucial Communications has ties to political insider Tony Rezko (inset), who has been indicted in an alleged kickback scheme.
Crucial Communications is headed by Jabir Muhammad, son of former Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. In 2005, the City of Chicago accused Muhammad of serving as a minority front for Rezko on an O'Hare Airport contract.
Records also show Cook County government did not receive more than $1 million it was owed on that contract, which commissioners have called an insider deal from the start.
The findings by the county's own auditors have prompted County Board President Todd Stroger to shake up leadership, as "we're very troubled by it," chief of staff Lance Tyson said. "It's not going to be tolerated."
A spokesman said the county won't renew the contract when it expires in July.
In a letter to county officials, AT&T says a computer glitch and oversights caused the company to short Cook County $1.2 million it was due from phone fees received by AT&T. The phone company agreed to pay it after the discrepancy was uncovered.
But it disputes auditor's findings that it short-changed the county even more. Former county IT director Catherine Maras-O'Leary says the audit includes "glaring inaccuracies and innuendo."
She was fired just days after it was released.
AT&T concedes Crucial Communications hasn't provided any documentation showing what it does as a minority subcontractor on the contract.
Headed by a dead woman
But an AT&T spokesman says that's because the contract -- which was valued at $16 million when it was awarded -- doesn't require it and adds the firm "is meeting the obligation of the contract."
The contract requires a minority-owned company to get at least 35 percent of the work.
Crucial Communications was created just before the contract was awarded. It had no other phone experience, has no other clients and has just a handful of employees -- some politically connected.
When the contract was awarded, Commissioner Mike Quigley called it "incestuous as hell."
Rezko, indicted for allegedly demanding kickbacks on state contracts, shares office space with the firm, is close to Muhammad and has a brother on the firm's payroll. Rezko denies he has anything to do with Crucial Communications, even though he is part owner of a separate firm in the same office, Crucial Inc., which provided the startup money for Crucial Communications.
For almost a year, Crucial Communications was nominally headed by a dead woman, and John Stroger's personal assistant notarized documents confirming her continued involvement.
A person who answered the phone at Crucial Communications twice replied "who?" when asked for Muhammad. When Crucial was mentioned, she referred the call to a Cook County government number.
A message left at that county number was not returned.
An attorney for Muhammad, who has been seriously ill for years, also did not return a call.

Chicago Tribune weighs in on TIFs

My goodness, the TIF districts are out of control in Chicago and now suburban mayor's are smoking this politicial crackpipe. Please read this from the Chicago Tribune: EDITORIAL
Another form of TIF abuse
Published April 30, 2007
The great thing about tax increment financing, we often hear, is that money generated in those magical new taxing districts stays in the districts, promoting development close to home. But some Chicago aldermen have been chagrined recently to learn that it's perfectly legal for the city to move money from one TIF district to another, as long as the districts touch each other.

It's called "porting," and it's explained in a 49-page primer on TIFs being circulated by Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley. The report -- produced by Quigley's staff and reviewed by urban policy experts at DePaul University, Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago -- spells out the impact of the city's ever-expanding TIF empire. It provides real numbers to back up Quigley's assertion that Chicago's TIFs are siphoning money from other local governments -- and driving up property tax bills.
TIFs are a moneymaking machine for the city. Once a district is established, the property taxes collected by the local governments that overlap the district -- the county, forest preserve, schools, parks -- are frozen for 23 years. New taxes generated by rising property values are reinvested to promote development within the TIF. The other local governments see no increase until the TIF expires, at which time they share in the increased tax revenues generated by higher property values. The idea is to promote development in economically distressed areas.

TIFs are just the thing to rescue seemingly hopeless pockets of neighborhood blight, and that accounts for their popularity among Chicago's aldermen. But some of those aldermen are having second thoughts, and porting is why.

Like the TIF districts themselves, porting isn't inherently parasitic. But the City of Chicago's creative application of the law creates a ripe environment for abuse. By papering Chicago with TIFs, even in areas that are not blighted, the city has gained unfettered control over hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes. TIFs now cover one third of the city.

"In order to allow for more flexible use of TIF money, the city has gerrymandered TIFs in such a way that all but a handful now border at least one other TIF, suggesting that the borders are being drawn expressly to allow one TIF to take money from another," the report says.

Some aldermen are learning that the hard way. Until now, they've been happy to rubber-stamp one another's TIF proposals, quid pro quo. But that was before money started leaking from one district to another. Though it's no secret that Daley plans to finance his $1 billion Modern Schools Across Chicago project largely through TIF revenues, aldermen didn't realize that could mean moving tens of millions of dollars from their wards to build schools elsewhere. Ald. Gene Schulter (47th), no big fan of TIFs in the first place, supported one in his ward after holding a series of public meetings to discuss how his constituents would like to spend the new money -- only to learn that Daley is counting on $50 million of that money for schools outside the 47th. That's not just porting, it's raiding.

Although it doesn't go so far as to recommend a ban on porting, Quigley's report concludes there should be limits on how much can be ported, and how far.

Quigley has been a lonely voice for TIF reform -- the Cook County Board is unconscionably uninterested in reclaiming hundreds of millions it is losing to the Chicago TIFs -- so the grumbling in the wards is a welcome sign. When aldermen realize the money grown at home isn't staying at home, they might do something about it.
From Chicago Tribune Today: Correction Ben Joravsky has been beating this drum for a long time. Chicago Newspapers must look into TIFs and expose them. Patrick McDonough

Have you said your prayers lately?

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At the end of the day, many Chicago Department of Water Management employees say a prayer of thanks to our Lord God Jesus Christ. Do you pray every day for those sinners that never seem to learn to play by the rules? I admire people that pray every day, you should also. This is a photo of Holy Mary I took this weekend in Indiana when picking up my boat, Deep Water. I hope you enjoy this award winning photo by the best photographer in Chicago, Patrick McDonough

April 28, 2007

Thanks Chicago Sun-Times TIFs Need Reform!!

Study shows TIFs are ripe for reform

April 24, 2007
In recent years, local governments, especially Chicago's, have relied on tax increment financing districts as if they're a magical and painless solution to their economic development needs. But now a new report from Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley exposes some of the myths behind TIF districts and recommends some worthwhile reforms. His report should not be ignored.
When a TIF is created, the city determines the value of all property within its boundaries in the first year. For all taxing bodies, that base is used for the next 23 years to determine their share of the property tax pie, which essentially means their property-tax take is frozen for more than two decades. But property taxes are not frozen -- they increase as the value of property in the district increases. The extra taxes generated by the rise in property value go into a pot that the city uses for development.

One of the myths of TIFs is that those taxing bodies are not losing money, because property values would not have increased if the TIF hadn't spurred development. But as Quigley's study found by comparing areas within a TIF with those outside a TIF, "there is evidence that a significant portion of the growth taking place inside the TIF districts would have happened even without the TIF, which means that the property tax revenues of local taxing bodies do in fact suffer." Taxpayers suffer too, because dollars diverted to TIFs are dollars that must be collected elsewhere.

Quigley proposes several reforms. First, he wants the state's TIF laws be changed so that the base year is adjusted for inflation annually, to help taxing bodies keep up with natural increases in their costs. He also proposes requiring an analysis of the effects on taxing bodies before any TIF is created; requiring TIFs to have detailed budgets tying every dollar to a spending goal; requiring TIFs to better account for surplus amounts each year, and requiring all taxing bodies affected by a TIF to have a say on a joint review board that oversees them. He also wants the county's representative on the review board to vote as directed by the County Board. And he would replace Chicago's TIF oversight board, which he says is too much of a rubber stamp for the Daley administration, with neighborhood-level oversight.

Those and other proposed reforms -- such as making information about TIFs more easily accessible, particularly on tax bills -- should not be seen as anti-TIF. Instead, they are ideas that would improve oversight, temper some of the negative effects of TIF districts and make the process far more transparent.

Many people have been beating this drum long enough, Thanks Ben Joravsky. Patrick McDonough

Little Village Discount Mall Sign in Chicago

Little Village Discount Mall.jpg
When you need false identification make sure you go to the 3100 block of West 26th Street in Chicago. Things will slow down for a while, but rest assured, Mayor Daley will keep looking the other way. In Chicago we call that, "Business as Usual". As long as someone close to the top is getting a piece of the action, everyone in power will look the other way. We need to control the amount of people entering this country. We need to enforce the laws, and we need to make sure all immigrants will have a safe workplace and fair pay. In this neighborhood, I see many people that are injured and crippled, they need to be cared for. I get sick when society allows the injured no recourse, when downtown the wealthy feast like royalty. Chicago needs to get on the straight and arrow, No Justice, No Olympics. Photo by Patrick McDonough

Feds Raid Chicago's Little Village April 24, 2007

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In the parking lot of the Little Village Discount Mall, a massive fraud was in full swing. For cash you could obtain any form of identification necessary to get work in Chicago. During the raid many more people were arrested for not being American citizens. Many Hispanics in the ward were very upset and staged protests. My problem is why Mayor Daley allows this to go on and never enforces laws to protect Chicago citizens. Alderman Munoz's father has a photo business in the thick of the mall. Are you going to tell me the Munoz family did not know what was going on? Everyone knew the process, meet in the parking lot, than find a vendor with the right price for false IDs and then enter Foto-Munoz for the picture. Alderman Munoz and Luis Gutierrez should come clean and explain their knowledge of these illegal businesses. I am not saying Munoz's dad did anything illegal, but if he says he knew nothing, I will have a hard time believing that. Late last week, I went back to the Mall and found two vendors selling false IDs in the parking lot. Should Mayor Daley enforce America's laws, or look the other way like Los Angeles? Photo by Patrick McDonough

Alderman Munoz's Ward Office

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When the Feds raided the Little Village Discount Mall Tuesday April 24, 2007 in Chicago, Alderman Munoz's father was in the thick of it all. I work in this neighborhood everyday. Photo by Patrick McDonough

April 27, 2007

Chicago Water Management Safety Update

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Yesterday, I was faced with another questionable situation, this tree was within the 5 foot limit set by the Chicago Department of Water Management. Let me explain, Chicago Department of Management said not to dig a ditch unless a tree was removed so the tree could not fall injure or kill a worker or a Chicago Citizen if a wind storm blew the tree over. All trees within the 5 foot limit must be reported to the Forestry Division for review. I reminded my boss of the rule and called my supervisor and nothing was ever done. Maybe if a worker or two is killed, the rule will be enforced. Another million or two settlement will not make a difference to a widow and children. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

Watch Out Chicago Union Workers Lose Rights

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Chicago has opened their electric bills and the rate hike is nothing more than an outrage. The rates are higher month after month. The politicians are lying time after time after time. Well the front line workers are the suckers at ComEd. Please enjoy this picture of a camera and a microphone that watches every move a low ranking worker makes. The spy equipment is not on high ranking workers that visit massage parlors in the 11th ward during the workday. If a low ranking ComEd worker forgets to put on the seat belts loses a days pay, has a sip of coffee while driving, loses a days pay, smokes a cigarette, loses a days pay. Hitler would be proud of Management working in lockstep with with the great big rate hikes. I hate the rate hikes but I do not want workers treated like communist citizens or Burge detainees. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

April 26, 2007

Mayor Daley keeps Chicago Inspector General's Budget Nickels and Dimes

I am sad to report Mayor Daley will short change the Inspector General's budget, I would personally double the budget and train the Inspectors on how to detect white collar criminal activity. The Chicago Inspector General needs to know how the contracts are handed out to friends and buddies of the Mayor. Inspectors must be allowed to inspect Alderman. The Chicago Inspectors waste too much time on low level investigations and need training to pull the big fish that scam millions from the Chicago Taxpayers. Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman needs the money to make this a first class operation, or the I.G. will be back catching low level employees taking pennies. We need the real Chicago Clout Players in Chicago behind bars. If they refuse to give you enough money to run a class operation David Hoffman, take a high ranking Judicial position. Patrick McDonough

The True American Heroes in Iraq Ziegel and Prince Harry

In Chicago's Sun Times, Monday April 23, 2007 edition, I looked at a photo of Former Marine Sgt. Ty Ziegel and his new wife. Ty Ziegel was still accepted by his longtime fiancee Renee Kline. The photo showed a marine that is physically and possibly mentally scared from the Iraq War. Ty will have to live with the effects of a suicide bomber attack, thank God he lived through this ordeal. Please see photo here: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=view&id=875&Itemid=146&bandwidth=high] I was also proud to hear Prince Harry of England will represent his country with honor in Iraq. Prince Patrick Daley, son of Mayor Richard M. Daley will serve safety in the United States Homeland. Patrick Daley better watch out when he golfs with the Generals and enjoys High Tea with the Military Elite on Sunday afternoons. Give Mayor Daley credit, he made sure Patrick Daley will return from duty no worse for wear. I pray to God on my knees everyday for all the real heroes that serve on the front line. Tea and Crumpets Beauregard? Patrick McDonough.

Last on Des Plaines's Burkross/Becker/Journal

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Thank you for your hard "Independent work" for Des Plaines Taxpayers. Helping the campaign that wants TIF's as a standard business plan. Burkross, what side are you on? Why did you go to Patti's Meet and Greet? Why did you threaten people with lawsuits? Why did you make threats to ruin Patti's chances, with witnesses. Throw this fake out of town. Photo by Patrick McDonough's Inspector General.

April 24, 2007

Remember your Election Laws Des Plaines

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While out on assignment in Des Plaines, Illinois, I had to remind the current Alderman Tom Becker to stay away from the 100 foot line. Election Laws must be enforced to keep things equal for everyone. Also, the suburb had no Hispanic speaking interpreters at the polls. I provided Spanish speaking interpreters at every polling place, there was some resentment by some white candidates. Becker is a realtor and wants to stay on Des Plaines city boards that deal with airport issues. I think that will be good for his business after retirement. Look, what the heck is that man parking his car inside the 100 foot line? The Election Judge booted him out of the area. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

April 21, 2007

Chicago Police Ticket a Hispanic Ice Cream Salesman

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Last Friday, at 48th and Kedvale, Chicago Police gave a ticket to a young hispanic man that is selling Ice Cream. Mayor Daley is raising money off the backs of those who can least afford a major ticket. Well someone needs to pay for the Olympics right? That ticket to that poor man sure will "Stir the Soul" as his family struggles to put table scraps on a plate tonight. Do not get the wrong idea, I love my Chicago Police, they are just following orders. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

Des Plaines Committeeman screams at poll workers

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If you know who this is, let me know. She said she is an assistant committeeman. As we voiced our support for our choices in the April 17, election, she yelled at us and threatened us. She drove a car back and forth and was on the phone. Thank God we know the election law. If you know her please tell her we were exercising our constitutional rights. Quite complaining, this is still America. Photo by Patrick MCDonough.

North District Trailers are Stinky Again

Chicago's North District Water Management Employees are subject to rats and smells that are inhuman. In these rental trailers workers are getting sick. The Chicago Department of Health had visited before and did the best they could. They removed lots of dead rats and put sanitising solution. Please return again soon. Photo by "Deep River" my assistant investigator. Patrick McDonough.

What they will not print in the Des Plaines Journal/Burkross News.

Please enjoy the following pictures. I am having some difficulty with my editing and photo cropping so the quality is not up to par. On Election day in Des Plaines, a group of my friends decided to give the City of Des Plaines an outing party exposing the players that hide behind walls. I decided to pay Mr. Catalano's home polling place a visit as this Becker backed candidate needed to be finished off. I thought Becker would have been smarter to play into our hands but he was not. In the morning, the States Attorney and the State Police were called. Panic set in because the election judges never saw a group of hard core political operatives. This was my gift for the dirty political papers and false accusations made by both male candidates. I cannot stand cowards that give hand-outs with phony organization names. The States Attorney and the States Police backed everyone past the 100 foot line which gave us control of the polling place. Becker violated the restrictions multiple times as did Catalano's assistant which was in the picture. In every case including the harassment of Elections Judges was shut down by us. The Election Judges also were advised of illegal tactics by the other side. One lady in-front of an old couple voting was making complaints with the judges phone about Patti's signs. Des Plaines police were sent to sit and watch the entire event which caused Catalano to lose. Becker and Brian Burkross, a political gadfly and windbag worked together planting Catalano's signs. So the "political reformer" and big mouth Brian Burkross was helping the candidate that was opposite sides of his "Stop TIF"s). All day Brian Burkross screamed he will put our pictures in the front page of the Des Plaines Journal, he made multiple threats, promising multiple lawsuits. He bragged about his company that makes "computers" and than said the company made "buckets". I think his company should make cheap pans and wooden spoons so he can attract more attention to himself and phony causes. The TIF campaign deal is over so now he want to become a political player. Brian should question the real estate deals, politicians with TIF real estate interests, Alderman gaming the system and conflicts of interest. Becker flipping on the Airport Expansion issues. Good luck to Mr. Walsten, I am looking forward to campaign promises fulfilled.

Des Plaines Orchard School Politics


April 20, 2007

Honest "Independents" in Des Plaines

I know you read the Des Plaines Journal/ Brian Burkross paper. Everyone wants to show how free they are from any connections and clout. Burkross hates the evil TIF master Alderman Becker, but works closely with him in this election to elect Becker's replacement. Patrick McDonough.

Marty Moylan Wins in Des Plaines

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I have had this picture for a while. I waited until after the election to publish. Marty will be an excellent Alderman in Des Plaines. Alderman Moylan, I like the sound of that. My kids have a habit of drinking some soda pop that stains every time before pictures, oh well. Photo by Patrick McDonough

April 18, 2007

Promise Made Promise Kept

I will be very happy to return to the studio to make videos of work conditions with Chicago City Workers. I will of-course hope our "Star" host Frank Avila will be available. To my many friends, I am sorry it has taken so long to get the ball rolling in the studio again, this campaign cycle exposed political cockroaches in every dark corner. ChicagoClout was on hand with 50 cans of RAID bug killer. I went through every can, but I hope you enjoy the Suburban and Chicago Political stories I will share. To all the future T.V. stars, including my firemen, sorry for the wait. Patrick McDonough

Progress Takes Time against Daley

Please read this article by a great Chicago Tribune writer. Many years ago people thought the effects of a few people were in vain. Please read this article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-070418citycouncil,1,6127289.story?coll=chi-news-hed Progress takes time because as I have years ago, a giant is asleep. Chicago Unions need to hustle in the right direction. They need to concentrate on the correct candidates and get out of bed with the wrong candidates. These victories must continue. Also many months ago, videos of the winning candidates were posted on this site. They were thanks to the Illinois Committee for Honest Government and, Avila Family, and ChicagoClout.com. I will have a few more posts with the election results of the campaigns I have worked on, most victorious. Patrick McDonough.

April 15, 2007

Vote April 17th, 2007 Everyone

I am happy another election cycle is almost over. The spin was every bit as good in the heart of Chicago to the many suburbs. All politics are the same, but, in the big city more money is spent. I wish the best of luck to everyone, winner or loser, you make America great. If more people participated we would have less suspicion and more honest government. The TIFs are indeed a major problem everyone will need to address sooner or later. Next week I will get back to what I do best. Patrick McDonough

April 10, 2007

Brian Burkross Des Plaines Political Gadfly

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Tonight I was invited to Des Plaines "Meet and Greet", the second of it's kind. (Patrice McDonough of the 6th ward had the first) I finally got to meet Brian Burkross, a political gadfly if ever I met one. His group had a nice event but I was hoping for debate on the issues. The event had a very small showing which might mean Brian is making more people mad if anything. This is my main problem with this group, it is a clique. The "reform group" was a bunch of people that are not really reforming anything but have some other agenda. I also believe this group is part of starting rumors for the press and not reform minded at all. If this group is going to make a dent in Des Plaines Politics they must have crystal clear direction and not take sides with any candidate. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

Illinois State Representative Rosemary Mulligan

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Rosemary Mulligan is pictured with Wayne, a political master of Des Plaines politics. Rosemary Mulligan is a treasured family friend of my mother Joan McDonough, a great writer of the Park Ridge Herald for a long time. Irish limericks, poems, quips, ect. Rosemary a classy leader and in office since 1992, is serving her 7th term. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

April 8, 2007

Happy Easter Chicagoland

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This is my son Patrick McDonough. I enjoyed my children today and enjoy challenging photography. This is Patrick running down a very steep hill. I hope everyone took the time to reflect just how important family is. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

April 3, 2007

Des Plaines Seniors Warn Patrice McDonough

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This lovely lady of 90 years went to Patrice McDonough's "Meet and Greet". She was picked up by Patrice on the way to the Des Plaines first of it's kind open mike meeting. This lovely senior is also know as "Little Grandma", and a famous resident. She warned Patrice, "Des Plaines has dirty Politics", and "Be Careful". Generations of hers live in this city. Well sure enough, calls were made to Patrice McDonough about her "High paid consultant". Some jack donkey is writing the newspapers trying to take credit for Patti running the cleanest campaign ever. Remember everyone, If grandma gives you some advice, you had better listen. Well the mud slinging starts tomorrow. Also, yesterday, Des Plaines is trying to clean up it's corruption as they fear Patrice might bring her husband's hero, Patrick Fitzgerald in to look at Alderman Becker's past deals. Patrick McDonough.