Please make sure you get the inside story from Mark Brown. In the last decade, Mayor Daley and Chicago's organized crime boyz have destroyed the taxpayer's trust. This is a Hired Truck Scandal story. Mayor Daley and his family have profited handsomely on the taxpayer's dime. I have complained since 2001 about the non-union companies scamming taxpayers. Patrick Daley, son of Mayor "Sgt. Schultz" Daley, has made millions for family scumbags like Robert Vanecko. Chicago's Department of Water Management is in the thick of this scandal again, we know about the "private sewer inspection" companies. We know about the blank checks from Amalgamated Bank Chicago Bigwigs. Photo by Patrick McDonough
Investment doesn't pass smell test
Daley ought to find out details of family members' business deals
December 16, 2007
Of all the companies in all the towns in all the world, Mayor Daley's son and nephew walk into the one that makes most of its money from a City of Chicago contract to inspect and clean sewers.
And then the company never discloses the pair's partial ownership interest, even though the law requires it.
This one doesn't pass the smell test, sweetheart.
There's a lot we still don't know about the deal that saw Patrick Daley and Robert Vanecko take a 5 percent ownership stake in Municipal Sewer Services -- and then quietly cash out just as the sewage was hitting the fan at City Hall in the Hired Truck scandal.
For one thing, we don't know how much of a profit they made on their $65,000 investment, although we suspect it was a tidy one.
And we don't know when the mayor became aware of his son's role in the company, although his press secretary tells us she doesn't believe he was aware of it until Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak started asking questions recently.
But we know enough to think the folks with subpoena powers should be asking questions, too.
To be sure, it's an awkward time to be poking into the past business dealings of the mayor's son, coming as it does just days before Patrick Daley, now in the Army, goes off to war.
Did someone know?
If you question the timing of the Sun-Times' story, however, just remember: We're not the ones who kept it a secret for four years.
The story went into the paper pretty much as soon as Novak was able to confirm it, not knowing when he started his investigation that Patrick Daley was about to be deployed overseas.
For now, though, it's arguably a valid reason for the mayor to temporarily duck reporters on the issue, even if the only explanation offered so far on his behalf misses the mark.
"The mayor is a very busy man, and he does not make a practice of knowing the details of other people's investments, including those of his son and/or his nephew," press secretary Jacquelyn Heard told the paper.
With all respect, I would suggest the mayor take part of a day and try to learn some of those details, especially where it involves his own children and the government he runs. Personally, I think he ought to pay attention to his nephews, too, because of the possibility that their business dealings will bite him on the fanny, but I realize that could get sticky in a family -- even a family like the Daleys that should expect public scrutiny.
Setting aside the question of whether the mayor knew his son and nephew had a financial stake in a city contract, there is reason to suspect somebody at City Hall knew that somebody with clout had a piece of this particular one.
Disclosure law needs work
Although a predecessor company already had the city contract, Municipal Sewer Services -- with young Daley and Vanecko hidden in the background -- was golden with city officials from the time it was created and took control of the contract in 2003. Suddenly, the city found more sewers for the company to clean. It received two contract extensions.
The mayor's office complains that this newspaper was unfair in saying the mayor signed the Municipal Sewer Services contracts. Although his signature appears on contracts, the mayor doesn't sign himself, we are told. He delegates that duty to others. OK, I wouldn't want anyone to think the mayor's signature on a contract was evidence in itself that he knew what was involved therein.
At the time he invested in Municipal Sewer Services, Patrick Daley was 29 and an unpaid intern with Cardinal Growth, a Loop investment firm whose principals -- Robert Bobb and Joseph McInerney -- formed the sewer business with Anthony Duffy, who ran the company. Although Cardinal Growth is in the business of lining up investors, it gave just two other individuals a piece of this deal: the intern and his cousin.
Back in 2003, privately held companies with city contracts were required to disclose everyone with an ownership stake.
As it happens, that law was changed a year later so that now only those with an ownership interest greater than 7.5 percent must be disclosed. In other words, if Patrick Daley -- or any of the mayor's other relatives -- have since taken a 5 percent or 6 percent interest in a city contract, they would be within their rights to keep that secret.
If nothing else, this situation teaches us the city disclosure law ought to be changed back to the way it was.