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Chicago Clout Honors Fran Spielman Again

Fran Spielman is a Chicago Reporter that follows up on investigations. The Mayor Daley Administration is used to corruption and investigations just fading away. Read this article that shows the Department of Water Management that does not spend money wisely. The billing has increased dramatically since employees have made threats. Read the extended entry below. This security company has some major props somewhere John Daley! Patrick McDonough.
Security in limbo at filtration plant FILTRATION PLANT | 7 months after guards were accused of sleeping on the job, the city still hasn't picked a company to supply replacements June 1, 2008Recommend (4) BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter/ fspielman@suntimes.com A security company whose unarmed guards were yanked out of Chicago's water-filtration plants amid accusations the guards slept on the job and abandoned their posts is -- seven months later -- still guarding pumping stations, district yards and trailers because City Hall has yet to find a replacement. The unexplained delay in finding a substitute for Honor Guard Security has allowed city watchmen who temporarily replaced Honor Guard at the most-sensitive posts -- the Jardine and South filtration plants -- to pile up overtime at a time when such pay has been frozen for most other city employees. » Click to enlarge image City employees have replaced Honor Guard Security workers at the Jardine water filtration plant. Despite the city's budget crunch, one watchman racked up $7,066 in overtime in March. Montel Gayles, the city's chief procurement officer, couldn't be reached for comment. (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times) Despite the city's budget crunch, one watchman was paid $7,066 in overtime in March and $14,144 during the first three months of this year. Chicago police officers are also helping to guard the city's filtration plants. The contract delay has also allowed Honor Guard to continue guarding Water Management pumping stations, district yards and trailers, all considered less security-sensitive. Montel Gayles, the city's chief procurement officer, couldn't be reached for comment. Deputy procurement officer Claude Humphrey said that "all bids are still being evaluated" from last fall, when a replacement for Honor Guard was sought. Humphrey said he's waiting for Gayles to "give me a final determination on how to move forward." Other sources said the contract might be re-bid, which would further delay finding a replacement and boting Honor Guard. "I don't know what the problem is," Humphrey said. Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte said that, for now, "Given their past performance, we are closely monitoring Honor Guard Security employees and are satisfied that our facilities are secure." Earlier this year, Water Management was poised to replace Honor Guard with SkyTech Enterprises Limited. The $8.6 million contract calls for at least 120 guards to provide around-the-clock security at Water Management facilities. SkyTech was the third-lowest of at least 10 bidders but was deemed the "lowest qualified, responsive, responsible bidder." The Chicago company spent two years providing armed security for Great Lakes Naval Training Center. SkyTech President Tony Rakestraw said he has since posted an $867,000 bond but remains in limbo. "I'm totally puzzled," Rakestraw said. "I have no reasonable explanation for why I've gotten no further feedback since I presented the bond, which cost me $33,000." The Chicago Sun-Times reported last Oct. 22 that Honor Guard's unarmed employees were abruptly removed from the Jardine and South filtration plants and replaced with city employees serving as watchmen. That came after surveillance cameras captured dozens of instances in which the company's guards were either sleeping on the job or absent from their posts, officials said. Four days later, angry aldermen demanded to know why the company was still guarding pumping stations, district yards and trailers.


talk to me any time

Hey Pat,
Give Fran a message from me. She needs to talk to me, I will give her so much material ( stories ) that goes on here at the north district. The cover ups, the overtime list, the special treatment that certain people get, I could write my own book here with all of the stuff I seen here. But I am willing to share with Fran !! I met Fran a bunch of times!!
She needs to put on more weight, she is skinny, but she is a hell of a writer.
give her my number Pat!!!!!!! Its time!!!! as Wayne Strnad would say, lets put the spot light on these corrupt people!! Something else Pat, do you get threaten every week like I do here at North District. I called Mr. Kellerher but he has yet to call me back in over 2 years !! so NOW its Newspaper time !!!

Alderman just following leader in sweetheart zoning
John Kass

June 4, 2008

Whether America likes it or not, Chicago Machine Democrats are on a mission to clean up our nation's politics. But back here in the neighborhoods, the song remains the same:

It's all about taking care of your own, the Chicago Way.

The latest superstar is Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th), who was featured in a recent installment of an ongoing Tribune investigation called "Neighborhoods for Sale."

In Sunday's segment, written and reported by Robert Becker and Dan Mihalopoulos, readers learned that the North Side alderman has a strange habit. He habitually approves zoning for developers who magically engage his wife, Barbara, as their real estate agent.

Mrs. Alderman O'Connor has sold more than $22 million worth of houses and condominiums in her husband's ward, after her husband approved the zoning changes. How Chicago is that?

That's the gist of the O'Connor story, and if you want the fascinating details, get on the Internet at chicagotribune.com/zoning. You'll find other stories there, too, about the first family of zoning, the Banks family.

Of course, the family that leads all other families by voracious public example is the Daley family, which is pushing its own reform candidate toward the White House.

What these stories, and others, suggest, is that in Illinois, there are two types: those who are politically connected, and their wives and kids and nephews and sisters-in-laws and brothers who make money through government deals.

They write the laws. They shape the so-called ethics ordinances and ethics boards. They define the right and wrong of things. They make the rules. The rest of us pay.

"All of the things that have been reported are not only legal and ethical under the law, but I would have to have been transcendental in order to see [his wife's deals] coming," said O'Connor in a meeting with the Tribune's editorial board. He called the meeting so he could complain about the Sunday story.

They may be legal—although I doubt it, and I'd bet that a federal grand jury would think otherwise—but even so, is it proper?

O'Connor was asked this question: Alderman, is it proper for spouses of elected officials to profit from the decisions of those officials?

"They shouldn't profit any more than the general public should," O'Connor said. "And in this instance, the decisions I made were not made with a situation where one would know that my wife or [her real estate company] would be profiting."


Let's examine that answer.

First, he says a family member shouldn't profit any more than the general public. But the general public, meaning you, aren't usually married to someone making zoning changes.

And, if you were, you would be required—by a common understanding of what is decent—not to profit from those decisions. (At least, common everywhere but Illinois and Texas.)

Second, O'Connor insists, in that cute, double-negative-infused lawyer talk, that he made decisions on zoning without knowing his wife would eventually profit.

What's next?

That Mrs. O'Connor will bring home five magic beans, and the alderman will throw them in the alley, and a stalk will grow, and they'll climb it to the fifth floor of City Hall, where they'll find a magic harp that sings to them?

Public figures have a right to beef about media treatment. I've known Ald. O'Connor for years—back in the days when I was the paper's City Hall beat writer—and I like him. To me, he's always been reasonable.

And I know what's bothering so many aldermen, privately, though I haven't talked to O'Connor about this. They're upset that the fifth-floor insiders close to Mayor Richard Daley, including his son and nephew, reap an incredible harvest of deals that he approves, or has approved for them, with a wink and a nod and plausible deniability.

Like the time Daley insisted he didn't know his own son Patrick had a no-bid sewers contract with Daley's nephew, Robert Vanecko, who also got $68 million in city pension funds to invest.

The aldermen see this, and watch TV news reporters backing off, and they figure, if the mayor's people are wetting their beaks, why can't they?

So they take a piece and call it legal. City inspectors see this. One working theory is that many inspectors are put on the job to approve or kill big projects on the orders of their political masters. But they're given the opportunity to take a piece of the smaller deals, too, in exchange for their obedience on the big stuff.

Good, law-abiding people see it go on, unabated, year after year after year. Slowly, taxpayers are beaten down.

We either shrug and bow our heads and kiss the hands of the political masters and hope for a few crumbs, or stay on the outside, in the cold, for good.

But don't worry.

That'll all change, won't it? Once Chicago Democrats install one of their own at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.