Book on Chicago Clout "It Happened four years ago"
I teach my children to read books, lots of books. The book I last enjoyed was from a friend of mine that has followed the Hired Truck Program, Peter Zelchenko. When I was trying to expose the climate of corruption in the Daley Administration, I was in the fight of my life. Peter wrote a book about the way elections are won and lost in Chicago. As I read the book, I ran across names that are current and former employees at the Department of Water Management. Since I am in a lawsuit against the City of Chicago, I cannot be too specific; however I am going to reveal some new information that really helped me fill in the blanks. One person was Lester Cioch, an assistant superintendent at the Department of Water Management, which got fired after he was getting signatures for Mayor Daley on the clock. A Whistleblower turned him in, that was not a good time to circulate petitions. In the book was also a Chicago Department of Water Management Foreman that got the slip on 'Hired Truck Program" theft charges, this was before the Chicago Sun-Times cranked out their greatest story ever. We will get into this more in court. The book is a must read with those that have a basic concept of the election process, and those who thought they do! Make sure you read this book before our upcoming trial, we want informed observers. It is a shame, our American troops die in other countries, and we take the most fundament right away from our neighbors, the vote! You can buy this book here: click http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=096774895X or you can get a signed copy by calling Peter Zelchenko at 312-733-2473 Photo by Patrick McDonough
Chicago employee charged for political work By Dan Mihalopoulos Tribune staff reporter February 14, 2007, 8:55 PM CST A city supervisor rushing to collect nominating signatures for Mayor Richard Daley's re-election campaign badgered underlings to sign the mayor's petitions as they reported for work, authorities alleged Wednesday. Lester Cioch, a Water Management Department supervisor, was charged with violating state and city ethics laws that prohibit public employees from doing political work while on the clock. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison, authorities said. The charges should serve as a warning to other city workers in the run-up to the Feb. 27 election, said the city's inspector general, David Hoffman. "While city workers are at work, they are being paid to work for the taxpayers, not a candidate," said Hoffman, whose office led the investigation. The Daley administration has moved to fire Cioch, an 11-year city employee who was an assistant foreman of sewer cleaning. Reached at home, Cioch declined to comment. As a precinct captain for the 32nd Ward Democratic Organization, Cioch was asked to circulate nominating petitions for the mayor. Cioch allegedly told investigators he only had two days to gather the signatures. Hoffman said Cioch admitted gathering 40 signatures from employees while at work on Dec. 6 at a Water Management Department facility at 3901 S. Ashland Ave. Seven workers told inspector general's investigators that Cioch solicited their support for Daley as they were clocking in for work or in the parking lot of the facility, authorities said. In an interview, city worker Ronald Bedenfield said Cioch asked him to sign the petitions at work, but Bedenfield said he declined. "Back in the day, everybody used to do it," Bedenfield told the Tribune. "Times have changed. He took a chance and got caught." The Daley campaign did not submit the signatures collected by Cioch to election officials. Hoffman's lead inspector on the case suggested the campaign learned about the problem in the days before the petitions were due. Investigators interviewed the mayor's campaign manager, Terry Peterson, on Dec. 29, and he told them that Cioch's signatures had been thrown out. A spokeswoman for the campaign declined to comment Wednesday. Cioch previously worked for the 1st Ward Democrats, who sponsored him for a city job in the 1990s, according to a clout list entered as evidence in the trial of Robert Sorich, who was convicted on corruption charges stemming from a scheme to rig hiring for city jobs. He joined the 32nd Ward Democrats three years ago and recently campaigned for Ald. Theodore Matlak (32nd), who is running for re-election. "When investigators began asking questions, we were fully cooperative," said Matlak's campaign manager, Mike Moffo. "Because questions were being raised, he ceased doing work." Matlak challenger Scott Waguespack seized on the charges to criticize the incumbent, saying the Cioch case indicates that "clout is alive and well in the 32nd Ward." Tribune staff reporters Todd Lighty and Ray Quintanilla contributed to this report. February 16, 2007 BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Staff Reporter Aides to Mayor Daley emphasized this week that the nominating petitions allegedly circulated by city sewer supervisor Lester Cioch while on the clock were not used by Daley's re-election campaign to get the mayor's name on this month's ballot. But the mayor's re-election team had no problem using eight pages of nominating petitions Cioch turned in four years ago -- during Daley's last run for mayor, records show. Those wanting to run for mayor must have nominating petitions signed by at least 12,500 registered voters. Signature count way down Last time around -- before a federal corruption investigation ensnared the mayor's former patronage chief and 41 others -- the mayor filed 140,000 signatures on 5,884 pages. This time around, Daley required circulators to sign a pledge that they were not being coerced to do the work with promises of a city job or a promotion. Many formerly loyal petition circulators balked, and the mayor turned in only 29,000 signatures. But Cioch, according to charges announced Wednesday by city Inspector General David Hoffman, did not follow the rules barring political work on city time. Asked to comment on the fact that the campaign used Cioch's petitions four years ago, Daley's campaign bounced the question to the mayor's City Hall press office, which then bounced it back to the campaign office. Daley's campaign manager Terry Peterson said he was not the campaign manager four years ago and isn't sure Cioch even turned in petitions this time around. "I can't say he even turned them in," Peterson said. "I never met the man." Contributing: Tim Novak Acquitted city supervisor resigns Tribune staff report September 8, 2007 CHICAGO - A city supervisor accused of working for Mayor Richard Daley's re-election campaign on city time resigned last month from his $85,176-a-year job. Lester Cioch, an assistant foreman of sewer cleaning and a precinct captain for the 32nd Ward Democratic Organization, had faced both criminal charges and internal personnel charges for passing Daley's nominating petitions on city time shortly before the February municipal election. A Cook County judge in April found Cioch not guilty of misdemeanor charges of violating state and city ethics laws that prohibit public employees from doing political work while on the clock. The judge questioned whether state law applied to city workers and the case was hurt because prosecutors could not produce as evidence the petitions circulated by Cioch. Daley's campaign had thrown out the petitions and said they were never submitted to election officials. Still, city Inspector General David Hoffman recommended Cioch be fired for violating city policy forbidding campaigning on city time. City making an example of sewer boss: Charged with passing Daley Chicago Sun-Times, Feb 15, 2007 by Fran Spielman This is what it has come down to, now that Mayor Daley's former patronage chief has been convicted of rigging city hiring and promotions to benefit pro-Daley political workers. A $39.65-an-hour assistant foreman of sewers asks 40 of his Water Management Department co-workers at 39th and Ashland to sign Daley's nominating petitions in December -- signatures that were never even filed -- and officials throw the book at him. The 63-year-old worker is not only arrested on the job in front of the very co-workers who turned him in. He faces termination proceedings after being charged in a criminal complaint announced by the city's inspector general at a press conference attended by the mayor's chief of staff. Lester Cioch -- a precinct captain in the 32nd Ward Regular Democratic Organization once run by political powerhouse Dan Rostenkowski and former Ald. Terry Gabinski (32nd) -- is charged with the misdemeanor crime of violating state and municipal ethics laws prohibiting political activity on city time. 'MULTIPLE' COMPLAINTS To say Inspector General David Hoffman is trying to make an example of Cioch to show that it's a new day at City Hall is an understatement. "We think it's stop-the-presses material. . . . The fact that it's one person . . . doesn't mitigate the strength of the message," Hoffman said.