Chicago Tribune Department of Water Managment Update

Tomczak bid to cut prison term rejected
Judge doesn’t buy alcoholism excuse
By Matt O’Connor
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 4, 2007
A federal judge has rebuffed a disgraced former high-ranking city official who is hoping to qualify for an alcohol treatment program that could bring a significant cut in his prison term.
Donald Tomczak contended he had kept his alcohol abuse from court officials to avoid embarrassment for himself and relatives, including his son, Jeff, former Will County state’s attorney.
In a court filing he authored from a federal prison camp, Tomczak, 72, sought to have court records changed to show that he had become dependent on alcohol and been under a doctor’s care for the problem since 2004.
But U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan shot down the request earlier this week.
If Tomczak successfully completed the alcohol treatment program, his nearly 4-year prison term could have been cut by up to 1 year, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy.
A Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman in Washington said the fact that a defendant’s alleged alcohol abuse isn’t mentioned in a probation report doesn’t mean he would necessarily be rejected from the treatment program.
The approval process “may take a little longer,” Felicia Ponce said Thursday.
Tomczak, once the top deputy in the Water Management Department, pleaded guilty in 2005 to commanding a political army of patronage workers and taking almost $400,000 in payoffs from companies that wanted business from the city’s corrupt Hired Truck Program.
He began serving his sentence in February at the federal prison camp in Oxford, Wis.
In his filing, Tomczak said he works as an orderly in the prison camp library and described himself as a model inmate.
Tomczak said he didn’t confide to probation officials about his alcohol abuse to avoid notoriety for his son, who he said was then seeking re-election for state’s attorney.
However, the son lost re-election in 2004, months before Tomczak pleaded guilty to racketeering and a probation report would have been prepared.
The probation report is also kept sealed from public view, though certain of its details can be made public at sentencing.
In pleading guilty, Tomczak admitted he had used city workers in 2000 to campaign on behalf of his son when he successfully ran for Will County state’s attorney. Jeff Tomczak lost office in 2004 amid allegations that the Chicago political machine had influenced his first election.
Tomczak’s sentence could have been substantially longer than 4 years, but he won a break because he cooperated with federal law enforcement. Last year he testified for the prosecution at the corruption trial of Mayor Richard Daley’s former patronage chief and three other former city officials.
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

One Reply to “Chicago Tribune Department of Water Managment Update”

  1. Tomczak should try to get himself transfered to a BOP facility more interested in getting the big bucks that the drug/alcohol abuse program generates.

    Then, he’d have the BOP staff pushing hard for him to be accepted.

    Try any BOP facility south of the Mason-Dixon line, they’re all run by folks who make our local political crooks look like saints.

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