I read Mr. James J. Laski’s book in its entirety. I was very happy with the book as it really tells us the life of a Chicago Political Heavyweight. I was honored James J. Laski agreed to do a show. I suggest every Chicago Taxpayer read his book. This is my impression of the book, James J. Laski trusted his friends with his heart and soul. The rats that sold him out have made a permanent scar on him he may never get over. I saw him as a average south side guy that still might like a beer, but hopefully will never touch a cigarette again. James J. Laski’s book should be enjoyed, slowly. Watch Mr. Laski with host Frank Avila Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 10:30 p.m. and Tuesday May 20, 2008 10:30 p.m., both shows are on CAN-TV Channel 21. James Laski might have left a big part of the book missing, the part about putting his family back together again. I was wondering who proofread his book and I look forward to another show with Mr. Laski. Story by Patrick McDonough, Photo by Michael McGann.
17 Replies to “Patrick, David McDonough and James J. Laski CAN-TV Schedule”
As a politician I saw Laski as a Daley stooge and a crook, and he was. I totally respect him for the way he has handled his downfall. I wish him nothing but the best. He now knows what the rest of us taxpaying hacks have been going through as the Daley machine throws us out of the city and steals our money. I know I speak for many others when I say that the feds need to do their job!. Lets go boys, kindergardeners can do a much quicker job than you g-men are doing. I’m not kidding either!
Mr Laski could have been Mayor of Chicago. Daley ratted him out. Laski has a great book.
I think the G_MEN are waiting for Bush to leave office, I believe a deal was cut between Bush and Daley. I believe the FEDS have Daley!! they are just waiting for Sanchez to give up Daley, if you think the Sorich case was something, Wait till the go after Sanchez, now that will be WONDERFUL!!!! I can hardly wait!!!
When one Daley lap dog wises up to the net approaching Daley, then maybe they will begin not protecting and lying for Daley. Audit every city hall department and audit those unelected weasels that somehow have budgets who run community groups. Follow the money and follow the complaints. Let ego win over greed while doing investigations. Whistleblowers will want to either save face by asking for immunity and doing a 180 – ….i felt horrible about this and now I am getting the burden off my chest (and no years in prison) or get angry and turn on the Daley posse after discovering that someone invested less and wanted to be full partner or the treasurer sat on funds only to pocket the interest. Busted deals and bruised egos will have some singing for immunity.
Just two words here:
At felon’s car-leasing spot, pols have zeal for the deals
May 4, 2008
When it comes to leasing a fine luxury car, where do indicted political fixer Tony Rezko, King of Cicero “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak, politicians, Rush Street bar owners, nursing home czars and even state Sen. Jimmy DeLeo (D-How You Dooin’?) go for their deals?
To Marc Zaransky, leaser to the Illinois political stars, and a boss at C.A.R. Leasing in Lincolnwood.
Even though he’s a two-time convicted felon whose first conviction involved bribing a mobbed-up Cook County sheriff’s boss in exchange for county contracts, politicians still flock to Zaransky for their car leases.
Now he’s involved in multiple lawsuits from banks and car dealers—one suit filed in federal court and four in Cook County recently—demanding money for autos that disappeared or weren’t delivered.
No one has been criminally charged with anything yet, though if my instincts are correct, you might be hearing about it with increasing federal frequency. As the political class squirms, I ask rhetorically, ‘Why would they go to a guy who has already been involved in crimes in which nice cars were used for political bribes?’ Why?
“I lease two cars from Zaransky,” said state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), one of the loudest reform voices in the ethics debate in Illinois, who leases a 2008 Lexus and a 2007 Chrysler from Zaransky.
“My dealings are always arm’s length. He’s in my district,” Lang said Friday. “I knew he had some kind of an issue. I didn’t think it was my business to ask.”
Another curious car fact erupted in Springfield last week, when an employee of the secretary of state’s office was charged with fixing computerized car title information so lenders could not find and repossess loan-delinquent automobiles. I called Zaransky—former son-in-law of Chicago Ald. Bernard Stone (50th)—to ask about all this.
“Oh, I don’t have any comment on that,” Zaransky told me on Friday.
His second felony conviction involved a $5 million check-kiting scam he began while awaiting sentencing for his first offense, bribing mob underling and former Cook County Undersheriff James “The Bohemian” Dvorak in the late 1980s with cars.
Zaransky and his brother Michael—a former Illinois Gaming Board member under former Gov. Jim “Cellini’s Guy” Edgar, and the former chairman of the Chicago Convention and Visitor’s Bureau under Mayor Richard Daley—both pleaded guilty in 1993.
The Zaranskys cooperated, saying they gave and cash to Dvorak and Dvorak’s underling, Mark Richmond, now a Deerfield businessman. Then Richmond pleaded guilty, admitting he and Dvorak accepted cars from the Zaranskys and Rolex watches from others. Richmond also told the FBI that he and Dvorak went on gambling trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the Bahamas, and that Dvorak would use Chicago Outfit cash from mob bosses Rocco Infelice and Salvatore DeLaurentis for gambling.
But that was in the late ’80s. Now, years later, Mark Richmond has a new political friend:
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, whose job it is to handle car titles and regulation of vehicles.
White and Richmond have a tight social relationship, a source close to White told me Friday, confirming the two men have vacationed together recently at a casino resort in Aruba and gambled there.
What does all this prove?
Not much. Although I sure wish I had subpoena power or two squads of FBI agents to work this, or that I was a fly on the wall when Jesse White and Mark Richmond threw dice in Aruba, perhaps with guys from Chicago watching.
According to secretary of state records we checked, Tony Rezko leased a Lexus sport-utility vehicle; Vrdolyak got two Land Rovers; and the nursing home czars—whose businesses are regulated by state officials—received a Porsche and several Mercedes.
The king of Zaransky lease deals is state Sen. DeLeo, a car buff partial to Benzes and Jaguars, one of which ended up in the hands of DeLeo buddy Marty Gutilla, manager of the famed Tavern on Rush.
Records show DeLeo leased a Chevy Tahoe that Richmond now has; two fine Jaguars; two ridiculously expensive Mercedes, and other autos, including Jimmy’s famed 2007 Bentley Continental.
DeLeo’s Bentley is the subject of its own lawsuit by Steve Foley Cadillac of Northbrook, which has the car, but not the title; because U.S. Bank says it has not been paid more than $190,000 owed for that sleek driving machine.
36th Ward Democratic boss Sam “Pastries” Banks, a DeLeo political associate, signed a lease for a fine 2008 Mercedes, according to another lawsuit against C.A.R. Leasing. Banks did not return my calls Friday.
In 2000, as Zaransky plead guilty to the check-kiting scam—admitting in the process he owed $600,000 in Vegas gambling debts—Pastries begged mercy from U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen.
“Marc, in my opinion, has a long and useful life ahead of him, as an asset to the community in which he lives and to those who he loves and supports,” Pastries wrote.
Such sweet words, for a guy with such sweet cars.
Just wait until the media starts looking into the new hired truck scam where this time it is the leasing of vehicles for city of chicago employees to be used on a day to day basis for workers to take to jobs at a cost to the taxpayers of upwards of $800 per month for a pickup truck
This includes the leasing program where select employees get a new vehicle and only have to pay a few hundred dollars a month
Lets look into who runs or owns these enterprise franchises
Hey mayor Daley. Who did Oscar D’ Angelo share that 1 million dollars $$$ of taxpayer money he recieved as a consulting fee with after he helped your wifes friends open a bookstore at Ohare? Was’nt Oscar D’Angelo the only person to see your son Patrick off to the army at his commencement? And when the news broke about Oscars fat paycheck why did you have to go in Northwestern hospital for a week with chest pains? What were you afraid of? did your son Patrick make a half million dollars on that deal too?
Interesting comments made on the amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com websites concerning this book. First from Amazon:
The Truth Hurts, May 4, 2008
By sandy (Chicago) – See all my reviews
“This book may be the only book to be banned from all federal prisons across the nation. This book was sent to a prisoner at Morgantown FCI, the same prison that Laski had been sentenced to for his role in the “Hired Truck Program Scandal.” A month later, the book was returned to the sender with a letter stating that it has been banned for security reasons. The truth is, the ban is nationwide. Of course, it is not hard to figure out why. Laski names, names and tells the truth about the prison. He names the prison counselors, drug treatment specialist, and former warden. He exposes the prison’s deplorable nutritional, sanitary, and health care conditions. Worst of all, in regard to the prison, he criticizes Morgantown FCI’s “crown jewel,” its drug treatment and rehab program. This program has been praised by the Federal Bureau of Prisons for its innovativeness, but Laski exposes its degradation and dehumanization. The fact that the author lets the truth be know to the public no doubt accounts for the ban. It also explained Mayor Richard M. Daley’s own attack on the book in the Chicago media- apparently, neither Daley nor the FBOP can stand the truth. Personally, I found the book to be very informative and a real page turner. This book is definitely a must-read. The information in this book is definitely national television material.”
Next from Barnes and Noble (may be the same person):
WHY Has the Government BANNED This Book?
A reviewer, A reviewer, 05/01/2008
“Former Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski’s My Fall from Grace: City Hall to Prison Walls is a landmark book in more ways than one. It may be the ONLY book to be BANNED by the government from ALL federal prisons across the nation. How do I know that? I sent a copy of the book to a friend at Morgantown FCI, the same prison to which Laski had been sentenced for his role in the ‘Hired Truck Program Scandal.’ A month later, the book was returned to me with a form letter informing me that it has been banned for security reasons. I have since learned that this ban is nationwide. Why? It’s not difficult to figure out. Laski dares to name names and tell the truth with the same candor characterizing his criticism of Chicago City Hall. He names the self-centered, arrogant COs, prison counselors, drug treatment specialists, and former warden. He also openly exposes the prison’s deplorable nutritional, sanitary, and health care conditions. Perhaps worst of all (at least to the prison) is that he dares to criticize Morgantown FCI’s ‘crown jewel,’ its drug treatment and rehabilitation program. This program has been praised by the FBOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons) for its innovativeness, but Laski exposes its degradation and dehumanization. The fact that the author attacks sacred cows no doubt accounts for the ban. It also explains Mayor Richard M. Daley’s own attack on the book in the Chicago media–apparently, neither Daley nor the FBOP can stand the truth. I, for one, found the book absolutely riveting, and its expose of prison life just as engrossing as its revelations about Chicago politics. For anyone interested in a true ‘insider’s’ account of the ‘dark side’ of politics and the federal prison system, this book is a MUST, the kind of stuff just made for 60 Minutes or Larry King.”
If this is true- WOW.
I love Laski’s book, excellent.
Laski better have turned buried skeletons over to the feds. He knows where they are buried. The Rezko trial showed how discreet these crooks are. It’s amazing the feds do not have more on Rezko. He kept his mouth very quiet. At least they indicted Rezko on his fraudulent pizza parlor loans. Very scary how slick these crooks really are………
In response to garbageman. I agree, what’s taking so long for the feds to look in to those contracts. garbageman, I know exactly what you are talking about. Some of the companies are: Will Rent, S.E.S, M.A.T Leasing (A Mikey Tadin company), Tractor & Equipment Co. (the same as Will Rent). FYI, Will Rent (Julie Martines-McKevitt) is the daugther of S.E.S, Stephen Martines). There is a whole lot more………….
Don’t you guys get it, the feds are as corrupt, if not more so, than anyone in our state, county or city governments.
The clever will always dominate the honest, that’s what they live for.
The biggest lie you guys believe is that ‘the feds’ are actually honest.
They’re not even close.
SAY GOODBYE TO $63 million dollars of the city’s pension money that Robert Vanecko, the mayors nephew took from the pension fund.
“Sales of newly built downtown condominiums plummeted by about 83 percent during the first quarter, to 201 units from 1,207 units a year earlier, according to a report to be released Wednesday by Appraisal Research Counselors.
“There’s more risk in the South Loop than in other neighborhoods because of the quantity of new deliveries,” Lissner said.”
Daley knows that Robert Vanecko will lose that $63 million dollars. That’s why Daley is planning on taking money from leasing midway to help shore up the city’s pension funds. He gave Vanecko the taxpayers $63 million dollars to save his butt on that giant highrise project he is building in the south loop which had it not been for the $63 million dollars from the pension fund (which will never be returned) Vanecko would have gone belly up by now. Daley got him the pension money because Vanecko is up to his eyeballs in dirty deals with Patrick Daley and now the mayor expects Vanecko to protect Partick from the feds who are investigating the mayors son.
Warden didn’t like it, so prison bans Laski book
Former Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski’s book — My Fall From Grace: City Hall to Prison Walls — has been banned in federal prison.
And the ban has nothing to do with Laski’s tales of City Hall chicanery or the bribes he took from friends he helped get work from the city’s scandal-plagued Hired Truck Program.
The book includes Laski’s criticism of his former prison, in Morgantown, W.Va. And that could be “detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution,” the warden says.
“The allegations made in this publication could instill into the inmates a false prejudice against institution staff and interrupt the security and orderly running of the institution,” warden Wayne A. Phillips wrote to a prisoner who wanted to read the book.
Otta da joint
Timothy McCarthy — a former official in Mayor Daley’s patronage office who was found guilty last year in a scheme to rig city hiring tests — has been released from a federal halfway house after serving most of his 18-month prison sentence. Two co-defendants — Robert Sorich and Patrick Slattery — have just started serving their sentences after losing appeals.
BY JAMES LASKI
Now that Barack Obama has been sworn in as our 44th president, one has to ask how much Windy City politics will influence our new chief executive.
Illinois has had a long, 150-year history of public corruption. Three former governors have ended up in federal prison. Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was recently arrested by the FBI, and is awaiting a formal indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Over the past 30 years, at least 25 aldermen, two city clerks, and a host of lobbyists, judges, contractors and city employees have been arrested, convicted and sentenced to federal prison for public corruption.
More than 40 government employees and trucking owners alone were indicted in the Hired Truck Program Scandal, a scam by which private trucking firms bribed elected officials to place their service vehicles on the city payroll. One major political hiring scandal that took place in Chicago resulted in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s patronage chief, Robert Sorich, being sent to a federal penitentiary. Through it all, the Chicago political machine has survived. Despite some adjustments, it’s still business as usual.
The Chicago system is the same one Barack Obama used when he decided to run for a state Senate seat. He didn’t court a local civic league group, or consult with his pastor, or his neighbors. Instead, he did things the old-fashioned Chicago way: He went to his alderman, an influential politician, and told her he wanted that seat. He also mastered the talent of challenging petitions, knocked every opponent off the ballot, and ran unopposed in his first election. This tactic has long been a real art form in Chicago politics.
The architect of that system is our country’s most powerful mayor, Daley. His style of running a political machine with an iron fist, a political army and a huge war chest is second to none in this country. It was the inner circle in Daley’s office that dispatched hundreds of workers and thousands of fund-raising dollars to guarantee Rahm Emanuel would win his congressional seat in 2002 (his first political race). This is the same Rahm Emanuel who is now Obama’s chief of staff.
Another member of the Obama team and inner circle is David Axelrod. The top political strategist in Chicago, he has also been Daley’s chief consultant for a number of years and is a brilliant tactician. Axelrod also handled multiple campaigns for the Democratic National Committee and its most influential member, Rahm Emanuel.
Also adding to the Chicago flavor is Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s senior policy advisers. A former Chicago Habitat Company CEO, she is a past cabinet member of Mayor Daley, and has worked with Bill Daley, the mayor’s brother, who served on the Obama transition team.
The people mentioned so far do not take into account all of the ancillary figures from Chicago who will also take up residence in D.C. as part of the Obama patronage army.
Although Obama professes to be a political outsider, he has certainly learned the ropes of fund-raising the Chicago way. The Obama presidential campaign raised more than $600 million, shattering all records. When Obama first ran for the state Senate, Chicago businessman Tony Rezko, who is awaiting sentencing for public corruption, funded a portion of that first campaign. Our president, who still claims he’s an outsider, has openly acknowledged his own maturation in the Chicago political arena.
Politics change a person.
The political culture often promotes power and ego over the public good. The Chicago political machine breeds corruption by illegal patronage and hiring practices that have existed in the city for decades. The old adage “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” is the key to getting a job in Chicago. That philosophy has been taken to a whole new level over the past 20 years. To dismantle the machine, you need to cut cancerous patronage out. By and large, people have been rewarded in Chicago not for their education and skills, but for how many votes they can get from their precinct, or for how much money they can pay their political bosses or benefactors.
The other political cancer in Chicago that needs to be cut out is the system’s abuse of fund-raising. Current fund-raising rules allow for too much leeway and misuse. For example, Blagojevich is alleged to have been involved in pay-to-play politics, by trying to auction off Obama’s now vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. In Chicago, Daley’s war chest is in the millions of dollars, and many of his contributors also have contracts with the city of Chicago. On their face, such arrangements may not be illegal, but the appearance of, or the potential for, impropriety is readily apparent. The answer is to require public funding for all political campaigns. We also need independent boards, not politicians and their patronage chiefs, to issue government contracts and jobs.
Obama has embarked on a course of change, and his political rhetoric indicates that things will be different. However, his political roots are deeply embedded in the bare-knuckle, down-and-dirty blood sport known as Politics, Chicago Style. Our new president, along with his inner circle, will certainly bring a Chicago flavor to the nation’s capital. At the end of the day, though, the question will remain: Can this country stomach it? Only time will tell.
James Laski was the city clerk in Chicago from 1995-2006 and was indicted in the Hired Truck Program Scandal. He spent 11 months in federal prison. He is the author of “My Fall From Grace: From City Hall to Prison Walls.”
Comments are closed.