8 Replies to “Chicago Clout helps Archer-Canal Association sue City of Chicago Video”

  1. Water Dept. auditing tapping permits to ensure meter installations

    February 5, 2009

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
    The Daley administration has broadened its investigation into the mysterious case of that $85,860-a-year city electrical inspector ordered to pay more than five years’ worth of water bills after building a new home without installing a water meter.

    The Department of Water Management is conducting an audit to determine how many more individuals and businesses may have fallen through the cracks by tapping into the water main but failing to install a meter.

    That’s apparently what happened in the 5500 block of South Natoma at the new home with a hot tub built by city electrical inspector Richard Kus.

    A permit was issued in 2003, and Water Management inspectors were on the scene when Kus’ plumbing contractor made the tap into the water main. But the water meter was never picked up. And nobody bothered to follow up.

    “It didn’t come to our attention. We weren’t tracking it by computer the way we are now,” said Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte. “Now, we notice when there’s a tap but no meter associated with it. If a tapping permit is issued, and there’s no activity within six months, we follow up to find out why.

    “That’s why we’re auditing all tapping permits to see if there are any other cases. We’re going back and looking at any occasion where a tap was made, but we have no record of a meter or where we don’t know if a meter was picked up,” LaPorte said.

    Initially LaPorte said the audit was triggered by the case of Richard Kus, brother of former Chicago zoning administrator Ed Kus, but hours later, LaPorte changed his story. He said the audit had been going on for a year, but he could not explain why that same audit did not catch the oversight involving Kus.

    Last week, Kus had a water meter installed in his home after the inspector general’s office requested inspection and billing records.

    Inspector General David Hoffman now is attempting to determine how a home without a meter managed to pass muster with Richard Kus’ fellow inspectors in Water Management and the Departments of Buildings. Until then, Kus has been reassigned to clerical duties.

    Earlier this week, Buildings Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey disclosed that Richard Kus’ home was inspected “at least nine” times between August 2003 and January 2006 and that “at least three” of those visits were plumbing inspections.

    But “Our plumbing inspectors do not check for water meters,” McCaffrey said. “Plumbing contractors are responsible for installing them, and the Department of Water Management inspects the installation.”

    McCaffrey tossed the hot potato to LaPorte, who acknowledged that the home was never checked to determine whether it had a water meter.

    Two years ago, a Water Management employee was charged with bribing an undercover investigator posing as a city inspector to erase building code violations on his properties.

    As part of the illicit deal, engineering technician Gustavo Ramirez allegedly offered to supply the undercover investigator with a special tool used to make illegal water hookups.

    The “key” looks like an elongated fish hook. By putting the device through a loop of metal and turning it, the supply of water from the main to the house can be turned on and off from the surface. Gas and water service have separate boxes, but the key can also be used on a similar valve on the gas line.

  2. every tap that I have ever had done, they give me the meter with the corp cock,roundway,b-box and give you and M.I.O card which has to be mailed in within 2 weeks of meter installation, and that meter for that house was most likely a remote read so there should have been other follow up, who was his plumbing contractor because he is the one that will be held responsible, although let us not forget that Bridgeport Village had a bunch of houses that had taps done by the city tap crew, without even having tap permits

  3. Ryan can keep part of his pensionFriday, February 06, 2009 | 3:02 PM February 6, 2009 (CHICAGO) — A state appeals court says imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan may keep part of the state pension that was canceled following his conviction on racketeering and fraud charges.
    Ryan’s attorney, former Gov. James Thompson, says the decision means Ryan will get an estimated $65,000 a year.
    Thompson says “it’s about time” Ryan had a victory in the case.
    The appeals court agreed Friday that Ryan will have to forfeit the part of his pension earned as secretary of state and governor. That’s the time during which the alleged corruption that sent him to prison happened.
    But the court says he may keep the part earned as a state lawmaker and lieutenant governor because those positions were unrelated to the case against him.

  4. BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist
    Christopher G. Kelly is a cat on a hot tin roof. He knows a lot about roofs, given that he’s a roofing contractor.

    He knows about heat, given the federal blast furnace hitting him as one of Rod Blagojevich’s best friends, fund-raisers and, craziest of all, gaming consultants.

    » Click to enlarge image

    Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin

    2003: Gambling adviser a high roller
    If Kelly ever had any doubt, he now knows the feds have no mercy.

    It didn’t matter to them that Kelly pleaded guilty, just three weeks ago, to federal tax charges involving laundering tens of thousands of dollars in gambling debts to bookies through his company’s books. He wouldn’t cooperate. His head remains a steel drum that they are banging on hard.

    The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI just issued a new indictment that could add years to the mere 47 months Kelly, 50, is already looking to serve.

    His saying “sorry” the first time didn’t mean diddly. They believe Chris Kelly can help fly them to O’Hare.

    It turns out he had a lucrative, problematic Chicago airport deal involving an $8.5 million contract complete, allegedly, with kickbacks and laundered cash.

    And the feds couldn’t wait to get this information out. A press release Thursday from the U.S. attorney’s office was packed with details and tantalizing references to Co-Schemer A and Company A, who allegedly “engaged in a bid-rigging scheme” with Kelly.

    As integral as Kelly is to the Blagojevich scandal, it’s worth remembering that Rod Blagojevich may be just one story in a whole opus on corruption.

    A couple of columns ago, channeling Walt Disney, I called it the Circle of Life. Kelly could be the next chapter.

    According to a superb article by Sun-Times reporters Robert Herguth and Chris Fusco in 2003, “Kelly’s trip into the governor’s inner circle began in the early to mid-1990s when he and the man he calls his best friend, Ronald Rossi, met Blagojevich outside a political fund-raiser.”

    Fusco and Herguth reported that Kelly’s close contacts went beyond Rossi, whose family owns Northlake’s Rossi Construction, to “golfing pal Robert Blum, who runs two Markham construction companies, Castle and MBB, [and] leased him space and equipment. Former Daley aide Christopher Hill helped link him with an out-of-state roofing executive, Chuck Burks. . . . Later, Kelly bought out Burks, renaming the company BCI Commercial Roofing. In 1998, it teamed up with Castle and, the first time it ever bid at O’Hare, won a roofing contract worth at least $7 million. . . . Kelly returned to O’Hare under some of the same city bosses he befriended. … One was Mike Levar, whose brother is Ald. Patrick Levar (45th).”

    By 2003, Rossi and Castle, neither of whom returned my calls, had gotten a combined $53.4 million in O’Hare work.

    Other than Kelly, no one mentioned above is charged with any wrongdoing.

    But here’s the deal.

    O’Hare has been a golden goose of possibilities for well-connected businesses and politicians. In the last year, Mayor Daley’s own Inspector General David Hoffman has, according to published reports, been probing contracts and political connections out at O’Hare.

    And now we learn the feds have in their clutches former Daley aide and Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris, who — guess what? — did two tours of duty for the mayor out at O’Hare. Harris was arrested on Dec. 9. The Kelly indictment spans airport work from 1998-2006.

    Where was John Harris during some of those years? In 1999, the mayor named him first deputy commissioner of aviation overseeing the “future of O’Hare,” the project manager for “design, financing and construction.”

    A cooperating witness, imagine what Harris has been able to share with the government.

    Imagine what Kelly could tell them, assuming he doesn’t stay on that hot tin roof much longer.

  5. A new report co-authored by a University of Illinois at Chicago political scientist features proposed reforms to help prevent corruption in Illinois government.

    The report, “Curing Corruption in Illinois: Anti-Corruption Report,” presents historical background on Illinois political corruption, analysis of how corruption occurs, and proposed solutions to end corruption in Illinois, according to a release from UIC. It also includes a detailed account of aldermanic corruption in the Chicago City Council since 1970 with a corresponding appendix of convicted aldermen.

    “Because of the history of corruption and the high level of continuing corruption in Illinois, now is the time to build a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy to create a new political culture in which public corruption is no longer tolerated,” said study co-author Dick Simpson, professor and head of political science at UIC and a former 44th Ward alderman in Chicago.

    The report calls for a program of reform including corruption prevention and enforcement measures along with public involvement and education. The suggested reforms address a variety of issues such as campaign financing, lobbying, government transparency, contracts, political support and citizen empowerment.

    Some of the proposals include:

    • Enact public campaign financing for all major state and local government offices, including judicial campaigns.

    • Strengthen the inspector general offices at all levels of government, but particularly in state government.

    • Elect reform candidates who run on reform platforms and keep their promises. This needs to happen consistently for a decade for a new political culture to be built.

    • The newly established state ethics commission should recommend a comprehensive reform agenda — with pledged support from Gov. Pat. Quinn — that is widely promoted and accepted.

    • Require the public school curriculum to teach about the costs of corruption and the importance of honest, ethical government.

    • Increase public participation by encouraging community organizations to hold “accountability sessions” for elected officials, public hearings to identify citizens’ needs, and open hearings on the functioning of various government bureaucracies.

    To pass and implement these reforms requires a “broad coalition of support,” said Simpson, who estimates that patronage, waste and bloated government contracts cost Illinois taxpayers approximately $300 million each year.

    The report will be officially released at a Crossroads Fund-sponsored panel discussion, “Twenty Ways to Stop Corruption in Illinois,” today from 6 – 8 p.m., at Chicago Temple First United Methodist Church Sanctuary, 77 W. Washington St.

    Joining Simpson on the panel are Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform; Patrick Collins, attorney and chair of the ethics commission charged with making recommendations to reform state government; and Miguel Del Valle, Chicago City Clerk.

  6. Make no mistake, Patrick Fitzgerald is covering up for mayor Daley! Make no mistake! Daleys kid took hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs from Oscar D’ Angelo! Where the @$#k is fitzgerald at!
    (Response) Where is Patrick Daley?

  7. Patrick daley is hiding, but from whom?” The feds? If the feds want you they will get you, so why is he hiding? Does Daley know of a loop hole to keep the feds away from his kid while he is in the army? I have been told time and time again that the army does not protect you from criminal prosecution. So the question is, what exactly is going on? This is not right, nor is it normal. And the liberal media here are scared of this mayor too. To Carol Marin and all the rest of the liberal phonies, you talk out of your a##, not your mouth you bunch of phonies!

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