Cook County Board Candidates for President debate at Or Menorah in Chicago

Judge Lebovits and Saul 1.jpg The North Side of Chicago has very powerful voting bloc which includes the Jewish Community. After work today Chicago Resident Saul Charak invited me to visit Or Menorah. Temple Menorah, is the only Reform congregation in West Rogers Park. I really felt welcome as a guest and the members were friendly. Today was the Cook County Board Presidents Candidates forum. I was a little late because I am an employee of the City of Chicago that works the entire day despite this being a must show political event. Todd Stroger was very arm to me and we discussed a couple of matters, I missed Dorothy Brown and Toni Preckwinkle, and Terry O’Brien. I was very glad all these candidates showed up on behalf of Alderman Stone (50Th Chicago) and Ira Silverstein an Illinois State Senator featured on Chicago Clout not long ago. I also saw the Channel 5 News Team because Carol Marin was the Moderator. I hope all my friends take a close look at Judge Yehuda Lebovis, a recipient of the United States Inspector General Award. Any judge that gets a nod from the Inspector General is a friend of mine. Punch #192 to keep a good judge. Saul an Operating Engineer and 50Th ward political heavy weight has been friends with Judge Lebovits for almost two decades. Photo by Patrick McDonough

6 Replies to “Cook County Board Candidates for President debate at Or Menorah in Chicago”

  1. Is labor’s man in City Council in trouble?
    He’s the big man in the Chicago City Council and a big ally of organized labor.

    It remains to be seen whether he’s in big trouble.

    The campaign finance practices of Ald. Patrick Levar (45th) and his brother, Michael, are being scrutinized as part of a joint probe by federal and city investigators, according to a well-placed source, and published reports.

    Where might the investigation lead?

    That’s unclear — and neither Levar could be reached for comment. (Nor could their attorney.)

    This much, though, is known about the alderman and his controversial fundraising practices over the years:

    –Chris Kelly, the Blagojevich pal who recently died, helped raise campaign cash for Patrick Levar, according to interviews. What’s more, the fund-raising went on while Michael Levar was a city employee at O’Hare Airport — with oversight of city contracts held by Kelly’s company, BCI Commercial Roofing, and its affiliates, according to interviews and government records.

    –A member of Patrick Levar’s ward organization who worked at O’Hare with Michael Levar allegedly solicited campaign cash on city time from an O’Hare contractor, according to an executive from that company. The solicitation was for a Patrick Levar fundraiser.

    –Patrick Levar’s campaign routinely solicits campaign cash from companies that appear in front of the City Council’s Aviation Committee — which he controls as chairman, according to government records and interviews. A Crain’s Chicago Business story from 2008 noted that “three businesses donated money to Alderman Patrick Levar’s campaign fund shortly before or after getting backing for potentially lucrative airport leases” from Levar’s panel.

    Neither Levar has been charged with a crime or formally accused of wrongdoing.

    Patrick Levar has been a union backer for decades — and organized labor has backed Patrick Levar.

    Recent campaign disclosure filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections show more than $13,000 in union donations to his campaign funds in the first half of this year alone. (Those contributions are from union groups; there likely are more from individual members.)

    A labor group run by the Duff family — some of whose members have reputed organized crime ties — gave $500 to Levar during that period, records show.

    Other donations flowed from unions representing carpenters, sprinkler fitters, electricians, laborers, sheet metal workers, ironworkers, operating engineers and plumbers.

    Levar himself used to be on the payroll of the old hotel employees union when it was run by the late labor boss (and reputed mob associate) Ed Hanley.

    The city-federal investigation reportedly is marching along, but it’s unclear what, if anything, it will yield.

  2. Daley administration official targeted for firing after allegedly dispatching city crews to private sites
    (POSTED: 1/23/10) A high-ranking Daley administration official who was described at the Robert Sorich trial as a cog in the city’s patronage hiring operation should be fired, a government watchdog is recommending.

    But being part of a scheme to hire and promote politically connected employees wasn’t Deputy Water Management Commissioner Tommie Talley’s only alleged transgression.

    Talley also dispatched city water department crews to work at private sites — including Nativity of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church, the mayor’s ancestral parish in Bridgeport, Chicago’s inspector general found, according to city government sources.

    Talley, a veteran city worker allied with the Daley family’s 11th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, couldn’t be reached, and a city spokesman had no immediate comment.

    At the Sorich trial several years ago, Talley was mentioned on the stand by Hired Truck czar-turned-government witness Donald Tomczak as one of the city officials who helped facilitate the city’s rigged hiring process.

    Sorich, who oversaw Mayor Daley’s patronage activities, was convicted in the case and sent to prison. Talley was not charged, and kept his city job.

    But the allegation was pursued by the inspector general’s office, which also looked into separate claims that Talley was directing city water department resources toward select private sites.

    One of those spots, sources said, was Nativity of Our Lord. That’s where the mayor grew up, and it was Sorich’s home parish as well.

    In spring 2008, one of the church buildings was getting water. Somewhere along the line, someone contacted Ald. James Balcer (11th), who called Water Management Commissioner John Spatz to have it checked out, sources said.

    The commissioner reached out to Talley, who dispatched crews to the church at 37th and Union, sources said.

    It was quickly evident that the trouble — later diagnosed as a “collapsed pipe” near the foundation — wasn’t on public property and should have been handled by the church, a source said.

    But city crews excavated the site nonetheless, and even called in a contractor to help pinpoint the problem, the source said.

    “By the time they started digging, they knew it shouldn’t have been their problem, but they went ahead with it regardless — and this was at Talley’s insistence and behest,” the source said.

    The Rev. Dan Brandt said that while city crews were on the scene for a time, he stressed that the church paid a private company to ultimately fix the piping issues.

    “I really don’t give a whole lot of credence to what they [at the inspector general’s office] have to say,” said Brandt, the pastor.

    Balcer declined to comment, saying “it’s a pending investigation.”

    The amount of taxpayer resources expended on the job was not immediately clear; whatever the ultimate pricetag, the city has the option of pursuing restitution from Talley.

    There were at least a couple of other similar instances in which city water crews did work on private sites, sources said, although those details were not available.

    This week the inspector general’s office forwarded its findings to top city officials, who now must decide whether to accept the recommendation to fire Talley.

  3. Chicago’s top 2 hiring watchdogs under fire
    CITY HALL | Inspector general seeks suspensions for alleged mishandling of sexual harassment complaint

    January 24, 2010

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
    The future of the office Mayor Daley created to police city hiring is in question following the release of a report recommending 30-day suspensions for its two top officials.

    The report by Inspector General Joe Ferguson accuses Daley’s Office of Compliance chief Anthony Boswell and deputy Mark Meaney of mishandling and then dismissing an intern’s 2008 sexual harassment complaint against a 911 center official. Boswell and Meaney were already advocating for that official on a separate personnel issue.

    Office of Compliance chief Anthony Boswell reportedly has lost the trust of the federal hiring monitor.

    “Both should have realized the clear conflict of interest” and recused themselves, a source said.

    When then-sexual harassment officer Andra Gomberg insisted on an investigation and then counselling for the alleged harasser, Boswell tried to get Gomberg fired, only to have the mayor’s chief of staff intervene.

    That prompted Boswell to file his own complaint, accusing the mayor’s office of political interference — which is why the inspector general inherited the mess. Gomberg recently went to work for the Chicago Board of Education.

    Boswell and Meaney could not be reached. Daley has 30 days to act on the inspector general’s recommendation.

    Further complicating the issue is the identity of the alleged harasser, who is accused of creating a hostile work environment by making suggestive comments about the intern’s appearance and repeatedly asking her out, including invitations to join him on his boat.

    He’s a high-ranking 911 center deputy who was stripped of his responsibilities in 2008 after providing information to investigators probing alleged contract irregularities that cost taxpayers $2.25 million. The inspector general pressured the city to reverse the punishment.

    Boswell has nearly two years left on his term and can only be fired for cause, with the right to appeal to the City Council.

    If Ferguson’s complaints were happening in a vacuum, the $4 million-a-year Office of Compliance would have a better chance of surviving the harassment episode.

    But federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan is so fed up with Boswell for allegedly covering up hiring irregularities he’s supposed to correct that she wants nothing more to do with him, sources said.

    “She doesn’t trust him. She feels like she’s been lied to. She’s told the mayor’s office, ‘I’m done with this guy,'” said a source familiar with her complaints. “This guy is gonna be gone, and what’s left of the office won’t be much. This report is the final straw.”

    Brennan has been monitoring city hiring since the 2005 scandal that culminated in the conviction of Daley’s former patronage chief on charges of rigging city hiring.

    If the monitor has no confidence in the office that’s supposed to replace her, Daley will have a tough time getting out from under the Shakman decree, which he desperately wants to do.

    The clock is ticking. U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, who has overseen the long-running Shakman case, is due to retire in August. If court oversight doesn’t end by then, the case will be assigned to a new judge, and it could continue for years.

    Daley created the Office of Compliance in 2007 because he didn’t trust then-Inspector General David Hoffman, who had repeatedly embarrassed the mayor.

    Now that Hoffman has been replaced by the lower-key but equally independent Ferguson, Daley might feel comfortable having the inspector general implement a hiring system free of politics.

    But he would still have to decide what to do about policing Chicago’s scandal-scarred minority business program. That perennial headache was transferred to the Office of Compliance last summer, along with nine extra employees and $1.1 million in added spending.

    Daley declined comment Saturday, saying he had yet to see the new report.

    The original plaintiff in the Shakman case has also been critical of Boswell and weighed in again in a Jan. 11 report to the judge.

    Michael Shakman complained of “stonewalling” by the Office of Compliance.

    If “one of the offices charged with rooting out and preventing misconduct in hiring repeatedly disregards the [monitor’s] authority and this court’s orders while the city is operating under supervision, what confidence can be placed in the [office] as a substitute for monitoring … when court supervision has terminated?” Shakman wrote.

  4. Hmmmm possibly the judge can get Saul’s job back for him. Gee Pat, it’s too bad you did not cover the story of one of your guys geting fired because of living out of the city! But that ust just not be news! (Response) Mayor Daley lives in Michigan and Patrick Daley lices in Russia. Are you happy, no name?

  5. That is your response to the residency requirements. The Mayor lives in Michigan. Really, he lives in Michigan. Maybe what i am trying to say is “The Mayor Lives in Michigan?” That is all you can come up with about residency. Who cares where the son lives; I don’t. But i care that you are a biased hypocrate that himself lived outside the city. A whistleblower that breaks the city rules. Now that i a guy with a cause. Maybe you need a new “mastercraft” after your propane explosion. Does lawsuit hypocrate come on a line item of the W-2. It should! What a terible way to emass wealth. Whistebower? Blow this O===>.(Response) Quite FRANKLY, these kind of posts have been removed many times from this website. I do not care what you post but put your name on the post. Enjoy the site but make posts that challenge us, most the visitors on this site are educated.

  6. Nice responce Pat, the Mayor lives in Mich, and his son blah blah. You side step your responces just like the Mayor, give some bullsh** answer that is way off and has nothing to do with the post and change the subject at the same time. Bravo! the Mayor would be proud of you!

Comments are closed.