Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic
Isn’t it amazing!
State Senator Donne Trotter tries to pack a piece onto an airplane and, presto, those intrepid reporters at the Chicago Sun Times suddently discover all sorts of interesting things about Donne’s Night Doings.
The ink’s hardly dry on his bail paperwork and already those Times’ journalistic sleuths Natasha Korecki and Chris Fusco have discovered that “The security company employing state Sen. Donne Trotter has been paid more than $350,000 as a subcontractor on a City of Chicago security deal and is represented by a politically powerful lobbying firm run by a onetime top aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley.”
What a shocker!
And there are more sudden revelations: “Records show that AllPoints Security and Detective Inc. is represented by Chico & Nunes, a lobbying firm headed by Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico. Chico & Nunes is a registered lobbyist with the city and its specialty is certifying businesses to become women- and minority-owned companies. That distinction gives them a leg up to win city business.”
Is the ubiquitous interlinking of Chicago’s political-interests incestuous, or what?
Donne chairs the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee and he does…something…maybe…for a company represented by Gery Chico’s lobby-law firm; he heads the Illinois State Board of Education.
What’s next: Jack Lavin on the AllPoints Board of Directors?
Oh, and did we mention that the Executive Director for Business Development and Marketing at AllPoints used to work in the Office of the Mayor of Chicago, in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, at Cook County Stroger Hospital, and at the Chicago Urban league – all in Public Relations or Communications functions.
But hey, so what? Everyone not working in their first job has to have worked somewhere else, and the city, county, and state employ a lot of people. A whole lot.
Donne apparently has trouble living on his $90 grand from the Illinois State Treasury so he moonlights as a .25 cal pistol-packing security guard? (Is it okay to laugh out loud at this point?)
In the meantime, Illinois ranks 5th place among states with the highest debt-per-capita, at $21,607 per person And the guy who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee is night security guard? Stop it – you’re killin’ me.
You just can’t make this stuff up – assuming it’s true and Donne’s job responsibilities are not turning off the men’s toilet lights on even-numbered Thursdays, in months with an “r”, during alternate Leap Years.
So all of a sudden, the Times discovers Donne’s side job. Plus, the dogged reporters find that “The company [AllPoints] has made $49,000 in campaign contributions to local and state politicians since 2002, including to Daley, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and $500 to Trotter.”
They don’t call it “pay-to-play” cause it’s bingo.
Donne has been a favorite to take over J.J. Jr.’s job as a member of The United States House of Representatives and the Times just now learns that he moonlights for a security company represented by Gery Chico’s lobbying law firm, and that the company had made contributions to Donne’s campaigns?
Wow! It’s as though the reporters at the Sun Times have awaken from a Totter coma.
Or, was all this stuff common newsroom knowledge and recent circumstances provided a convenient opportunity to use it – before the Trib did?
Editorial Staff, Illinois PayToPlay
There remains the matter of how the investigation of David Koschman’s death died before it ever really got started back in 2004.
As some in the Chicago media applaud themselves for having doggedly pursued the case for over eight years – a self-serving, silly exaggeration – serious unanswered questions remain.
The scope of those unanswered questions was suggested by the judge who kicked-off the re-examination – if there ever was an original search for the truth - of Koschman’s death as reported by the Sun Times:
“Cook County Circuit Judge Michael P. Toomin in announcing his ruling that a special prosecutor will re-examine the 2004 death of David Koschman after being punched by Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley” stated that: ‘A decided interest in preventing or impeding the prosecution, a denigration of the existing exculpatory evidence and, probably the most prominent impropriety, the fiction of self-defense, supported only by oft-repeated conclusions that David Koschman was the aggressor, a host of statements in the exhibits, detectives, particularly Detective [James] Gilger, the last to be quoted, Superintendent Phil Cline, Mr. O’Brien and the state’s attorney herself.’”
IP2P reported in April 2012 that:
“It’s beyond dispute that Cline played a pivotal role in assuring that the investigation into the fatal assault on David Koschman was stunted by the ‘oft-repeated conclusions that David Koschman was the aggressor’. So, how long have the feds known that Cline was, according to a June 2011 email sent from Daniel T. Frawley to a confidential source simply referred to as ‘Bob,’ a protective ‘buddy’ of Frank McMahon?”
The initial inquiry into the Koschman death didn’t die on its own. It was killed, and buried, by a cabal of city and county officials who wanted it to go away. Any other explanation of what happened in 2004 requires a willing suspension of disbelief.
Consequently, the story of David Koschman’s tragic death will not be completed until we know who spiked the initial investigation.
So we wonder: Are there more indictments yet to come from the Grand Jury? Or is Vanecko the end of it?
If his indictment is all there is, we predict Vanecko will plea bargain a sentence of several years probation.
Rather than a public civil trial, negotiations with Vanecko’s legal counsel will lead to an out-of-court settlement involving an undisclosed payment to Mrs. Koschman for the wrongful death of her only son.
The Sun Times will applaud itself for having played a key role in bringing closure to the Koschman family.
And, the current City Hall regime will privately celebrate having orchestrated a puppet show that brought embarrassment to the previous regime.
And it will be just one more case of justice delayed being justice denied.
The Chicago Way.
Thomas Barton, Political Commentator
ABC 7 News dissed distinguished Illinois State Senator Donne Trotter by announcing his arrest at O’Hare Airport for having tried to take an “unloaded .25-caliber pistol and an ammunition clip containing five bullets in a carry-on bag onto an airplane”.
What’s the big deal?
Chicagoans all know, or should, that Trotter is “anti-gun”. For example,
“In 1995, Trotter voted ‘no’ on narrowly-defeated legislation to allow Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms. Illinois is the only state in the nation where citizens have no concealed carry rights. Two years later, he voted ‘present’ on a measure that ultimately passed both the Senate and the House that would have reduced the penalty for getting caught with a concealed firearm. That bill died through amendatory veto by then Gov. Jim Edgar.
There’s more. While police sources said that Trotter did have a valid firearms owner’s identification card, (FOID), it listed his Springfield office as his address, in apparent violation of state law requiring the card carrier’s residence be provided. It will be interesting to see if that pistol was registered in Chicago, as required by city ordinance.”
Picky, picky, picky.
According to ABC 7 News, “The senator has a FOID card and was licensed to carry the weapon on his job. However, [Asst. State’s Attorney] Scaduto told the court the gun was not registered in the City of Chicago. “ So? What’s the problem? Register it now.
Look, all we need is a standard retroactive administrative adjustment (SRAA) to square-up Donne with the law. How hard can that be in the Chicago judicial system? What - two phone calls hard?
He needs to “carry the weapon on his job” down in Springfield, we’re told. Of course he does. It’s a lawless place down there. Shootouts regularly break out in the Capital Building on the floor of the Senate. Gang bangers abound.
So what if Donne wants his piece on an airplane? He’s not a terrorist – except maybe when it comes to Illinois finances. We won’t talk about that, though. Sorry I mentioned it.
Recall that, once-upon-a-time, Chicago’s early and leading advocate of a strict ban on handguns was none other than First Ward Alderman Fred Roti, who, thanks to the testimony of former mob lawyer turned informant Robert “Bob” Cooley, was revealed to be a member of the Chicago mob. The Outfit doesn’t want average citizens packing either - just its wise guys.
But nobody is accusing Donne of being mobbed-up just because he’s against citizens carrying a weapon, although he does. He’s special. He’s an important Illinois State Senator, for heaven sakes. Come on - he needs self-protection.
Donne wants Jesse Jackson Junior’s old congressional job. Don’t forget, J. J. Jr. is a self-described martial arts expert, making his hands lethal weapons. They let him fly without handcuffing him.
(Although they might have flown him in handcuffs had he not resigned, but that’s another story – only lightly covered by the Chicago media, by the way.)
So let’s give Donne a break. Stop dissing him!
Haven’t we all had occasion to recall, at the last minute, that we’re packing a piece as we’re about to climb aboard?
Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic
Does anyone really think a Daley would have been indicted, after nearly a decade, for killing David Koschman if there was still a Daley in the Mayor’s Office?
If you do, see me. I’m selling $100 tickets to the Grand Opening of Al Capone’s recently discovered hideout containing his cache of money and secrets – this time for real.
Does anyone really think those intrepid “Watch Dogs” at the Sun Times – an affiliate of the Chicago newspaper combine we call the Sun Tribune – just decided that, about seven years after Koschman died in a late-night street incident involving a Daley, that the event should be…revisited?
If you do, see me. I’ve trained a Pekingese to sing Irish drinking songs and he rents for only $1,000 a night to entertain at parties – that is, if he’s in the mood to sing. If not, you’re still out the grand.
And now, on the heels of those two improbabilities come statements from Uncle Bill Daley about his nephew, the recently indicted for manslaughter Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko. Innocent until proven guilty, of course.
Uncle Bill said that R.J. is “basically a good kid“. The “kid” is 38 years old, by the way. Uncle Bill added, “The death of the young man was a terrible tragedy. The pain which his family has felt over those years — anyone who has lost a child knows that. It’s irreplaceable pain.”
The Times’ soberly reminds us that “Daley lost 8-year-old son Richard J. Daley II to a rare lung disease in 1985.” That means, of course, that Uncle Bill’s empathy for the Koschman family is genuinely heartfelt.
But deadly disease, while tragic, particularly when it afflicts a young person, is not a crime.
The Times’ article tells us that “The former Commerce secretary said there are advantages to being a member of what’s been Chicago’s most politically powerful family for the past half-century, but also disadvantages.”
The Times’ quotes from Uncle Bill continue: “’I think we’ve been the beneficiaries of enormous opportunity,’ Daley said. ’Every one of us knows that. Everyone knows we were blessed to havesuch great parents and a father who decided to spend his life in public service, as did his son, my brother Rich. And all of us have tried to do it right and live good lives, as everybody does.’”
Did we miss something here? Is David Koschman accused of killing R.J.? Are we supposed to feel sorry for the “good kid” R.J.?
At the point the Times’ article has fully entered into the Land of Surreal there comes this Uncle Bill quote: “Asked if the Daley family tie had hurt or harmed the 38-year-old Vanecko in the Koschman case, Daley said, ‘I’m not going to — you know, he suffers with the fact that he is related.’”
Oh, really? Thirty-eight year old “Kid” Vanecko suffers with the fact that he’s related to the Daley family? Is that why he skated on this charge for nearly a decade, because the authorities wanted him to suffer with guilt?
The sad truth is that justice suffered because Vanecko is related to the Daley family.
Makes you wonder: Is all this high jingo a set-up for a plea bargain based on R.J.’s time-served in a prolonged state of mental anguish as he dealt with his unresolved and unacknowledged personal feelings of possible guilt?
Which brings us back to the initial question: Does anyone really think a Daley would have been indicted, after nearly a decade, for killing David Koschman if there was still a Mayor Daley –any first-name Mayor Daley?
Looks like one of the advantages Uncle Bill mentioned of being a member of Chicago’s most politically powerful family is the ability to get away with a charge of manslaughter - that is until a new regime takes over City Hall and gives its dedicated shill media outlet the green light to go after a Daley.
When Rahmbo runs for re-election, he sure doesn’t want to run against a new first-name Daley.
David Koschman and his mother are, of course, the most egregiously damaged victims here, but the by-standing citizens of Crook County are victims, too.
Because if somebody like David Koschman doesn’t count until the political winds shift – then nobody counts.
It’s Howdy Doody Time in Chicago again, folks.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Reporters John Chase, Jeff Coen, their employer the ChicagoTribune and the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) of the Northern District of Illinois are, and have long been, involved in a criminal cover-up.
Chase and Coen have published information they know to be false, both in their newspaper, and in their co-authored, recently-released book entitled Golden.
The spreading of false information is being done with co-operation and guidance from the USAO and Holder’s DoJ.
ILP2P has received information from a credible source suggesting the involvement of members of the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Oversight Committee in this cover-up.
Furthermore, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s recent resignation is an element of the cover-up.
Conveniently, the Ethics Committee will no longer be investigating Jackson’s attempted purchase of Obama's vacated senate seat.
Its time for John Chase, Jeff Coen, Jesse Jackson Jr and Patrick Fitzgerald to answer question.
Time to answer to We the People.
Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic Chicago Tribune columnist and political satirist John Kass coined the term “combine” to refer to the combination of Illinois pols from both the Democrat and Republican parties who combine their efforts to fleece the Illinois public.
It fits nicely with political reality.
It also fits when applied to the two, big, daily newspapers that represent Chicago’s dead tree media: the Tribune and the Sun Times.
Each has their benefactors and constituency, like the two political parties, but, like the two political parties in Illinois, they really don’t compete against each other. They combine their efforts to share the market that is Chicagoland’s designated “big” stories.
Take, for example, the David Koschman Case. The Sun Times resurrected the story about the same time it, coincidentally, became the media shill for the new Rahm Emanuel regime in City Hall. Their motive? Discredit the former long-standing Daley regime machine, and, thereby, build up the new, more honest, City Hall bunch in-charge.
In the meantime, Koschman Case Special Prosecutor Dan Webb has, to date, billed $585,000 while conducting an alleged investigation into the incident that happened over 8 years ago. It’s just another charade for the benefit of the Cubs, Bears and Sox fans. (A better use of that money, and much more, would have been to give it to Mrs. Koschman for the wrongful death of her son.)
Then there’s the alleged Frawley-McMahon lawsuit that the Times reported – only to have it vanish from view in a couple of days, like a mole that sticks its head up from its hole, and then ducks back down. Just another effort to smear a former Daley crony. It went nowhere – just where it was intended to go.
On the other side, there’s the Trib’s involvement in the Blago Saga when one of its reporters tips off Blago that his phone is bugged by the feds. Then, behold, out comes a book by two Trib reporters that reveals the paper received special, privileged information from the US Attorney’s Office. (Even going back to the original tip-off to Blago, you suppose?)
So did you hear the Sun Times cry “Foul,” and “Hey, how’d the Trib get special treatment?”“Where’s ours?” No you didn’t – and you won’t.
Why not? Because the two papers are not competitors. It’s a combine arrangement.
They each get their share, play their designated role, and maintain the pretense of an independent, competitive newspaper environment where the truth comes out as eager reporters hustle to scoop each other on the next big story. The stuff of Hollywood movies.
In true life, the newspaper combine matches the political combine that Kass has long highlighted.
And it works, both for the pols and for the newspaper editors and reporters.
Why: Because the suckers keep reading the dead trees thinking they’re getting “the news,”when what they’re really getting is the news the combine wants them to get.
[hat tip: John “Combine” Kass]
Thomas Barton, Investigative Reporter
When is the Department of Justice going to give other news outlets access to the Blago tapes and transcripts-startng with the Chicago Sun Times? They deserve a copy, don't they?
After all, the feds gave copies to John Chase and Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.
In-fact, according to an article published by the Indiana University School of Journalism, Jeff Coen revealed that the Tribune had access to wiretap tapes and transcripts before Blagojevich's second trial in 2011. Quoting from that journal:
"Even though they were working on the book outside their day jobs, the two said the Tribune required that if any information surfaced that could be considered breaking news, they had an obligation to bring it before the newspaper first. For example, as current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was running for office, the pair’s editors wanted to know the two had turned up anything about Emanuel as they researched their book.
'We got all the tapes for this project now, but even before that, I had to go get Rahm-specific tapes to try to make sure we wouldn’t get beat on something,’ Coen said. ‘We were kind of working both jobs at the same time.' "
So far, ILP2P has not succeeded in securing our copies. But it’s is only a matter of time; the feds wouldn't just give them to only the Trib - would they?
We wonder – are other news outlets around the country, and in Chicago, experiencing trouble getting their copies, too?
They must be, or we’d be reading the transcripts in their newspapers, or be hearing the tapes on their local or national TV and radio programs.
There’s nothing stopping the Chicago Tribune from making the tapes, and transcripts, available to the public. At least, nothing legally preventing that from happening.
So why is the Trib stashing the Blago tapes in a vault like the Tribune owned LATimes did with the Rashid Khalidi tape?
Why don’t you ask Tribune Editor Gerould Kern: Email email@example.com Tel 312-222-5555
Those concerned about preserving the fourth estate should demand the same access to the Blago files that the feds granted Chase and Coen.
If you believe that, tell it to the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago: Samborn contact info here: Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 312-353-5318 Cell 312 613-6700
And, ask Congressman Darrell Issa’s office if it’s even legal for the feds to only give access to the tapes & transcripts to the Trib:
All they can say is…nothing. And that alone will tell you something.
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Why would James B. Comey appoint Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel on a case that was already solved?
Why would he even appoint a Special Counsel at all when Richard Armitage, the man responsible for exposing the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame to the media, had already confessed and had not even hired an attorney to represent him?
Who is James B. Comey?
James B. Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) was U.S.Deputy Attorney General in the George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy A.G., Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the Department of Justice (DOJ). He ran the day-to-day operations of the DoJ, serving in that office from December 2003-August 2005.
Comey had been U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York before becoming Deputy A.G.
In December 2003, he appointed his close friend and former colleague, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, to be the Special Counsel leading the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.
In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and became General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Lockheed Martin. From there he went on to Bridgewater Associates in June 2010.
In 2009, Comey’s total compensation package at Lockheed Martin was 6,113,797. Apparently, no one in the media cared that Lockheed worked closely with the Cohen Group where Marc Grossman was Vice Chairman.
Grossman was a key figure in Patrick Fitzgerald's quest to find out who leaked that Valarie Plame worked for the CIA.
Before Fitzgerald’s investigation team even bought their office supplies, Comey and Fitz knew that Armitage had, innocently he claimed, leaked the knowledge about Valarie Plame to, now deceased, columnist Bob Novak.
Comey left Lockheed to work at Bridgewater Associates and then, after a short stay at Bridgewater, he became a partner with Attorney General Eric Holder's former law firm, Covington & Burling.
What do Lockheed Martin and the Cohen Group have in common? Did they have any vested interests in Iraq or Afghanistan while Fitzgerald was chasing down the phantom leaker? Did the old media ever explore that possibility?
Has any reporter ever asked Fitzgerald or Comey why a phantom leaker was sought after the real leaker had already confessed? Did any Tribune or Sun Times reporter ever pose that question to Fitz?
Has anyone asked former New York Times writer Judith Miller how she feels about having spent nearly three months in jail after Fitz already knew that Armitage was the leaker? Does that make her a victim of wrongful imprisonment?
What does Scooter Libby say about all this?
And, lastly, did Fitzgerald or Comey violate any laws during this Kabuki dance?
Many questions – no media interest – hence, no answers. Nothing to see here folks, move along. It’s the Chicago Way.
Next..... Where did Dick Armitage eventually land?
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Chase told a source that Tony Rezko lived with the Michael family when he came to Chicago from Lebanon as a young man. Chase said that Michael was involved with Rezko in securing reconstruction contracts in Iraq. And, that Michael was trying to get Federal and Illinois state funding for a project involving property he owned in Iraq.
When pressed for details, Chase would not disclose where the monies would come from, nor for what purposes they’d be granted.
Chase was also the first to confirm that the “John Doe” filed lawsuit against the Sun Times was filed by Dr. Ronald Michael. Furthermore, Chase confirmed that Michael threatened to sue Chase and the Trib if he, Chase, outed him as Mr. Doe.
Michael's threat worked.
John Chase, who has much to tell about the mystery man who, according to Chase, gave convicted felon Tony Rezko his start in Chicago, has never told Tribune readers what he knows.
Oh, did we mention that Michael was on the Blagojevich $25,000 Donor Clout List? And that Michael’s name also appeared on a list of possible appointees to the Illinois Health Planning Board with the initials “TR” next to it?
Michael was not appointed to the Planning Board, but his friends Dr. Fortunee Massuda, Dr. Michel Malek, and Dr. Imad Almanaseer were.
Michael followed the banking route instead, and that venture will cost the FDIC over $3,000,000. (Stand by, we’ll have more on the bank thing later.)
Why would someone who purports to be a "journalist and author" leave out such relevant, interesting and important information from his articles and book?
John, you saving the good stuff for a screenplay, or what?
Meanwhile, the Valarie Plame story is falling apart. Who will have the most interesting story there - once-jailed New York Times journalist Judith Miller, or John Chase?
Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic & Thomas Barton, Political Commentator
Recently, the chutzpa of the Chicago Sun Times was on full display in their reporting of events involving employees of Mayor Rahmbo’s City Hall recording their phone conversation with Chicago Tribune reporters.
The act of recording the reporters without their knowledge is a felony in Illinois. Recently, there have been high profile eavesdropping cases that are being scrutinized, or to Illinois’ shame, not being scrutinized.
One case in particular, that illustrates the hypocrisy of the current situation on so many different levels, was brought against Annabel Melongo who was jailed as a political prisoner in Crook County for over a year-and-a-half.
Here is what one of the Times’ investigative “Watch Dog” reporters, Carol Marin, wrote about how Mayor Rahmbo handled the Tribune eavesdropping episode:
So, is Carol Marin, now, finally, taking up the cause for Annabel Melongo who was wrongly-incarcerated for 20 months?
Or, did the Times, via Marin, just aim to send the Tribune, and anyone else who might consider making an issue of Rahmbo’s City Hall violating eavesdropping laws, a message that he/she will open the can of worms known as the Save-A-Life-Foundation Scandal if the scrutiny of City Hall does not cease immediately?
(Oh, BTW, the Illinois Attorney General is allegedly investigation the Save-A-Life Foundation’s questionable money reporting – “allegedly” is the operative word.)
We are guessing the latter – that Marin/Times sent a message to back off their guy Rahmbo.
Although, incurably optimistic, we do hope against hope that the Times is preparing to expose the all-too-common practice of imprisoning people for political reasons in "The Peoples Republic of Cook County”. Hey, we can dream.
P.S.: One of the Time’s “Watch Dogs” told a writer for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism in 2010 that the Time’s editors told that reporter not to report on the Melongo case because “there wasn’t time to do the story justice”.