29Nov/120

The Sun Tribune, Chicago’s Newspaper Combine

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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 thalleged Frawley-McMaholawsuit 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.

Get it?

[hat tip: John “Combine” Kass]

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21Apr/120

The Chicago Gulag discredits “CI2”

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Introducing Nimat Tovakaz, Illinois PayToPlay’s Foreign Correspondent, The Istanbulum Gazetesi

Regarding the federal sentencing of Daniel T. Frawley, former business partner of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Sun Times reports that,

“[Judge Ronald] Guzman ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation and to serve time in a facility that has mental health services.”

This statement came in the context of Guzman’s noting that it’s been six years since Frawley was arrested for the crime for which he now faces jail time.

Also, it came in the context of the Times’ statement that,

“Over three years, Daniel T. Frawley would meet with government agents in an ‘off-campus,’ secret location. There, he divulged details used in at least a half-dozen different investigations, including the federal government’s case against Tony Rezko, a onetime fundraiser for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama before he became president.”

According to his attorney, being “wired up” was a “risky endeavor” for Frawley.

Thomas M. Durkin, one of Frawley’s attorneys, is quoted saying that Frawley was involved in investigation of “several significant public corruption cases”.

What cases were those?  Are they still pending?  If they are, what did the feds just say about the mental stability of their potential confidential informant?

Plus, what impact does the judge’s words have on the alleged “Whistleblower” law suit that the Times contends Frawley filed against his relatives, the McMahon’s, that is allegedly under seal?

If the “significant public corruption cases” Frawley was involved with are buried today, why is that?

No one in the old Chicago media is asking these questions today. Perhaps they’re not authorized to ask.

Frawley is referred to in the government’s motion to arrest Tony Rezko as “CI2,” for confidential informant #2.  His stability was good enough back then to take Tony off the streets while Tony awaited trial, and subsequent conviction.

But at Frawley’s sentencing, the judge tainted Frawley’s character with an implied judgment that Frawley needs medical mental treatment.

Well, perhaps he does.  But not that long ago, Frawley was mentally stable enough to wear a federal wire in dangerous situations.  So now he’s a head case?

Looking at this episode from a foreign perspective, is this what’s going on here in the Gulag that’s Chicago justice?

Forensic psychiatry in Eastern Europe, and in particular in the former Soviet Union, was closely and directly involved in the systematic use of psychiatry for political purposes by declaring political and religious dissidents mentally ill.” (Block, S., & Reddaway, P., 1997, Russia’s Political Hospital, London: Gollancz.)

Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital

USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs

 

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19Apr/120

Sun Times’ report on Frawley sentencing in error

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Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter, Illinois PayToPlay

In an April 19, 2012 Sun Times article entitled “Rezko’s business partner, who wore wire, gets one-year prison sentence,Times reporter Natasha Korecki wrote this:

“The Sun-Times has previously reported that Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity gave a $50 million contract to Companion Security in 2005 to train Iraqi security guards. That deal soon fizzled after a regime change.”

Really? If that’s so then why did Colonel David Hunt (US Army, Ret.) of FOX news fame, according to a confidential informant, send this email to Dan Frawley on June 9, 2007?

From: DHunt12xxx@(Address withheld)

To: dtfcompanion@(Address withheld)

Subject: Dan Call Me Great News

Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2007 20:50:56 EDT

Dan, Dewey, just called. Our guy just got back and is going back again on the 23 of this month. Here is what he learned. The Iraq Government considers your contract valid. Your contract is sitting on the Oil Ministers desk to be discussed and implemented by the Oil Committee. We have a guy on the staff of the committee it turns out a Kurd.

The bad news is that the Oil Committee has not acted on anything in two years....typical for Iraq.

Our guy is going back to try to get the committee to get this started.

I am very surprised and happy for you. I would have thought it was dead in the water.

David

The “Dewey” mentioned in the email is probably Duane R. Clarridge, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for over two decades.  Read about him in the New York Times here.

Both Hunt and Clarridge were contacted by email in mid-March for comment, but have not responded.

Doesn’t sound like the deal “fizzled” in 2005, as the Sun Times reported.  According to the email above, as of June 9 2007 the Iraqi government considered the contract, all 17 pages of it, signed on April 18, 2005 by Frawley, “Chief Executive Officer Operations” for Companion Security, and Faris Al-Bayati, “Security Consultant for the [Iraqi] Ministry of Electricity,” still “valid”.

Also, the Sun Times reported that:

“’It’s not clear to me why this took such a long time,’ {Judge] Guzman said. He called it ‘fundamentally unfair’ to charge someone, give time to rehabilitate, then have them serve their punishment. Guzman ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation and to serve time in a facility that has mental health services.”

Guzman is a judge in the federal court that repeatedly postponed Frawley’s sentencing, dealt with him, according to Guzman, in a “fundamentally unfair” manner, and now the judge says he doesn’t understand how that happened! Really?

It’s as though you go to a fine restaurant – your meal comes late, cold, and bad tasting – and the top chef comes out of the kitchen wearing his tall white hat and says, “Gee, it’s just not clear to me how this happened.”

Lastly, there’s that nagging question of how the Sun Times got access to a sealed law suit allegedly filed by Frawley against the McMahons.  Who leaked it, and why?  And what are the consequences for leaking a sealed court document?

At Illinois PayToPlay, we’re guessing there are no consequences.

 

 

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11Apr/120

Editorial: U.S. Attorney sits on accusations detailing McMahon games with city contracts

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois Pay-to-Play

The lead attorney for Eric Holder’s Department of Selective Justice in the Northeastern District of Northern Illinois has, for years, been sitting on taped conversations that outline how the McMahon companies in Chicago have long played games with city contracts.

Recently, the Sun Times put the McMahon’s in their journalistic crosshairs by citing a Daniel T. Frawley “Whistleblower” lawsuit that we, at IP2P, don’t believe exists.  Now why would they do that?

Because these days the Times gets its marching orders from His Honor Mayor Emanuel, who is out to destroy the myth of the Daley Machine as a regime that made Chicago “the City that works”.  (Meanwhile, the snoring Trib takes it's orders from Rip van Winkle.)  Rahm aims to be heralded as the man who cleaned-up Chicago by revealing the true Daley image as having facilitated “the City that cheats”.

And cheat it does.  The whole nation knows that.  But the nation also assumes that its local branch of the U.S. Department of Justice is working hard to hinder the cheating.  After all, aren’t the crooks of Cook County continually hunted by those intrepid FBI agents of Patrick “Elliott Ness” Fitz’s office, ever alert to the opportunity to stop crime sprees, a la Blago’s.  That’s the meme anyway.

IP2P has recently received summaries of federally monitored conversations from years past that suggest a more accurate image of the local office of Holder’s Department of Selective Justice.  This one suggests an investigative organization on a long voyeuristic trek when it comes to Chicago corruption.  It hides in the shadows, listens in on conversations, and watches criminal activities for years as it waits for…waits for what?

It waits for a green light from incumbent politicos to signal when it’s politically expedient to take out a crooked politician, or a bent real estate speculator?  Or, in the David Koschman case, it sits on evidence of a crooked police official who hindered the murder investigation, and thereby it, too, becomes complicit in the long denial of justice to Mrs. Nancy Koschman for the murder of her son. That’s not Ness-like behavior.

On several occasions, Fitzgerald has said that corruption can only stop when citizens come forward to report what they know.  So should we at IP2P be good citizens and send what we’ve been given to Fitz for further, extensive, thorough, professional “investigation”?   Why bother - they already have it, and have had it for years.

What about the U.S. Attorney’s office enforcing the law based on what they already know?

If not now – then when? When a politician says it’s “OK”?

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3Apr/121

No evidence a Frawley-McMahon Lawsuit was ever filed

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

Illinois PayToPlay (IP2P) has evidence challenging the Sun Times’ claim that Daniel T. Frawley filed a “Whistleblower” lawsuit in July 2011 accusing several McMahon companies of fraudulent business practices over years of contracts with the City of Chicago and other local entities.

On March 25, the day after the Sun Times made the accusation against the McMahon’s, IP2P posted a copy of an alleged Frawley lawsuit received from a confidential source.

On March 26 and again on March 28, IP2P updated the Times’ unfolding story of the Frawley-McMahon lawsuit that, apparently, caused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ban the McMahon electric company from engaging in future city contracts.

Then, on March 30, in an article entitled “Does the Sun Times have a lawsuit accusing the McMahon's of fraudulent practices?,” IP2P posted a January 17, 2012 email in which the confidential source, referred to in our March 25 article, sent an alleged “Whistleblower” lawsuit to the Times. In that email, the source expressed reservations concerning the veracity of the document, leaving it up to the Times to confirm its authenticity.

Today we believe the answer to our question on March 30 is this – No.

Here’s why:

On April 3, nearly nine months after the Times claimed the lawsuit was filed, we contacted attorneys representing the McMahon businesses and were told that the Times’ March 24 article was the first time they heard of a Frawley lawsuit against their clients. And, that they have no proof that a lawsuit exist.

Over several days, IP2P searched for any reference to the lawsuit in court records, and found none.

We considered the unlikely possibility that a judge sealed the suit when it was filed back in July 2010, and that it remains closed today.  But, when the spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office was, on April 2, queried via email as to whether or not such a lawsuit existed, the spokesperson responded, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence of any such lawsuit, and have already explained that no such suit is publicly available to the best of my knowledge.”

So, if the lawsuit is sealed, the Times would have no legitimate access to it.

The credibility of the Times’ reporting on the Frawley-McMahon story now stands in question.

Why won’t the paper reveal what it claims to be the Frawley “Whistleblower” lawsuit?

We believe it’s because it doesn’t exist – and would welcome being proved wrong.

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30Mar/120

Does the Sun Times have a lawsuit accusing the McMahon’s of fraudulent contracting practices?

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Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter, Illinois PayToPlay

About five weeks before the Sun Times stated that a ”Whistleblower” lawsuit had been filed by Daniel T. Frawley accusing the McMahon’s of fraudulent business practices, the paper received a copy of a related document from a source known to Illinois PayToPlay.

Was that mid-January document the basis for the paper’s recent articles about the McMahon’s?  If so, that’s a problem for the paper that begs several questions.

Does the “Whistleblower” lawsuit, mentioned by the Sun Times in that March 24, 2012 article, even exist?  Or, did the paper, now solidly in the political camp of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, take information from an unverified document, leaked to it by a confidential source, and use that information to attack contractors once closely associated with the Daley regime?

The document that Illinois PayToPlay made public on March 25th, came out a day after the Sun Times kicked off a series of pieces dealing with the McMahon’s.  But, the document had been sent to the paper by a confidential source back on January 17, 2012, attached to the email below.

        From: (sender’s name withheld)
        To: "Tim Novak" <tnovak@suntimes.com>, "Tim Novak"
        Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 3:14:57 PM
        Subject: Fwd: Frawley Whistleblower suit ?

        Tim,

The attached doc. came from a source in contact with Dan Frawley. It was initially represented to us as being a "whistleblower lawsuit" that Frawley filed that involves the McMahons. It was also represented as being sealed.

When we questioned the veracity of the document as to whether it was an actual legal filing - since it is a crude read even without the added comments, presumedly from Frawley - the source amended the description and described it as a "prototype" of the lawsuit.

Recently, that same source suggested that Frawley is happy that you're investigating the McMahons via FOIAs. We can't confirm the veracity of the doc., but thought you might find it of some value in pursuit of a possible story.

It is forwarded in confidence. We don't know what to make of it. Maybe you do. Maybe nothing.

 

The sender clearly had reservations about the authenticity of the document as representing an actual, filed lawsuit.

When the Sun Times stated on March 24 that, “Frank McMahon’s first cousin, Daniel T. Frawley, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit in federal court last July accusing McMahon Food, C & C and Krystal of actually being run by men, even though the companies are certified as being women-owned and –operated,” Illinois PayToPlay wondered if the paper had accepted the January 17 document as an actual lawsuit – which seemed unlikely at the time – or had a copy of a genuine, court-filed lawsuit representing Frawley’s accusations.

When a representative of the paper was subsequently asked if a verified, filed lawsuit had been obtained, the representative was unwilling to respond.  Why not?  It was a simple yes-no question.   Perhaps either answer would have caused problems.  A “no” means there is no lawsuit and the paper knows that.  A “yes” could mean someone illegally leaked a sealed court document to the paper.

Illinois PayToPlay wonders if a real, Frawley-initiated, court-filed lawsuit exists, anywhere on the planet. If it does exist, why won’t the Sun Times just show it to its readers?

If it doesn’t exist, then it looks like the paper took an unsubstantiated lawsuit, gleaned allegations from it unfavorable to a contractor for the City of Chicago during the Daley administration, and then used that information to portray Mayor Emanuel as intent on cleaning up the corruption of the previous regime.

In other words, the Sun Times is bending stories to shill for the Emanuel administration?

On March 27, 2012, the Sun Times announced that, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing to permanently ban an electrical contracting company with ties to Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) from getting city work because its owners and their husbands allegedly operated phony women- and minority-owned companies that have gotten millions of dollars in city contracts.”

That announcement came just 72 hours after the Sun Times March 24 article mentioning the Frawley lawsuit. That’s fast. That’s awfully fast. So fast, in fact, that we wonder if the paper knew the ban was already in the works and, in coordination with His Honor’s Office, teed up the ban announcement with its series on the McMahon’s, based on an alleged Frawley “Whistleblower” lawsuit that doesn’t exist.

 

 

 

 

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28Mar/120

Further Update: Details of Frawley v. McMahon “Whistleblower” Lawsuit Just Exposed By Sun Times

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

Further Update:

Apparently, in response to articles recently run by the Chicago Sun Times that state, as fact, that a “Whistleblower” lawsuit was filed by Daniel T. Frawley in July 11, 2011,Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing to permanently ban an electrical contracting company with ties to Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) from getting city work because its owners and their husbands allegedly operated phony women- and minority-owned companies that have gotten millions of dollars in city contracts.”

This proposed ban was announced today, March 28, 2012, in the Sun Times.  

His Honor and the paper must have access to a fully-authenticated, signed copy of a date-stamped lawsuit that we, at Illinois PayToPlay cannot locate. If they don’t, their claims of its existence are specious. But let’s reserve judgment.

We need your help.

If you have proof that such a lawsuit was filed, post here on comment board.

If it was filed and sealed in July 2011, it should be available to the public by now. And, if it was filed and remains sealed, how did the Sun Times get a copy? Are there not illegalities involved in leaking a sealed court document? Lastly, if it was never filed, what’s this assault on the McMahon’s all about anyway?

Developing…

Update:

The Chicago Sun Times has now run the second of what it promises is a three part series concerning a whistleblower lawsuit filed by attorneys representing Daniel T. Frawley.  The Sun Times has yet to provide its readers a copy of that lawsuit.  Is it the same one Illinois Pay-To-Play posted below?  If it is not, it is time for the Sun Times to show its readers the lawsuit on which it’s series is based.  

(Originally posted on Illinois Pay-to-Play  3-25-2012)

In an article dated March 24, 2012, the Chicago Sun Times broke the explosive story of a lawsuit filed July 2011 by Daniel T. Frawley, cooperating federal government mole-informant in Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Tony Rezko, and former Rezko business partner.

According to the Sun Times, the lawsuit charges various members of the McMahon family, associated with McMahon-owned businesses, of fraudulent contracting practices.  The reporters wrote that,

“Frank McMahon’s first cousin, Daniel T. Frawley, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit in federal court last July accusing McMahon Food, C & C and Krystal of actually being run by men, even though the companies are certified as being women-owned and -operated. As a result, Frawley says McMahon Food was able to obtain multimillion-dollar deals with Cook County government, including supplying dairy goods to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.”

Illinois PayToPlay recently received a copy of a “whistleblower” lawsuit attributed to Frawley, by a confidential source, that fits the description of the document exposed by the Sun Times. Uncertain of its authenticity at the time, we chose not to make it public, but do so now.

Here is a pdf. link to the lawsuit we received. Daniel Frawley Whistleblower Lawsuit (PDF) - We have not yet been able to contact the firm named as representing Frawley for comment.

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25Mar/121

Update: Details of Frawley v. McMahon “Whistleblower” Lawsuit Just Exposed By Sun Times

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

Update:

The Chicago Sun Times has now run the second of what it promises is a three part series concerning a whistleblower lawsuit filed by attorneys representing Daniel T. Frawley.  The Sun Times has yet to provide its readers a copy of that lawsuit.  Is it the same one Illinois Pay-To-Play posted below?  If it is not, it is time for the Sun Times to show its readers the lawsuit on which it’s series is based.  

(Originally posted on Illinois Pay-to-Play  3-25-2012)

In an article dated March 24, 2012, the Chicago Sun Times broke the explosive story of a lawsuit filed July 2011 by Daniel T. Frawley, cooperating federal government mole-informant in Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Tony Rezko, and former Rezko business partner.

According to the Sun Times, the lawsuit charges various members of the McMahon family, associated with McMahon-owned businesses, of fraudulent contracting practices.  The reporters wrote that,

“Frank McMahon’s first cousin, Daniel T. Frawley, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit in federal court last July accusing McMahon Food, C & C and Krystal of actually being run by men, even though the companies are certified as being women-owned and -operated. As a result, Frawley says McMahon Food was able to obtain multimillion-dollar deals with Cook County government, including supplying dairy goods to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.”

Illinois PayToPlay recently received a copy of a “whistleblower” lawsuit attributed to Frawley, by a confidential source, that fits the description of the document exposed by the Sun Times.  Uncertain of its authenticity at the time, we chose not to make it public, but do so now.

Here is a pdf. link to the lawsuit we received. Daniel Frawley Whistleblower Lawsuit (PDF) - We have not yet been able to contact the firm named as representing Frawley for comment.

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