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, Illinois Pay-to-Play Political Commentator
It’s hard to report serious news as light comedy. Tribune reporter Eric Zorn tried recently in his article “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make us a match-up”. But the piece was a short round.
For you lifelong civilians, a “short round” is a shell that goes out of an artillery tube after only a portion of the charge propels the business end of the shell. The dud sound that accompanies a short round is unmistakable. The shell explodes short of its target - sometimes with disastrous consequences. Anyway…
Zorn’s piece had something to do with the Republicans not being able to find a viable candidate to run against State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
He believes that the Koschman case is becoming an embarrassment to the State’s Attorney and that she may be vulnerable to an opposing Republican candidate, resulting in a real, contested election for her job. (Eric, go down the hall and let John Kass tell you about the “Combine”.)
Somebody forget to tell Eric that the G.O.P in Crook County is akin to a neutered tomcat who has a vague recollection of what the sport of politics is all about, but has no…ah…capabilities to engage in it.
“It would be nice,” Zorn wrote, if there was a “robust campaign”. Robust is such a robust word. It carries inherent gravitas, as does the word gravitas itsownself. Anyway…
Zorn’s piece would have merely remained a short round, short of being robust, but then he compared the Koschman murder to Trayvon Martin’s death and got all serious on us. Thud went his out-going round.
Of course, they’re alike in that, in both cases, one person killed another. But beyond that, they’re about as similar as the aforementioned neutered tomcat and the tiger that attacked Roy – or was it Siegfried? – during their big cat act in Vegas.
Zorn wrote, “But in both cases there remain ‘troubling questions that have yet to be answered,’ as Toomin put it Friday in his analysis of Koschman. And in both cases, those agencies closest to the original investigation are poorly situated to provide satisfying answers to those questions.”
Well, gee, it’s taken eight years for a judge to come to that conclusion in the Koschman case. But in the Martin case, after about seven weeks, the locals still have control of the investigation and are being scrutinized by the entire national media. Yet, already, Zorn is saying the fix is in?
George Zimmerman was arrested on April 11, 2012, and charged with Second Degree Murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. State Attorney Angela Corey is for real.
But where was Zorn, and where were the other Trib reporters in the days, weeks, and years after David Koschman was killed in 2004?
Zorn wants a real election for Alvarez’s seat. Chicago wants a real newspaper with “Tribune” in the banner.
To parody the close of Zorn’s piece:
Serious responses only. Call 800-500-DOPE and ask for Phil Cline. No baggage. No weirdos.
Update: In the Koschman case then, and McMahon accusations now: What did the feds know, and when did they know it?
Update: Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic
Can the editors at the Sun Times connect the article below to their editorial today entitled “Time to stop defending shabby Koschman probe”? All it requires is connecting the dots. Can they even see the dots?
Here’s their key editorial comment: “It’s time to stop defending a shabby investigation that came to the highly dubious conclusion that Vanecko acted in self-defense.” That’s a certified affirmation of the obvious, albeit several years late to the party.
Now, Times editors, who was a key player in promoting that “highly dubious conclusion”? (Cue the Jeopardy music.) Take your time…
Ah, perhaps Chicago’s former top-cop - Phil Cline – featured below? Ya think?
(Original post 4-8-2012 )
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter, Illinois PayToPlay
On February 28, 2011, when the Sun Times resurrected the Koschman case, the paper noted that,
“Phil Cline, who was then Chicago’s police superintendent, said last week that no charges were filed because Koschman was the aggressor. ‘At the best, it was mutual combatants,’ Cline said. ‘If the other person is the aggressor, then Vanecko has the right to defend himself.’”
Over a year later, on April 6, 2012, the Sun Times noted that, “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.”
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?
McMahon has been recently accused by the Sun Times of engaging in fraudulent business practices in contracts with the City of Chicago.
IP2P recently received this email from a confidential informant. It purports to chronicle the transcript of a bar room conversation between Frank McMahon and “Dan Hebert.” The identity of the person recording the conversation, and the event date, are withheld.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Frawley <email address deleted>
Date: Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 3:53 PM
Subject: TAPE MADE AT HAWKEYE BAR AND GRILL 1410 TAYLOR ST.
To: robert XXXXX <email address deleted>
BOB THE SAME TWO AGENTS WERE IN THE BAR LISTENING WHILE THIS TAPE WAS MADE
SECOND DISC RECORDING/ HEBERT MCMAHON HAWKEYE’S
ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE DOCUMENT/ E. KARNES
I cannot be arrested in Chicago or Cook County it is impossible. Phil Kline is my buddy; I have known him for 20 years. I take care of the Police in Chicago. Phil Kline helps me with my Milk business, if I need anybody pushed around Phil Kline takes care of it for me. I never have any trouble with the Milk drivers; Phil takes care of it, if something is going on at the District, the H.Q. anything, I take care of it. I am on the police memorial Board, I am on a lot of Boards, I contribute money to all of them. Phil Kline and I vacation together in Florida 3-4 times a year, we are real tight.
How about Hinsdale Frank?
When I lived in Hinsdale I would have the Chicago Police drive me home when I was drunk, wherever I was. One Police officer would drive my car and the other copper would follow in the Chicago squad car. I could walk out of Hawkeye’s right now and call the CPD and they would come and pick me up, ha-ha!
I had a Hinsdale Cop pull into my driveway while the CPD squad was there. The Hinsdale cop said, “What’s going on here?” I said, “ the cops drove me home, I’m drunk when I’m sober I drive when I’m drunk the CPD drives.” Hinsdale PD “ I do not understand. Whey don’t they arrest you?” Frank-“Because I am a good Fucking guy, I take care of them.”
Two weeks later Phil Mesi, my cousin and I were all fucked up we had two CPS squads follow us home to Hinsdale, One guy driving my car one driving Phil’s. Two more Hinsdale squads pulled us over and said, “Why are the CPD not arresting you?” I said, “ I’m a good guy. I get the cops whatever they need. I do what ever the coppers need,” “What do you need?” “What does Hinsdale need?” “Booze?’ The Christmas Party, I will pay for whatever it is.” “Now in Hinsdale when the cops pull my kids over they apologize to them and ask how their father (me) is. I paid for all for the Hinsdale Parties. When I moved to Chicago my neighbor, Bataglia, the grocery guy took over Hinsdale for me.
I do the same with the County workers, prosecutors, courts, Police, etc. I take care of all of them any thing they need. Mary B. my daughter is a prosecutor at 26th & California. Mary B.’s boy friend is Judge Mike Murphy’s son. Judge Murphy is out at the Maybrook Courts. Franny my other daughter is in law school. Franny works for Devine’s office on Washington, if she wants to do be a State’s attorney after graduation I’ll get her in there. (Franny is now a State’s Attorney)
I told my kids, “Never admit anything.” Frank got busted using false ID’s in Forest Park, he was using my brothers Tony's son, Tony’s ID’s. Frank got caught and admitted it to the Police, the kid is stupid. ‘I thought you could talk to the Forest Park Cop for me but my Daughter Mary B. knows the prosecutor and has taken care of it, the judge who will be assigned to the case will be known on Monday and I’ll find out who the judge is. I can do a lot with judges in Chicago. Mary B. has taken care that.
I want Mary B. to become a judge, I have met with the judges down the street from 26th and California to take care of that, if that is what she wants she is in.
Frank tell them about the BIG copper
Chicago has a big cop on the Eisenhower around Kedzie, The guy is famous, 6’8” 325 lbs. I am really drunk and I get pulled over the copper sees me and apologizes to me for pulling him over and wishes me a good night and to drive save.
Another time the cops came up to my car and I had $15 grand cash on me.
Does this mean that the U.S. Attorney’s Office sat silent as the Koschman investigation was sabotaged for years, and, all the while, was aware of the protective relationship between Chicago’s top-cop and an alleged corrupt city contractor?