Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
This may come as no surprise, but Rod Blagojevich's get-out-of-jail deal not only involves the federal prosecutors and his defense team, it also included the direct involvement of the Chicago Tribune.
That's because, as part of his deal to get out of prison, Rod Blagojevich agreed to let Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen lie to the public about the wiretap tapes that put him there.
Due to some excellent investigative reporting by Barbara Hollingsworth, who now writes for CNS News, we know that the feds gave Chase and Coen copies of court-sealed tapes and transcripts from the Blagojevich case.
Gee, why would the FEDS do that?
Simple. Chase and Coen were instructed to tell the public that they listened to all the sealed tapes and found nothing interesting on them.
We know differently because Blago was caught on tape talking to some of the top power brokers in the country, including Obama and his chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel.
So the real question you must ask is:
Why would Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers, who knew very well the explosive contents of the conversations caught on those tapes, allow Chase and Coen to lie about them?
Facing 14 years in federal prison, Blagojevich should have dragged Chase and Coen in front of Judge Zagel and made them tell the court who gave them tapes and transcripts that he had placed under seal. But Blago didn't.
The $64k question is why?
Blago's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, has confirmed that there is and never was anything stopping Blago from telling the public what is on the tapes, which he insist to this day prove his innocence.
So why did Blago and his attorneys let Chase and Coen's public proclamation that the contents of the sealed tapes confirm his guilt go unchallenged?
And why is Blago pretending he wants the tapes to be unsealed when he is completely ignoring the fact that the Chicago Tribune claims to have copies?
More importantly, why are the feds insisting the tapes stay sealed nearly 2 years after they gave copies to the two Chicago Tribune reporters-who have refused to make them public?
What possible reason could Chase and Coen have not to release the transcripts?
The answer is that Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen are lying to the public, the feds put them up to it, and Blago agreed to go along with the deception as part of his get-out-of-jail deal.
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Any politician who wants to wield supreme power in Chicago must control the Cook County State Attorney's Office.
The Chicago Sun Times, Rahm Emanuel's Pravda, took a big step toward giving that power to the Mayor.
For those not familiar with Chicago politic's, put simply, it's a protection racket. And the Cook County State Attorney's Office is the "Muscle".
Here's how it works: Eight years ago, Mayor Daley controlled "The Machine". So it was dictated - probably not by His Honor himself, but by others - that there'd be no real investigation into the death of David Koschman, and that the Chicago media would ignore the event.
Why? Because the man responsible for David Koschman's premature death was a Daley family member, and, therefore, a protected member of "The Machine".
Fast forward to present day: The current Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, needs to control the States Attorney's Office. So his journalistic minions at the Chicago Sun Times resurrect, and then use, the tragedy of David Koschman's death, to dismantle the power of State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, and thereby future discredit the"Daley Machine," so Rahm can replace it with the "Emanuel Politburo".
It's that simple. And it's that disreputable.
The investigation into the death of David Koschman was derailed eight years ago due to political power.
It was resurrected in order to gain political power.
Justice doesn't figure into the equation.
Welcome to the People's Republic of Crook County.
The Cook County States Attorney's Office is the "Muscle" in Chicago, and Rahm "Never let a crisis go to waste" Emanuel, is well on his way to taking control of it.
Bye, bye, Anita
Related Story on how the "Muscle" and the media operates in Chicago:
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.
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.
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”.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Michael Sneed is the Chicago Sun Times columnist to whom Rod Blagojevich passed false stories that he wanted printed in her paper. This was documented in the Blagojevich trial. Now, it looks like Patrick Fitzgerald has taken a page from Blago’s playbook and followed Blago’s example.
After Fitz publicly scoffed at the idea of joining a private law firm, he…joined a private law firm.
Back on September 24, 2012, Sneed reported that:
“Sneed hears rumbles former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald may be this/close to joining a prestigious law firm in Chicago. A Sneed source, who claims Fitzgerald had narrowed his choices to three firms, stated: ‘Everyone has been after him to join their firm. I’m told he should be making his decision within the next week or so… Close friends have speculated in the past Fitzgerald would become legal counsel for a large corporation.’"
Okay, so Sneed and the Sun Times’ editors recognized that the report that Fitz was about to flip-flop and go to work for a law firm was news. That was reasonable.
But why are Sneed and the Times silent now when Fitz goes to work for the same law firm that represented Sam Zell and the Chicago Tribune, and, is, also, Greg Craig’s law firm?
Craig, you’ll remember, was the White House Counsel for then President Elect Barack Obama. It was Craig who dealt with Fitz to clear Obama, Emanuel, Jarrett, and Axelrod of any wrong-doing in the saga of Blago’s effort to sell Obama’s Senate seat. Surprise!
Makes you wonder if Fitz used the Sun Times, al la Blago, to distract attention away from the real story, doesn’t it?
HT Advance Indiana; Patrick Fitzgerald Joins Law Firm Of Obama's Former White House Counsel
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" <email@example.com>, "Tim Novak"
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 3:14:57 PM
Subject: Fwd: Frawley Whistleblower suit ?
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.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay
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.”
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?
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.