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:
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.
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
This dated picture of former Mayor Daley and current State’s Attorney Lisa Alvarez was recently brought to the attention of two Sun Times Watchdogs by “lawyers for the family of David Koschman, who died after the police say Vanecko punched him in the face.” (Well, shoot, the dogs can’t find every bone in the Koschman story.)
The photo was found on Alvarez’s Facebook page, by the Koschman family lawyers.
The same Watchdogs who posted the photo, also wrote an article entitled “Did Daley nephew Vanecko confess to fatal punch?” that appeared on March 21, 2012. The news in the article – that Vanecko may have confessed, soon after the event, to hitting Koschman – is attributed to “attorneys for Koschman’s family” who made the assertion “in a court filing Wednesday.”
So, about eight years after the death of David Koschman, the real watchdogs – as in alert canines trained to attack nefarious characters – turn out to be…drum roll…the Koschman lawyers, and not so much the byline Watchdogs.
Awakened to the barking, the Sun Times Watchdogs, trot toward the commotion, arriving on the crime scene, panting, a couple of years short of a human decade later – or, in dog years, 70 years late.
You suppose their tardiness has anything at all to do with having a new mayoral regime, open to exposing the…ah, deficiencies…of the previous one? Or, the fact that Mayor Emanuel has several campaign finance contributors on the new Sun Times board?
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Look for the political turf war underway in Chicago to heat up in 2012.
When one regime displaces another, a turf war typically ensues. It happened when the old USSR collapsed. It happened when the German Weimar Republic dissolved. It’s happening right now in several Middle Eastern countries.
And, it’s happening in Chicago as the old Machine gradually yields ground to Rahm Emanuel and the New Chicago he brings. Less corrupt than the old? No reason to think that. Just more… artful.
New Chicago – we’ll call it that as a placeholder – is assembling its chess pieces. The new owners of the Sun Times are heavy supporters of Rahmbo, as Chicago Business has pointed out. Watch for the Times to be a leading shill for New Chicago.
That’s already started, in fact.
Was it dogged journalism that prompted the Times to dredge up a cold, as in frozen, case from April 2004 involving the murder of David Koschman, and the suggested involvement of Richard Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Daley II? Or, is the Times dutifully getting a head start in tarnishing the legacy of the old Machine?
It is, after all, what new regimes do to the ones they displace – they tarnish the past to make what they offer as “new” that much more attractive. In the long run, though, it seldom is…more attractive.
Too much of the Machine is still firmly entrenched for New Chicago to be too overtly critical of the past. It’ll take some face-changes at senior levels for the tarnishing to shift into a higher gear.
To track that development, do this: Make a short list of the most entrenched, influencial, long-standing, high-profile personalities of the old Machine. Say, five names. Then ask yourself:
- Who among them is most practiced at, and vulnerable to a charge of, political corruption in the Old Machine Pay-to-Play Way?
- Who is at an age and stage in their life when younger replacements are eager to fill the void in the pecking order their absence would leave?
- And, who is most widely feared within the Machine itself? Someone whose loss of power would enable a redistribution of spoils to several others eager to drink from the well, not just one other.
In 2012, watch the Chicago news – focusing on the Sun Times – for hints of a gradual take-down of one among the five. It’ll make headlines.
It is, after all, what new regimes do to establish their power base. And Rahmbo’s New Chicago is emerging.