Another Chicago Alderman off to jail
Ho hum! Another day, another Chicago politician sentenced to prison , this time for mail and tax fraud. No, not former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D). Or recently appointed President Barack Hussein Obama's (D) replacement senator, Roland Burris. (D). Oh maybe they'll eventually join the long parade of Illinois and Chicago politicians marching off to the Big House but this was a more common occurrence.
Alderwoman Arenda Troutman received four years after finally admitting that
prosecutors had been right after all and that for several years she had solicited cash from developers to back projects in her ward. (snip) In her 33-page plea agreement, Troutman admitted it was "the general practice" of her office to direct staffers to solicit donations from developers seeking to do business in the 20th Ward. Prosecutors laid out payoffs totaling $21,500 in the document.
Whether it was to change zoning, allow alley access or approve the sale of city-owned property, Troutman made it clear her support "would either not be forthcoming or would be delayed" if she weren't paid, the plea agreement said.
Sounding on tape like Blagojevich without the expletives deleted.
In one exchange, the alderman promised to smooth the way for a development but then asked, "What do I get out of it?"
Insulting the world's oldest profession
In another infamous quote that was caught on tape and later drew scorn from council colleagues, Troutman compared politics in Chicago to prostitution.
"Most aldermen, most politicians are hos," she said.
Morality and personal feelings aside, generally "hos" and their clients engage in their transaction activity voluntarily, using their own money; Alderwoman Troutman, contrary to her campaign promises and swearing in vow, utilized her position to extract cash from others by legal force while cheating her constituents of a chance at a better neighborhood.
Uhm, and since she had mentioned "hos," for several years she lived with a violent gang leader, allegedly using her access to private information to warn him about police plans relating to him.
But this is the Chicago Way.
Troutman is the 12th Chicago alderman convicted of wrongdoing in the last 20 years, but the first since Percy Giles (37th) in 1999.
That ten year gap of unconvicted alderpeople doesn't indicate an uncharacteristic period of clean and honest Chicago and Illinois government; during that time county, city and state politicians and workers were arrested and jailed.
Troutman's ward, one of the poorest in the city, is several miles from the Obama home.