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The [Friday] Papers

"The Blagojevich household spent more on fine clothing than on their mortgage, child care, travel or private schools in the years that Blagojevich served as governor, according to trial testimony," the Sun-Times reports.

"Many of the expenditures came as the family was swimming in debt.

"Blagojevich's finances were displayed on the same day jurors heard the former governor calling President Obama a 'mother f[ucker]' on a recorded telephone call, as well as testimony that Blagojevich's wife, Patti, got paid tens of thousands of dollars by convicted businessman Tony Rezko - allegedly to do nothing."

This guy is toast.

Local Hero
"The bassist for the [Chicago] band Madina Lake was badly injured and remains hospitalized after he was assaulted for reportedly intervening when he spotted a woman allegedly being beaten by her husband on a Chicago street," CBS News reports. "Matthew Leone remains in critical condition after he was brutalized and left unconscious by the man."

We've got more.


About Madina Lake.

"A man who claims former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured him into falsely confessing to murder filed a sweeping civil suit Thursday that names everyone he blames for helping to wrongfully convict him, including Mayor Daley," AP reports in a story the Sun-Times found space for on page 11 just above "Silly Bandz Could Be 'Hottest Toy Of The Year'" and "Rethinking Back Posture."

"His lawsuit claims that Daley, who was Cook County state's attorney in the 1980s, helped to conceal the abuse committed by Burge and the men under his command."


"Kitchen was exonerated last year after spending 21 years in prison - 13 of them on death row - for the 1988 slaying of two women and three children inside their South Side bungalow," the Tribune reports on page 8. (On page 7: "Roadwork, Construction Grind To Halt.")

"While he was in prison his brother and other relatives died, his son grew up without a father and his mother, his greatest champion, developed dementia and does not even understand her son is now free, Kitchen said."


"According to the lawsuit, Kitchen was arrested on a false tip from a jailhouse informant, then spent 16 hours at Area 3 police headquarters. He was deprived of food and sleep while detectives beat him with their fists, a phone book, a telephone receiver and struck him in the genitals with a nightstick. He was injured badly enough to require medical treatment, the suit states.

"The lawsuit accuses Daley, both when he was Cook County state's attorney and as mayor, of participating in a conspiracy to cover up torture. The suit claims Daley had ample evidence that Burge and others were using torture to obtain confessions but did nothing to prosecute the officers and belittled reports that found abuse had occurred.

"Further, it alleges that Daley approved the decision to seek the death penalty against Kitchen and others, despite widespread allegations that Burge and his so-called 'Midnight Crew' acted illegally."

Now here's the interesting part:

"The city's Law Department has not reviewed the lawsuit and had no comment on specific allegations, department spokesman Jennifer Hoyle said.

"'However, to the extent that there are any claims against Mayor Daley, it is important to note that Jon Burge was an employee in good standing at the Chicago Police Department under previous mayoral administrations, and was fired during Mayor Daley's tenure,' Hoyle said. 'We strongly dispute any allegation that the mayor was involved in a conspiracy.'"

So now Daley is taking credit for firing Burge?

Let's review:

* Torture flourished at Area 2 in what had become common knowledge among insiders during a time when Daley was the Cook County State's Attorney. Daley passed on pursuing an investigation of Burge despite a request from the police chief.

* Then Daley did nothing as mayor except defend Burge with taxpayer money.

* Then, when defending Burge was no longer tenable, Daley tried to negotiate a settlement that, according to John Conroy, including these terms:

(1)[The plaintiffs] wouldn't name Daley as a defendant 'in a civil rights, obstruction of justice, and racketeering conspiracy . . . and they would not seek a finding of liability and damages from Daley for his alleged conspiratorial actions while serving as Cook County State's Attorney';

(2) they wouldn't pursue Daley's deposition in the three cases though they would continue to pursue Dick Devine, Daley's successor as state's attorney, and other Cook County officials;

(3) they wouldn't criticize Daley in any public statements made in connection with the settlement;

(4) these terms would remain secret and would not be put in the written settlement agreement.

Go read the whole thing ("The Meter's Still Running and the Mayor's Still Mum") right now (as well as "Twenty Questions") and the rest of Conroy's work and ask yourself what kind of city we live in. I think you'll see that while Jennifer Hoyle is Today's Worst Person in Chicago, Richard M. Daley is a candidate for something far more despicable.


Daley's buddy Dick Devine certainly sounds like a man still running away from the stain Burge left on his legacy.

Devine was Daley's first assistant in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office before taking the top job himself; he also once represented Burge in private practice.

Maybe that explains his bloodless, defensive reaction to the Burge verdict, including his concern that police officers will now worry about being "second- and third-guessed," and characterizations such as these:

"The so-called Burge cases . . . the people who have made the claims . . . in many of the cases the defendants were guilty of the crimes they were charged with . . . the so-called Burge claims . . . "

Why are these comments not front-page news?


Conroy: "Police React To The Verdict."


"Three days after the conviction of fired Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, an Illinois lawmaker said today he will introduce a bill to make torture by law enforcement officers a federal crime with no statute of limitations," the Tribune reports.

And yet, in this story and every other story I've read about this in the last few months, we're left in the dark as to what the current statute of limitations is - and why.

Governor Gumby
"Quinn Tightens Belt By $1 Billion: Reductions hit students, mentally ill hard, but do little to slash state's debt."

At least we've got our priorities straight.

Stolen Lives
The story of Derrick Lemon is one of the saddest our city has known.


From Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, 1996:

JONES: Where do you feel your brother is at now?

LEMON: In heaven.

NEWMAN: Is he still your little brother, or is he your big brother 'cause he higher up?

LEMON: Little.

JONES: Little brother, huh? Another thing, Ms. Morse. How do you think Derrick's life's changed since the incident?

[TONI] MORSE[, ERIC'S MOTHER]: He do a lot of fighting now, something he ain't never did. Tell him you rebellious. You like to fight people now.

LEMON: Fight. Throw crayons.

NEWMAN: You get your anger out by fighting?

LEMON: Sometimes.

MORSE: Maybe he's lashing out. I don't know. Probably he's lashing out, because at a time he wouldn't fight. Him or Eric. They would run from people.

NEWMAN: Does he ever talk about his brother?

MORSE: Of course he do. We always talk about him. I want him to talk about him for the rest of his life.


By the way, Sun-Times, "Hey Lemon!" and "Lemon Vinaigrette" are not "Related Blog Posts."

TrackNotes: Surface Truths
The various formulas of carpet fibers, sand, wax, silicon and cut-up telephone wire were touted as salvation for horses, our man on the rail Thomas Chambers writes. New studies are inconclusive.

Ofman On Offense
"I tried so hard to get into the World Cup," our very own George Ofman writes in his latest installment of Dis and Dat, Dem and Dose. "That's a lie. I tried a little and it didn't work. There's just not enough offense.

"That said, I'm watching the Cubs and thinking, what's the difference?"

The Week in WTF
"From the business standpoint of his psych case manager, Z appears to be the perfect candidate for anger management counseling," our very own David Rutter writes. "He's got great insurance and he's never going to get better."

Also starring Jon Burge's boat and Sun-Times Media chief James Tyree's dubious lifetime achievement award.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Holiday staff now on-call.


Posted on July 2, 2010

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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