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The [Friday] Papers

Highlights from the Bill Beavers indictment coverage:

While Beavers spoke (briefly) on camera to some local outlets yesterday, he only agreed to speak to Paris Schutz of Chicago Tonight through his apartment building's intercom. Thus diminished was thou godly voice when spakest through strange wires.

But he clearly claimed the feds said, "We don't want you, we want John Daley. We want you to wear a wire, okay?"

The possibilities:

A) They wanted him to wear a wire. On John Daley.

B) Beavers is sending a message/threat to the Daleys: Help. Or else.

C) Beavers is sending a message to those who may have something on him: I'm not giving anyone up, so extend me the same frickin' courtesy.

*

The feds claimed that Beavers' alleged scheme of concealing the use of campaign cash for personal benefit was done in part to satisfy a gambling habit.

The possibilities:

A) Beavers schemed in part to satisfy a gambling habit.

B) The feds were sending a message to Beavers that if he doesn't cooperate they won't hesitate to embarrass him about his vices.

C) The feds were sending a message to anyone connected or victimized by Beavers' alleged gambling habit that they know all about it and now is the time to help themselves out.

*

Crain's reports that Beavers has other problems, namely that Beavers "is vice chairman and an investor in Chicago-based New City Bank, which is expected to fail within weeks."

*

Trotting out Beavers' infamous boast that he was "the hog with the big nuts" is proving irresistible to journalists - myself included. From the BR Facebook feed yesterday upon news of the indictment:

Reportedly answered the door and said "What took you so long?"

We'll do it now to get it out of the way: "Don't you think Fitzgerald is being a little hard on Beavers?"

Alternate: Feds Indict Boss Hog With Big Nuts.

*

Sun-Times, January 30, 2007:

"Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, a fan of old-school clout, has no problem saying he considers himself 'the hog with the big nuts.'

"But on Monday, he blasted a lawsuit alleging he used the phrase to intimidate someone.

"Cook County Sheriff's Sgt. Sammie L. Young Jr. sued Beavers in federal court along with Sheriff Tom Dart, alleging he was demoted after refusing to look the other way when two deputies allegedly did illegal campaign work for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Beavers . . .

"When Beavers was informed of the lawsuit Monday, he said: 'I want him to sue me so the truth can be told. And how that sumbitch came in my office asking me to get him a promotion. He said he was there to volunteer for Todd, but he never did do shit.'

"Beavers said he used the hog phrase in a chat with Young, but not to bully him into dropping reprimands against the deputies, as alleged in the suit."

*

From John Kass in today's Tribune:

"Beavers has that Billy Dee Williams thing going on, but it's not fake like some actor playing a tough guy. It's the real deal, all 79th Street, nothing phony about it, and you could imagine him back in the day. But imagine him better at night.

"Beavers driving a long car with a long hood, wearing a fur coat and that revolver he used to wear on his ankle, the mustache, the fine suits, smoking when he felt like it, staying up all night and driving across the city, shooting dice at a West Side butcher shop.

"Then breakfast at some diner, on the table an ashtray full of the stubs of his Pall Malls, and then back into the car with the sun up and maybe a City Council meeting for lunch."

*

Also from Kass:

"[W]e go way back, to his first campaign for alderman in 1983. He put up at least 10 candidates to run against him - just to split the vote the way he wanted it split."

(FYI: It's important for reporters to gain and retain "Institutional knowledge" - or what some may call "experience.")

*

Beavers told Kass: "The indictment says I didn't pay taxes, but we've got all the receipts. I just didn't tell them because they were pushing me to wire up on Daley."

That doesn't make sense. I'm sure the feds have all of Beavers' tax returns. Having receipts won't prove anything and it looks like the feds have folks who have already testified against him in the grand jury.

*

"William Beavers is an old-school caricature of a Chicago aldermen who loved patronage and contracts, made no apologies for it and 'retired' to the Cook County Board to 'relax and enjoy the good life,'" Fran Spielman writes.

"Always dressed to the nines, Beavers bragged about 'going to the boats' to gamble, traveled to every Super Bowl and chain-smoked in the ante-room behind the City Council chambers - even though he suffered from phlebitis - long after smoking was banned at City Hall.

"He browbeat city department heads - and former Mayor Richard M. Daley - to share the gravy train of city contracts with black businesses instead of giving it all to the white guys with clout.

"'I'm not an idiot. I know what these deals are - and I've been knowing what they are. All I want is just, give me some. I'm not asking nobody to be fair 'cause I wouldn't be fair if I was the mayor. Just give me some. Just give me some of it, okay. Don't take it all,' he once said."

Now, if the Democratic Party was really about reform, Beavers would have been a pariah. He wasn't. He was Richard M. Daley's budget committee chairman and his allies include Secretary of State Jesse White.

*

Or, as Jesse Jackson Jr. put it in the Tribune in October 2007:

"[L]et's examine the truth in regard to Mr. Beavers. Before jumping to the County Board a year ago, Beavers was Mayor Richard Daley's Budget Committee chairman for years and overlooked hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer expenses for phony minority businesses, do-nothing truckers and a steady stream of waste and fraud.

"As Daley's 'man,' Beavers also undermined every legitimate mayoral challenger for 18 years, all to protect and promote patronage. Through the years, he was aligned with former Democratic machine boss and now-indicted Eddie Vrdolyak, the disgraced Shaw brothers and others known for corruption more than public service."

*

And about those Super Bowls:

"'Veteran Cook County Commissioner William Beavers said he has tapped his connection to the Bears to attend nearly every Super Bowl since the beginning.

"'You call the Chicago Bears and tell them you would like to purchase some tickets, and then they get back to you and let you know how many you can purchase,' Beavers said. 'I usually buy two.'"

*

More from Spielman:

"A few years ago, Beavers told reporters he makes 'no new friends' and needed to 'learn to speak sign language' because you never know who might be wearing a wire."

*

Oldie but goodie:

"Five Cook County commissioners no longer want to take the 10 unpaid days they unanimously voted for earlier this year," ABC 7 reported last fall.

"William Beavers, who represents Chicago's South Side and south suburbs, said he has changed his mind.

"'I decided not to take the furlough days because she didn't have the money for the hospitals, so my deal is off,' Beavers said. He said his vote to take unpaid days was tied to keeping Oak Forest Hospital open. In an effort to save money, the county converted that hospital into an outpatient clinic."

*

Oldie but goodie:

"Three years ago, outspoken Cook County Commissioner William Beavers dressed down the head of the juvenile jail for testifying before the County Board in casual attire: a white polo shirt tucked into his Dockers," the Sun-Times reported last November.

"'Do you own a suit?" Beavers asked Earl Dunlap in 2008 as he lectured that your appearance commands respect" and told him he's 'supposed to be a role model.'

"On Thursday, it was a virtual replay in the county's downtown Chicago boardroom during a budget hearing that spiraled into a fiery, albeit brief, exchange about whether the man makes the clothes or the clothes make the man. In the blink of an eye, it seemed, Beavers went from chastising Dunlap about fractured relations between the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and the Chicago Police Department to the two recalling how their own relationship soured."

Isn't Bill Beavers living proof that the clothes don't make the man?

*

And from Fox Chicago News, November 2008:

"FOX News Chicago exposed how some Cook County commissioners are converting a $1,200-per-month expense account into personal income or using it to lease a car or pay off their own education expenses. Like many stories of government waste in Chicago, the FOX investigation surfaced, caused some brief consernation, then quietly slipped away. When confronted by FOX's Dane Placko about his pocketing of the monthly checks, Comm. William Beavers' brazen response said it all."

Click through to see.

*

Which resulted in this from October 2010:

"Federal prosecutors are taking a closer look at Cook County Commissioner William Beavers.

"Prosecutors are looking at nearly four years of expense records after he acknowledged that he used his government allowance to augment his salary for two years.

"Beavers said he used his $1,200 a month expense allowance to boost his income.

"He stopped the practice two years ago after it attracted media attention."

*

If you play the game and stick around long enough, chances are you're going to slip. Just ask Bill Cellini and Eddie Vrdolyak. And remember that Michael Madigan, Ed Burke and even Richard M. Daley won't truly be in the clear until they go six feet under. And maybe not even then.

The Other Chicago Fights Back
The flip side.

The Week in Chicago Rock
Not a particularly good one.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Bite the dust.



Permalink

Posted on February 24, 2012


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