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The [Tuesday] Papers

Stuart Levine continued to rock the Illinois political community on Monday with his testimony in the Tony Rezko trial. Who knew?

"Levine testified he reserved a private room on the fourth floor of the exclusive Standard Club downtown," the Sun-Times reports in "Fast Times At Purple Hotel." "Levine said he asked the waiter not to interrupt and drew up in his notes how he'd split a series of fees paid by firms seeking to do state business."

"I wanted Mr. Rezko's undivided attention," Levine told a federal courtroom, according to the Daily Herald's reports in "Steak 'N Bribes." "Mr. Rezko is a very busy man."

"Over strip steaks, a little red wine and some vodka, Levine testified, he pulled out some scribbled ciphering that showed that their corrupt relationship could be worth $3.9 million to Rezko in the short term alone," the Tribune reports.

Prosecutors also walked Levine through his prodigious drug use to inoculate the coming attacks on his credibility from defense lawyers.

Levine, it turns out, is something of a bellwether of American drug use. As described by Rich Samuels on Chicago Tonight, Levine smoked pot in the 70s, snorted coked in the 80s, and turned to drug cocktails of crystal meth and Special K in the 90s. He also variously used at times quaaludes, LSD, ecstasy, and speed. Stuart Levine, I wanna party with you!

Levine's drug venue of choice was The Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, which has in previous lives been a Hyatt, a Radisson, and a Ramada, but which has lost whatever luster it once had in recent years.

The hotel is best known as the location for a momentous event Outfit history.

"Last week, as Dorfman and Irwin Weiner, his former partner in Mob-connected enterprises, walked to lunch through the parking lot of the suburban Hyatt Lincolnwood Hotel near Chicago, two men wearing ski masks ran up behind them," Time reported in 1983. "'This is a stickup!' yelled one. But obviously it was not. The man opened fire immediately with a .22-cal. handgun, hitting Dorfman in the back of the head seven times. As the attackers fled, Dorfman lay dying in a pool of blood. Weiner was uninjured."

Our lil' ol' Lincolnwood!

("The saloonkeepers banded together in 1922 and officially incorporated the Village. This was so they would have the power to grant liquor licenses.")

Levine would also occasionally charter private jets to ferry him and five "male friends" to party in Springfield. Good times.

More important, today's testimony could be even better. According to the Sun-Times, "Levine is expected to talk about a shakedown scheme involving powerful political insiders."

The only thing this trial is missing is sex. But that might be on the way.

Opening Day
* Fukudome's Diary.
* Vs. The Cell. Discuss.
* Dusty Baker not only brought Corey Patterson to the Reds and named him the starting centerfielder, but also made him the leadoff hitter. Patterson went 0-4 in the season opener. This is not an April Fool's joke. It really happened.

X X X
Are there X's in Grant Park yet where the Children's Museum will go?

If I was Save Grant Park, I would post guards.

Worst People in Chicago
Today's nominees:

* Elizabeth Abrams, Channel 2 communications director, on the bloodbath there: "The reorganization of our team allows us to operate more efficiently. We will continue to invest in the people and in the infrastructure that will drive our future growth in ratings, in revenue and in community service."

* Donna Dunnings, embattled Cook County finance chief, at a City Club luncheon: "To use the fact that I am the [County Board] president's cousin as a distraction from the true problems the county is facing is the type of tactic George Bush and Karl Rove would admire.

"Confuse the facts. Scare the public. Tap into their anger and their fears - all in an effort to distract them from the real problems we face and to avoid going out on a limb to propose a real solution. It is a lot easier to claim patronage and nepotism than to come up with a reasonable and balanced plan to address the problem."

Smackdown
"Todd Stroger and Donna Dunnings just don't get it," county Commissioner Forrest Claypool said. "They just raised taxes by almost half a billion dollars and gave out the largest raise in Cook County government to a member of Stroger's family who already is making a huge six-figure salary."

As The County Turns
"Stroger stands by his assertion that his whole image is the result of a media conspiracy led by the Sun-Times, but joined in by other papers, the Daily Herald included. The negative is always reported, while the positive goes uncovered, he said.

"'Nobody (reporters) cares what happens in county government, so people don't get the story of what's going on in the county. All they get is the soap opera. And with the soap opera, we'll always lose,' Stroger said."

Write a better script, dude.

From Beachwood reader Peg Burke: Todd Stroger's image problem isn't the fault of the press. Todd Stroger's image problem is entirely the fault of Todd Stroger. He's an idiot, and he's the only one who doesn't seem to see that. His many friends and relatives who are supported by the taxpayers have to recognize what a fool he is, and capitalize on that; anyone else would recognize that these people don't belong in jobs that require a certain level of experience and professionalism, and would fire their asses post-haste.

I'm tired of paying through the nose for this much stupidity and corruption. I'm tired of having Illinois bandied about as one of the three (along with New Jersey and Louisiana, fine company if you ask me) most corrupt states in the country. I'm tired of seeing governors go off to prison. When are we going to stop voting these clowns into office?

Millennium Park Follies
"A critic once noted that entering the mostly underground Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park was 'like boarding a submarine,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"If that's true, it's a submarine that's taking on water. Roughly $1 million in emergency repairs are under way to remedy a problem that patrons of the theater, which shares backstage and office space with the Pritzker Pavilion, have probably never noticed.

"Water is seeping into the 1,500-seat theater's external stairwells, administrative offices and other 'non-public spaces.' If the problem is not corrected soon, 'long-term damage could occur' to the $52.7 million structure at 205 E. Randolph, officials said."

And what - and whom - is to blame for the latest fiasco at the most overrated "park" in America?

"[Theater general manager Steve] Abrams blamed the phased construction of the $475 million Millennium Park for the theater leaks.

"'The Harris was put in at one point. The park at another point. That probably isn't the most ideal way to put in waterproofing. Water-proofing should be the last thing to be done,' Abrams said."

And who will foot the bill for such a blunder?

You!

"The city [is] obligated to pay," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg. "The city has a 99-year lease with the Harris, but the city owns the property."

From Beachwood reader Hugh Devlin: The Harris story is related to the Chicago Children's Museum story. Both are within feet of Lake Michigan and both go subterranean. It's challenging but possible to build below the water table and keep it dry, but not on the cheap.

Let's Go To The Movies
Letter from Ebert.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Revolving credit.



Permalink

Posted on April 1, 2008


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - The Miracle Of Congressukah.
POLITICS - Obama Issues Rare Pardon To Former Chicago Merc Trader.
SPORTS - Bowl Preview Pt. 1: Cheap Trick, Gold Toes & Loaded Potatoes.

BOOKS - The Picture Of Women's Health.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mailbox Message.


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