Blagojevich trial, Chicago corruption legacy, Suicides, Murders, Dead men don’t talk, Deaths speak volumes, Chicago Tribune John Kass
Blagojevich trial, Chicago corruption legacy, Suicides, Murders
The Rod Blagojevich trial is several weeks away. It is scheduled to begin June 3, 2010. In a way, it seems like it has been going on for several years. Blagojevich’s name was mentioned constantly during the Tony Rezko trial in 2008 and then daily after his arrest in December 2008. Another aspect of the corruption surrounding Blagojevich and his cronies in Chicago has been the suspicious deaths and apparent suicides. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune explains.
“Metra boss Phil Pagano’s suicide a repeating pageant for Illinois”
“When politicos play musical chairs in Illinois, what happens after the music stops and there’s no safe place to sit?
There have been four dead in recent years, unrelated cases of suicide, different except for the acts of the common pageant: The corruption investigators call. The music ends abruptly.
Two were done in by guns, one on a beach, the other under a bridge. A third was by pills in a construction trailer.
The fourth came Friday morning during rush hour, announced by that body under that white sheet on the Metra tracks in McHenry County.
The flesh once belonged to Phil Pagano. For the past 20 years, Pagano was the respected boss of Metra, the commuter rail agency that, unlike the Chicago Transit Authority, actually keeps the trains running on time.
Over the past week or so, Pagano was under siege, facing investigations both federal and local, suspected of finagling a bonus of more than $50,000 by finessing vacation time, among other things.”
“I’m not saying Pagano was an innocent victim, but he was person with a title and consequence. He was a headliner.
Each of the four politicos had connections and influence, but they weren’t big players. They were prominent suits out front.
But true power is reserved only for a few. Such people never become anxious when the calliope music starts cranking. They’ve got other people to run around the empty chairs. These folks are called buffers.
Like Orlando Jones.
Jones, 52, was the godson of the late South Side political boss John Stroger, working in Cook County government and later as a lobbyist. Stroger ran the Cook County Board for Mayor Richard Daley until suffering a stroke, when Stroger’s son Todd was installed by the Daley machine.
Jones had been questioned by federal investigators in connection with state pension investment deals involving Republican and Democratic insiders, and shady hospital contracts in Las Vegas.
He shot himself on a Michigan beach in 2007. The gun was found next to the body.
Christopher Kelly didn’t have a buffer. Christopher Kelly was a buffer.
He belonged to indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and was indebted to those in Daley’s administration who understand multimillion-dollar airport construction contracts.”
Let’s not forget about other deaths in Chicago. Donald Young, the choirmaster at Obama’s and Jeremiah Wright’s church, TUCC, was murdered. It was no suicide.
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