Vrdolyak prison sentence, Fast Eddie sentenced to 10 months, Citizen Wells open thread, October 16, 2010

Vrdolyak prison sentence, Fast Eddie sentenced to 10 months

From the Chicago Tribune.

“Former Chicago Ald. Ed Vrdolyak was long known as “Fast Eddie” for his ability to work the angles in city politics and remain clear of criminal probes. He burnished that image last year when a judge spurned prosecution calls for prison and sentenced him instead to probation for a fraud conviction.

But his day of reckoning finally came Friday when Vrdolyak, forced by an appeals court to be sentenced again, was given 10 months in prison — followed by 5 months in a work-release center and an additional 5 months in home confinement. He was also fined $250,000.”

“The legendary dealmaker had thought he had escaped prison time after U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur sentenced him to five years of probation for setting up a $1.5 million kickback on a Gold Coast real estate deal.

But prosecutors objected, and the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered that a different judge resentence Vrdolyak, calling Shadur’s punishment a “slap on the wrist” that ignored Vrdolyak’s status as one of Chicago’s most influential insiders and gave too much weight to dozens of letters attesting to his acts of generosity.

On Friday prosecutors again sought about 31/2 years for Vrdolyak. Federal sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 21/2 years in prison. But U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said the guidelines were too stiff a punishment for Vrdolyak and imposed the 10-month prison term as well as the additional work release and home confinement.

Monico said Vrdolyak will not appeal the sentence. He was ordered to report to prison Jan. 19.

Vrdolyak had pleaded guilty to steering the sale of a building owned by Rosalind Franklin University to a developer that agreed to secretly pay him a $1.5 million “finders fee.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner said prosecutors were pleased Vrdolyak will serve some time in prison.

“The rich and powerful in this city deserve to be treated the same as anyone else,” Niewoehner had told the judge. “And if somebody else was involved in a fraud for $1.5 million … they would be looking at a long time in prison.””

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