Thursday, May 10, 2007

This week's print column: and hooray for US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

This week's print column focuses on how much visitors to Chicago will miss if the city wins the 2016 Olympics, because so little of the Olympics are planned for the ignored, orphaned and abandoned Southwest side and suburbs. It also discusses the "assertion" -- and I am being more polite here than I am about Bush's lies regarding Iraq -- that it will only cost us about $5 billion. That's in todya's money. Everything the city does always goes over budget because the taxpayers are patsies. You name, the costs always increase. How else do the politicians, lawyers and fatcat construction contractors make real money?

And, although George Bush is still our president -- sigh! -- at least there is a God in the name of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fiztgerald who today returned an indictment against the slipperiest of slippery politicians, Edward R. "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak. Vrdolyak was the Godfather of Cicero during the reign of terror there by now-convicted felon Betty Loren-Maltese. He is a politician who has no word. He doesn't keep his word. He's the shadow behind the corruption that has plagued Chicagoland for years, always hobnobbing with people (puppets) who ended up serving time in jail like Loren-Maltese.

Vrdolya once vowed he was going to bury me because I helped the good people of Cicero standup to Loren-Maltese's corruption when it became clear that she was lying about her reform and skimming more than $10 million from the taxpayers in that sad little town. Vrdolyak won that election in 1997 and his client Loren-Maltese was elected to another term despite the mounting evidence of her crimes. But in the end, Vrdolyak lost the war. And if there is something called justice in this world, then Vrdolyal's indictment will lead to the proper outcome. And he won't have to make those long distance calls or visits to say hello to Betty.

What goes around comes around. What a brilliant man, though, Vrdolyak was. To have used his intelligence, wit and mental precision to back so many political low-lifes and sleazy political agendas is one of the greatest tragedies in American political history. He really could have been someone so much better than he has become.

But the real accolade goes to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was only recently hammered as mediocre by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is probably close to Vrdolyak when it comes to pulling slick political shell games. Cheney's hatchet man, Karl Rove, is accused of having ordered the demotion of a string of U.S. Attorneys who either were investigating Republicans in government or who refused to prosecute Democrats. In the whole mudslinging, it was said that Rove's White House also slammed Fitzgerald.

But it is Patrick the Giant Killer. For years, everyone predicted Vrdolyak would go down. But after decades of being identified allegedly as an "unidicted co-conspirator" in many public crackdowns, it was Fitzgerald who is bringing Vrdolyak down.

Vrdolyak is innocent untiol proven guilty, of course. It is only an indictment. But indictments have a funny way of putting the last nails in the political coffin. It couldn't have come soon enough.


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