FOX Chicago News reporter Dane Placko broke a huge Chicago-type political story this week when he revealed that Patrick Maher, the cousin of Illinois Comptroller Dan Maher and son of Orland Park Village Clerk Dave Maher, was charged with criminal felony assault while in college and then after a hung jury in 1991 pleaded guilty to criminal misdemeanor battery.
Amazingly, Maher did not disclose that to anyone, including to the SouthtownStar in filling out its candidacy documents, although Maher claims he told the Arlington heights Daily Herald the tragedy of his youthful indiscretion.
Maher learned that Dane Placko, the award winning and reputable investigative reporter for FOX Chicago 32, was investigating the story. In fact, Placko confronted Maher at his home to ask about the controversy. In Placko's report, aired on Wednesday night on FOX Chicago 32, Maher said he forgot to mention the story but said a day doesn't go by that he doesn't think about what he did in brutally beating another college student in a tussle over his girlfriend who is now his wife.
It's a sordid tale. And it is a sad story, too.
To head off Placko, Maher sent an email to the SouthtownStar, where I read about the story. I then emailed Maher and asked him about the reports and also information that Maher was misrepresenting the issue by listing his wrong birthday.
Maher didn't answer any of the questions, but he did respond saying he was sorry about the past. Read my column on the story here.
Placko was on my radio show Mornings with Ray Hanania on Wednesday morning to talk about his story. Click here to listen to the radio podcast.
Placko said it appeared that Maher was misleading people.
Here is Placko's story:
Maher has not come clean on the issue. And it appears as if he was trying to hide his past and got caught. His claim that he told the Daily Herald, but not the SouthtownStar, is disingenuous. And his refusal to address the issue of multiple birthday date conflicts suggests something more is involved.
I can forgive someone for a youthful indiscretion. But it is hard to forgive a candidate for public office from a clout heavy political family from misleading the public about such an important past issue.
His conviction would be a major fact in his election campaign against Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, who Maher has repeatedly slandered in his emails and mailings and public comments.
Here is the misleading email that Maher is mailing to people. It is rather disgusting that he can't face the truth. And frankly, I think that if he in fact intentionally lied about his past and changed his birthdate by one day, then he should resign immediately from the campaign and also in his capacity as the president of the over-taxed Orland Fire Protection District.
Over the Labor Day weekend, while most of you were celebrating with friends and family, the Liz Gorman Smear Machine was in high gear. It's the same Smear Machine that she unleashed against a very honest man, Herb Schuman in 2002 and against her 2010 Republican opponent Mark Thompson. These tactics are more of the same old style machine political games, practiced & perfected by the Chicago Ward bosses & Liz Gorman. Games like loading the Democratic Primaries with straw man opponents in past years so that she can skate into office without anyone really knowing anything about Liz, her record, her past, not to mention her lack of ideas for Cook County.
It comes as no surprise to those who know Liz that she employs these tactics when her political mentor is none other than "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak. Over the years, "Fast Eddie" has been called Liz Gorman's "partner", her "ally" and even her "mentor". At a time when Cook County residents are desperately seeking a new kind of leadership to lift us out of the hole that Liz and her cronies have dug, Liz Gorman is going back twenty years to bring back old style politics. The politics of distortion, of rumor, of lies and of personal destruction. The kind of politics where facts are an inconvenience to be tossed into the same garbage heap as integrity and honesty. Well, I believe Liz Gorman has miscalculated public sentiment this time. And I promise you she has underestimated me and my desire to stand up for what I believe in.
Liz has been recently successful in getting some of the Chicago media to run stories on an event that occurred in my life when I was 19 years old. Unfortunately they chose to ignore several key facts including the fact that I voluntarily told the Daily Herald the details of this incident when I answered their candidate questionnaire last month. When I was in college I got into an altercation with a fellow student in our dorm. My behavior was wrong and I owned up to my mistake by pleading to a misdemeanor. Since that time twenty years ago I have tried to make a positive impact in our community. I have raised my family in the same neighborhood where I grew up, I started and operate my own successful business, I have mentored young kids as a baseball, football and soccer coach, and I have served our community as a Trustee & President of the Orland Fire Protection District. I think we all can learn from our past mistakes and hope to make ourselves and our community better.
That is why I am running for Cook County Commissioner.
As part of her recent smear campaign against me, Liz and her gang of rumor mongers are spreading stories about me getting out of this race. Let me make this clear, I am running and I am running to win! It is time to elect someone with new ideas to represent the 17th District on the Cook County Board. Someone with the experience to get things done without shifting the burden on to the home owners of our community. I am disappointed my opponent has chosen to start her campaign by spreading rumors about me in the media and returning to her roots in the "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak ward politics of the past. I know that once the voters know about me and my record the choice will not only be clear but overwhelmingly so.
Will you join me and the thousands of others who are standing with me against the Gorman Smear Machine and the politics and policies of the past? Will you stand with me and say it is time for some new voices and new ideas to move Cook County into the future.
We have 54 days until Election Day and I need your help to bring true community representation to the 17th District. If you want to join our movement to fix Cook County please visit my website www.friendsofpatrickmaher.com and volunteer or call us at (708) 357-2739 or email at email@example.com and let us know how you can help change the failed policies of the Gorman years.
Candidate for Cook County Commissioner, 17th District