* Dan Haley, the editor and publisher of the Wednesday Journal, a paper out of Oak Park, wrote a surprisingly strong column defending indicted state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) this week…
But here are the more telling facts: The houses LaShawn Ford bought to fix up and resell were all completed. He didn’t pocket the money and let the houses rot. He fixed the houses as he planned, and until the real estate market collapsed, he sold the homes and made payments on his line to the bank.
Sure, it isn’t good to owe a note to a casino. But the release of that fact by the feds is intended to suggest that Ford was living large and far past his means. That doesn’t seem the case. He lives in a modest home in “The Island” neighborhood of Austin. That’s south of the Ike and is about the most working class housing you can find.
What seems likely is that with Shore Bank’s failure, the FDIC scoured the bank’s books and came across the name of an elected official. They turned this modest case over to a U.S. Attorney’s Office that focuses lasers on hints of improprieties among the elected. And that led to this. Keep in mind that these charges go back to a time before Ford had even been elected to office. This isn’t political wrongdoing like all the rest of the Democratic hacks who’ve disgraced the West Side by selling their offices and have rightly gone to prison.
So why do I care? Because for 17 years we’ve published the Austin Weekly News and I’ve seen the greed and contempt of elected officials as they plundered the public purse while Austin reeled with crime and lousy schools and decaying services. It has been appalling.
And I know, because I’ve been there, that LaShawn Ford is different — different and better and decent at his core. He’s not a machine hack. He’s a fine man, almost certainly imperfect, but a person who is in government for all the reasons that should make us proud. This man talks about real issues of violence and guns, about education and opportunity. He doesn’t talk cautiously, craftily. He talks honestly and from the experience of living. He is present. He is visible. He knows real people and he listens well.
We could be jaded and say he got caught even if the wrong was small, common and mostly unintentional. So now he has to pay and we’ll move on to the next petty hack the machine serves up. Or we could be hopeful, perhaps even a bit naïve, and demand that actual justice — as in service and honor — be done and that a path gets cleared for LaShawn Ford to continue his work, perhaps humbled, but still strong and true.
This is a fight worth fighting. This is a man to stand up for.
* Contrast that opinion of a man who knows Ford to the opinion of one who doesn’t…
Another Chicago politician has been indicted, this one for bank fraud after he allegedly burned through hundreds of thousands of dollars that weren’t his on casino gambling, car loans and other high-rolling pursuits.
Illinois state Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Democrat, has not been convicted.
Still, blowing cash that isn’t yours so you can play Mr. Highlife is almost like saying, “I want to win the Moutza of the Month for November!” Isn’t it?
The ancient Moutza has nothing to do with the American finger, but everything to do with taxpayer contempt. And when we hapless taxpaying chumbolones extend our hands to such weasels, we offer the flat of our palms, our fingers spread wide. The Moutza.
“I believe I am innocent of the charges brought against me today,” Ford said in a statement Thursday.
That’s nice. We believe you, Rep. Highlife.
But we also believe in unicorns with long silvery flowing manes, and little forest imps with hairy feet who go on quests for golden treasure held by the evil dragon Smaug.
Mr. Ford, would you please talk to the hand? It’s pointed right at your face. See?