* No indictments…
Nearly 10 months after former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko was indicted in the 2004 death of David Koschman, a grand jury investigation into the way police and prosecutors handled the case has ended and no new indictments will be issued.
Special prosecutor Dan K. Webb’s office said Thursday the grand jury has completed its work and that the statute of limitations has expired on bringing additional charges in the case.
Webb said that he, “after having thoroughly reviewed the evidence, has determined that no additional indictments would be sought because: (1) any prosecution as to actions taken by Chicago Police Department or the Cook County state’s attorney’s office personnel in 2004 are barred because of the three-year statute of limitations period, which was not otherwise extended under applicable state criminal law; (2) there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any violations of Illinois criminal law as to actions taken by CPD personnel in 2011; and (3) there is no evidence of any kind suggesting any violations of Illinois criminal law as to actions taken by SAO personnel in connection with its participation in the Koschman investigation in 2011 and 2012.”
After two days of deliberations, a federal jury on Wednesday found Eugene Mullins, a friend and onetime aide to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, guilty of seven of eight counts at his corruption trial.
Mullins was acquitted of one count of wire fraud but convicted of three other wire fraud counts and four counts of bribery. The charges stemmed from four contracts he was accused of steering toward contractors in exchange for nearly $35,000 in kickbacks.
Mullins faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison on each count of accepting a kickback. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve set sentencing for Dec. 19.
The verdict follows a colorful trial in which defense attorneys told animated stories to illustrate their points. In closing arguments, Mullins’ attorney Brunell Donald-Kyei barked like a dog and later meowed to illustrate how four contractors changed their stories after being questioned by investigators.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is changing the way it awards insurance brokerage contracts in the wake of former city Comptroller Amer Ahmad’s indictment and a Chicago Sun-Times report about the awarding of insurance business to a company whose lobbyist has ties to a top deputy in the comptroller’s office.
The move reverses a change made nearly two years ago — months after Emanuel took office and appointed Ahmad — that gave the comptroller’s office “the power to purchase, directly or through an insurance broker that he engages, and subject to the approval of the budget director, insurance for the city.”
* And while it may not belong here, this could turn out to be a big story…
The city of Chicago is asking the state to change its method of buying power for utility customers in a way that almost certainly would hike electricity rates for those still getting their electricity from Commonwealth Edison Co.
The move, also endorsed by retail power suppliers, would make it easier for the city’s supplier, Chicago-based Integrys Energy Services, to beat ComEd’s rates when its contract with the city comes up for renewal in May. But it likely would boost electric bills in large suburbs like Joliet and Waukegan whose constituents have rejected referendums that would have allowed their city officials to buy power on their behalf from outside suppliers. […]
David Kolata, executive director of consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board, opposes changing the IPA’s procurement process.
“It’s not a good policy to artificially increase (utility) prices to artificially claim there are savings,” he said.