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Question of the day

Friday, Dec 4, 2020

* Fast Eddie gets 18 months…

* Mark Brown

What tripped up Vrdolyak this time was possibly the sweetest score of his career, finagling a piece of Illinois’ giant class action settlement against tobacco companies, which to date has paid him more than $12 million.

How exactly he managed that without actually working on the case remains unclear, despite pages and pages of documents filed by both sides offering partial explanations of how a Seattle lawyer, hired by then-Attorney General Jim Ryan to represent the state, gave Vrdolyak a 10% cut.

That’s really all I’ve ever wanted from this case, not another pound of flesh but the truth of how he pulled it off, in Vrdolyak’s own words. And sadly, I’m not expecting it to emerge at sentencing.

The great irony is Vrdolyak was never charged with taking the money. Hell, he even paid taxes on it all along.

His mistake was in failing to respond honestly to an IRS levy trying to recover funds from a co-conspirator, Daniel Soso, who was trying to avoid paying taxes on his share of the fee Vrdolyak was splitting with him.

Vrdolyak got too cute in his efforts to mislead the IRS — and ended up pleading guilty to aiding Soso in his tax evasion. Now Judge Robert Dow controls his fate.

* The Question: Your thoughts on Ed Vrdolyak’s second prison sentence?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - South of Sherman - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  2. - Annoyed - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Waste of gov’t resources on prosecuting and now incarceration costs. The guy got a finders fee/referral from the Seattle attorney. A retired CFD Lt is gunned down in Beverly yesterday but this is what DOJ spend thousands of hours on?

  3. - City Guy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    Well deserved. He epitomizes everything bad in Chicago politics. I don’t know if the statute of limitations has passed, but I would like to see the FBI investigate how he received $12 million for no work. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

  4. - Centennial - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    Probably not “legal” but I would gladly exchange jail time to know how he managed to get a cut of the tobacco money in the first place.

  5. - Roman - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    Would rather the government take virtually every penny from him in fines and restitution than put him behind bars.

  6. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    Overdue and well deserved.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    I figured they’d give him another “Vdolyak Special” (year and a day) but even when you get a sentence named after you, you can’t keep being in front of a federal judge for sentencing.

    Given his age, all factors, probably the best situation for Ed.

  8. - NIU Grad - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    “what happened was my own fault and I take full responsibility.”

    Come on, you can’t go ahead and say that after allowing your lawyer to play dumb about your intentions. Especially after the guilty verdict was found.

  9. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    I would have like to see him get 10 and give him a month to tell how he did it and if he told give him six months and rest at home. Probably close to a death sentence but if you keep delaying tough to complain about how long it took

  10. - Morton Grove TIF - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    Eddie’s luck ran out. He got what was coming to him. A second time felon. He choose this sort of lifestyle. It’s important that the public see elites like Eddie V. be responsible for their actions. I think it’s a fair sentence given his age. As a Democrat, it saddens me to see the former Chairman of the Cook County Democratic party going to jail… again. But, here we are.

  11. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    I’d trade 18 months in a federal minimum security prison for $12 million.

  12. - Colin O'Scopy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    =I’d trade 18 months in a federal minimum security prison for $12 million.=

    Unless you are an 83 year old in poor-to-failing health, I would like to see you write that when and if you ever are in such a state.

    You can’t take it with you as they say, except your good name, and unfortunately for Vrdolyak, he won’t have that either.

  13. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    We love the tears of a real true blue Democrat, Morton Grove. Especially one that apparently doesn’t know Fast Eddie was proudly recruited into the Illinois Republican Party with open arms.

  14. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    not fast Eddie Burke should take note of what happened to his former colleague here.

  15. - @misterjayem - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    “Though the $12M in tobacco settlement money has served as a major backdrop, Dow said, ‘I do not find it to be a justifiable use of the court’s resources’ to get to the bottom of it.”

    Judge Dow’s statement is very puzzling, IMHO.

    – MrJM

  16. - Keyrock - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Repeat customers deserve good service.
    If it weren’t for his age, he would have received more time

    Awfully sweet of Judge Dow not to ask two questions about the background of the $12 million. I wonder why he would be so bashful?

  17. - Sue - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    The truly amazing thing that is begging to be answered is why hasn’t the State AG never brought an action to rescind the fee agreement with Berman and recoup the fees paid to Vrdolyak?

  18. - Ghost of Jane Byrne - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    - Precinct Captain -

    In the 1980’s , there was a time when Eddie V. was an important person in the Democratic party. He was one of the three leaders in the opposition block to Harold Washington. You don’t make it to the top of the Cook County Democratic party without a track record of work for the party.

  19. - Hard D - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    18 months for what? He paid taxes and disclosed to the court during his first trial that he was getting paid. Yes he did help a friend avoid taxes that later got paid. In the end was all the resources the government spent on this case worth it? JMO 6 months of jail time or home confinement would have been a more just sentence.

  20. - Friend of the Family - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    I always like Vrdolyak. I recall a debate at Loyola University in 1987 when Vrdolyak, Thomas Hynes and Harold Washington debated. They were discussing Army Corp of Engineers conclusions about lake shore erosion in the Rogers Park area, transit problems along Devon Ave, the SRO apartments along Kenmore with such detail. Vrdolyak may have been corrupt, but he knew the city well.

    I also remember visiting city hall during the council wars when Washington would speak a group would gather around Ed Burke’s desk, including Vrdolyak. I think they ate candy while Washington tried to address the council. Those were some interesting times.

  21. - City Guy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    In regards to him being old, it reminds me of the person who killed his parents and asks for mercy because he is an orphan. In this case it a person who spent the past 60+ years scamming and now asks for mercy because he is too old for jail.

  22. - Slugger O'Toole - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:37 pm:


    And what could ever lead ya
    (What could ever lead ya)
    Back here where we need ya
    (Back here where we need ya)
    Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot
    Welcome back

  23. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    Ed Vrdolyak represents a lot of the seedier side of politics but also a lot of the good. I know that he helped an awful lot of people in his life and to this day I have never heard a bad word about him from those that know him. Loyal to his wife, loyal to his kids, loyal to his friends. I make no comment on the crimes he has plead guilty to, only that I know that he probably won’t have to answer to St Peter about them.

  24. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    Colin, with a handle like yours, you’d think somebody would have removed the stick up there by now. Lighten up dude.

  25. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    Hey, it’s something to put in his U. of C. Law School class notes.

  26. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Let’s not forget that Vrdolyak was a key participant in the racial divisiveness surrounding the election of Harold Washington. “Before it’s too late” was the slogan they used.

  27. - Bruce( no not him) - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 4:01 pm:

    too bad, so sad.

  28. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 4:32 pm:

    Ghost of Jane Byrne - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    There was a time when Vrdyolak was so important to the Republican Party, they flew him to Washington for a press conference at the RNC as their top party switcher.

    Here is the point for you and Morton Grove: his party affiliation means nothing because he is unethical slimeball. Corruption is not partisan issue no matter how much you try to pretend that it is.

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