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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Apr 12, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court/ is set to hear oral arguments in a case challenging the very statute that Madigan was charged under for the Solis episode, which is commonly referred to as “666” because of its number in the federal criminal code.

How the high court comes down could have a resounding impact on political corruption prosecutions in Illinois — including the case against Madigan set for trial in October. […]

Snyder’s lawyers have argued it wasn’t a bribe at all, but a legal thank-you gesture, not unlike sending a fruit basket to a politician at holiday time in appreciation for their work. In their brief to the Supreme Court earlier this year, Snyder’s attorneys said the interpretation of the law by Chicago’s appellate court differs starkly from other districts and potentially criminalizes all sorts of otherwise innocuous behavior. […]

But federal prosecutors have said the plain language of the statute, which bars someone from “corruptly” soliciting or receiving something over $5,000 in value “intending to be influenced or rewarded,” leaves no question that doling out rewards to a politician for an official act is a type of “pernicious graft” that Congress clearly wanted to outlaw.

Here’s a great background story from the Sun-Times

A cash-strapped mayor in northwest Indiana goes to a trucking company after engineering city contracts in its favor, and he tells its owners he needs money.

They pay him $13,000 for consulting. But there’s no evidence he did any work.

The feds call that corruption. But next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether the mayor even committed a crime under a law that’s popular among federal prosecutors — including those pursuing former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

The once-powerful Chicago Democrat would likely be on trial right now if it weren’t for the arguments Monday before the nation’s high court in the conviction appeal of former Portage, Ind. mayor James Snyder. One judge delayed Madigan’s trial until October to see how the court rules. A second put sentencing hearings on hold in a related bribery case involving ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and three others.

The judges are waiting for a decision from a Supreme Court that has taken “a very narrow view” of public corruption lately, said former Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

* Capitol News Illinois

Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.

The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to a lack of a centralized federal or state removal strategy, as well as inadequate funding and insufficient inventories of where lead pipes are located.

In Illinois – which has the most lead pipes per capita of any state, according to a 2023 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – water suppliers are in the process of inventorying their lead pipes to get a clearer picture of timelines for removal over the next several decades. […]

Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed FY25 budget would allocate $20 million to lead service line replacement planning grants. The capital infrastructure budget proposal also includes around $340 million in reappropriated funding along with almost $260 million in new appropriation for Lead Service Line Replacement loans.

* Rep. Bob Morgan and Sen. Sara Feigenholtz reject Mayor Johnson’s request for a meeting





* Here’s the rest…

* Crain’s | Illinois awards first abortion training grants: Three groups will share $2 million in funding to provide training to abortion providers as part of Illinois’ efforts to improve access to abortions in the state. The Abortion Provider Capacity Building Grant Program is providing grants to Midwest Access Project, Planned Parenthood of Illinois and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

* State Week | DCFS makes a push for improvement: No state agency gets more negative headlines than the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Along with tragic outcomes, the department has struggled to keep up with demand and provide proper placements. A new director has taken over. Heidi Mueller recently updated a judge about efforts to find better housing options. This comes as the agency is in line for an increase in funding and a push to bring on more case workers.

* Center Square | Illinois corrections official defends handling of info to parole board:[Alyssa Williams-Schafer] defended IDOC’s handling of the case. “So currently, the Department of Corrections provides a violation report as well as a notification of charges to the parole board. So that violation report notification of charges is created by the agent, reviewed by the commander and then submitted,” she said. “So it has to be served within a certain period of time to the individual in custody. After it is served copies of those, particular reports are then submitted to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board as well as our automated management system, which is our Parole Communication and Command Center.”

* WSIL | Senator Fowler invites Southern Illinois students to State Capitol: Wednesday’s event was the second of two parts. The schools initially met in the fall at SIU to draft imaginary bills. On Wednesday, the schools came together to debate the bills in a practice committee hearing at the capitol.

* WCIA | Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School receives another threat: The Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School has reported they have received a “vague” threat from an anonymous individual Friday morning — the third threat the school has received within a week. After consulting with law enforcement, the school is remaining open Friday, though there will be “increased security measures” at the school.

* Chicago Reader | Dexter Reed, anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, Marquette Greenway construction: We don’t know how many times Reed shot, or how many times police shot him (the autopsy was still pending). We don’t know how police could’ve determined Reed wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, since the windows on his car are tinted. And we don’t know why a tactical team was conducting traffic stops in the first place, or why they initially drew their weapons. Collectively, the unknowns raise “serious concerns about the validity of the traffic stop that led to the officers’ encounter,” according to Andrea Kersten, COPA’s chief administrator. Both COPA and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office are investigating.

* WTTW | For 25 Years, Guest House Has Provided Temporary Medical Lodging to Patients and Families in Need: Since Guest House was founded 25 years ago, the nonprofit has offered temporary housing to medical patients, their family members and military veterans. Located in the Illinois Medical District, the lodging offers a way for patients to access advanced care or specialized treatment often only found in major cities at a limited number of hospitals or academic medical centers, according to executive director Adam Helman. Patients are not turned away from Guest House for their inability to pay.

* Daily Herald | Schools’ tax attorney to Bears: Dismiss your appeal: Ares Dalianis of Chicago-based Franczek P.C. — who has represented Palatine Township Elementary District 15, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 in the yearlong property tax dispute with the Bears — said Arlington Heights Village Manager Randy Recklaus’ proposed settlement to the schools and Bears was “too late” since it came five days after the Cook County Board of Review set the value of the team’s 326-acre property at $124.7 million. That stuck the Bears with a $8.9 million tax bill. But they’re now contesting the decision before the state’s property tax appeal board, in hopes of having the property’s value reduced to $60 million. That would set the tax bill at $1.7 million.

* Tribune | Former CPS student files lawsuit alleging sexual assault, coerced abortions by high school administrator: Following an investigation into Crowder by the Office of the Inspector General, CPS removed him from his position in September 2021. Crowder was later charged with sexual assault in 2022 and placed on a do-not-hire list by CPS while the OIG investigation is ongoing. Crowder is out on bond and due back in court April 17, according to public records.

* BND | Are dogs allowed in restaurants, grocery stores in Illinois? Here’s what state law says: While service animals have public access rights to enter grocery stores, restaurants and other establishments, companion or pet dogs may only enter dog-friendly buildings.

* NBC Chicago | Why are Illinois flags flying at half-staff today?: According to a notice posted to the state’s website, the flags have been ordered to be flown at half-staff in honor and remembrance of Illinois Department of Corrections Sergeant Andrew “Drew” Faught. Faught, who worked at the Pontiac Correctional Center, passed away April 8 while serving as a member of what the state referred to as the “TRT Team.”

* Courthouse News Service | Alabama harvested the organs of inmates without consent, families say: Families of Alabama inmates targeted the state’s practice of harvesting organs from the bodies of dead inmates, often in direct opposition to their wishes, in a trio of lawsuits filed Thursday. The practice first came to light in December 2023, after the family of 43-year-old Brandon Dotson filed a federal lawsuit claiming his body was returned from a state autopsy in a decomposed condition with his scalp peeled back and his heart missing. The lawsuits in Montgomery County Circuit Court are the first state actions to follow up follow up Dotson’s case.

* 404 Media | How a Money Laundering Crew Allegedly Moved Millions Through FanDuel: The plan was to create accounts with different casinos and sportsbooks, and in particular FanDuel, a very popular betting platform that has led the charge in the legitimization and surging popularity of sports betting in the U.S. Fresh accounts had limits on how much money they could deposit, but Bogomolny sent the clients screenshots of what established accounts were eventually capable of. They showed the accounts’ total winnings: $883,072.28 in one. $2,786,797.39 in another. The idea was that dirty money went in, legitimately gambled winnings came out.

* The Athletic | Ippei Mizuhara’s affidavit takeaways: The most startling claims against Ohtani’s interpreter: Months later, they were still looking to collect. On Nov. 17, 2023, the bookmaker texted Mizuhara looking to receive payment. Knowing Mizuhara’s public connection to Ohtani — the former interpreter garnered a semi-celebrity status due to their friendship — the bookmaker alluded to seeing Ohtani to gain access to Mizuhara. The text read: “Hey Ippie (sic), it’s 2 o’clock on Friday. I don’t know why you’re not returning my calls. I’m here in Newport Beach and I see [Ohtani] walking his dog. I’m just gonna go up and talk to him and ask how I can get in touch with you since you’re not responding? Please call me back immediately.”

       

7 Comments
  1. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 2:32 pm:

    - They pay him $13,000 for consulting. But there’s no evidence he did any work. -

    Wheeee!…if that’s the measure, gonna need more prosecutors.


  2. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 2:35 pm:

    - the plain language of the statute, which bars someone from “corruptly” soliciting or receiving something -

    “Corruptly” requires proof of quid pro quo…Yes?


  3. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 3:01 pm:

    It’s Lake County, Indiana. The former Sheriff is doing time in a federal prison for corruption. Some folks take risks to grasp a share of cash.

    BITD, the City Attorney of East Chicago was murdered as he left a fundraiser attended by 400 people. Of course, there were no witnesses.

    Another mayor from a small town along Lake Michigan dipped into his campaign funds to pay gambling debts. At least, his sentence was house arrest.


  4. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 3:27 pm:

    = They pay him $13,000 for consulting. But there’s no evidence he did any work. Wheeee!…if that’s the measure, gonna need more prosecutors=

    Due to the frequency of corruption in Illinois politics, it is easy to make light of the relatively low amount ($13,000) but to the average person and taxpayer 13K is a ton of money.
    Hopefully, SCOTUS does not overturn Snyder’s “corrupt solicitation” conviction and give MJM an easy path to a slap on the wrist .


  5. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 3:51 pm:

    That letter hurts me to even read. I can’t recall ever seeing an elected official releasing a public statement for why they dislike another elected official and refusing to even meet with them. Not even during the Rauner years. (If my memory is wrong please help me.)

    Dude needs to stop listening to his former employer and benefactor.


  6. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 3:53 pm:

    No evidence that a consultant did any work? Sounds about right to me.


  7. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 12, 24 @ 3:53 pm:

    Good on Silverstein, Feigenholtz and Morgan. You cannot have dialogue with people who are engaging in anti-semitic rhetoric (or who refuse to condemn such rhetoric). Mayor Johnson has a ton of faults. Add anti-semite to that list.


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