Monday, November 16, 2009

Rash Of Suicides Hits Chicago Politicos

There is a pattern developing. A big shot political insider draws the scrutiny of federal prosecutors combating the corrupt Chicago political system. This is followed by the big shot political insider choosing to end his life. Today, long-time Chicago School Board President Michael Scott's body was found floating in the Chicago River. Hours later, an efficient medical examiner ruled his death a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The Sun-Times writes:

The death of Chicago School Board President Michael Scott was ruled a suicide this afternoon by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, officials said.

When police found his body early this morning, Scott was face down in a foot of water along the Chicago River downtown, a .380-caliber handgun under his body, a source said.

The 60-year-old Scott, Mayor Daley’s go-to-guy for years, had a gunshot wound to his left temple.

He left behind his cell phone on a ledge overlooking the river on the west side of the Apparel Center, 350 N. Orleans.

But he left no note, a source said . . .

An ashen [Mayor Richard] Daley said he saw no indication that his close friend was troubled, saying Scott’s death “is a shock for everyone.”

“No, no. None whatsoever,” Daley said when asked if he sensed Scott was struggling with personal issues. “Mike was always helping people with troubles" . . .

Scott was Daley’s long-time go-to guy but raised eyebrows earlier this year when he disclosed to the Sun-Times that he had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating how students were selected for the system’s elite selective-enrollment high schools . . .

Scott, a West Side resident, also had served on the Mayor's 2016 Olympic committee and as former head of the Chicago Park District.

In August, he was forced to answer questions about his involvement in a development proposal near the the proposed Douglas Park Olympic site.

He insisted he would not profit from the deal.

“I would not profit . . . not at all,” Scott told reporters at a Chicago Board of Education press conference.

He was responding to a published report contending he was “potentially positioning himself to cash in” if the Olympics come to Chicago because he was helping a group of ministers try to turn some city-owned lots across from what could have been an Olympic site into affordable housing.

Chicago eventually lost out to Rio de Janiero, which will host the 2016 Summer Games . . .

Scott owns Michael Scott and Associates, a real estate development firm.

West Side Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) praised Scott on Monday, saying “he was a great individual who added value to every position he served” in city government.

Carothers — who was indicted in May for allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions — spent a year secretly recording public officials and real estate developers for the feds, the Sun-Times disclosed earlier this year.

On Monday, Carothers cut off a conversation with a reporter when asked whether he had recorded any conversations with Scott.
In October, a top adviser to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich with close ties to Mayor Daley died after ingesting a deadly combination of pain medications and rat poisoning. Reporting on the death of Christopher Kelly following his indictment by federal prosecutors and guilty plea, the Chicago Tribune reported:

Officials in Country Club Hills said toxicology tests show that Christopher Kelly, once a top adviser and political fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ingested pain-relief medication and rat poison in an apparent suicide in the suburb last month.

Mayor Dwight Welch said the test results had been returned to investigators. Police in the town have called Kelly's Sept. 12 death an apparent suicide, saying he ingested pills and the poison in a trailer at his roofing company.

Kelly was facing personal turmoil and mounting federal pressure to cooperate in the sweeping corruption case against Blagojevich after pleading guilty in two separate fraud cases.
And then there was the suicide death of Orlando Jones a couple of years ago shortly after he was contacted by federal investigators. The Sun-Times writes:

One of Cook County's top political insiders was found dead on a southwestern Michigan beach this week from a self-inflicted gunshot wound -- two days after
the Chicago FBI attempted to interview him about an undisclosed matter,
authorities said Thursday.

Orlando Jones -- a 52-year-old godson of ex-County Board President John Stroger, former top Stroger aide and married father of two sons -- had lunched with a lawyer Tuesday before disappearing that evening. His body was found about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the bottom of a set of steps leading to Gowdy Shores beach, a short drive from a New Buffalo, Mich., casino Jones had frequented.

Berrien County law enforcement officials said a handgun was found with Jones, who had a single gunshot wound in his head.

Undersheriff Chuck Heit said there was nothing that would lead him to believe "it was anything other than suicide."

Authorities recovered notes from Jones' South Loop home, including one referencing how unforgiving the news media tend to be, a law-enforcement source said . . .

The discovery of Jones' body came just two days after FBI agents approached Jones, FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said. Jones "cordially declined" to speak with Chicago agents. The FBI wouldn't discuss details of the potential interview, citing an ongoing probe . . .
Besides the Las Vegas matter, Jones had been interviewed by federal authorities some time ago about a separate, government-related deal highlighted in a Sun-Times story in Thursday's editions. That deal -- which involved an annual fee paid to Jones by an investment firm that does business with a state government pension fund -- had allowed Jones to be paid six-figure sums annually for a job he did in 2004.

Authorities, Stephenson said, wanted to know if now-indicted Highland Park businessman Stuart Levine played any role in helping Jones land the deal. Levine has been indicted along with Wilmette businessman Tony Rezko in a kickback scheme to defraud Illinois taxpayers using fees like the one Jones got.

Jones told the feds Levine played no role in Jones landing the fee, Stephenson said. He added that Jones was not asked about Rezko.

Like Jones, Rezko is close to the Stroger family, and Rezko and Jones have been business partners, records show.

Jones was in County Board President Todd H. Stroger's office as recently as last week. Todd Stroger was elected to the post held by his father, John, last year after the elder Stroger suffered a debilitating stroke.
Oh, yes, the Obama-Rezko-Blagojevich-Daley ties run deep in Chicago. The Chicago Way is becoming a pretty deadly business these days. Who will be the next victim? Will U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ever get to the bottom of this deep cesspool? That can't happen without removing President Obama from office, along with his top Chicago political advisers, including Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod and ending the career of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and his corrupt city administration.


dcrutch said...

And we're treated like we're sporting orange antennas and are from Neptune's far moon because we wanted to know everything about a Presidential candidate that came from this cesspool.

What were we thinking.

guy77money said...

Mario Puzo couldn't have wrote a better book on the stink of Illinois politics. The problem is this is all true. Truly chilling! I went golfing this summer with a friend from Chicago who used to be in Indiana politics years ago in the Bowen administration. He said it's an embarassment to be associated with the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago with all the political craziness that had happened in the last year. He stated he didn't miss politics and was amazed how nasty and mean spirited the people from both parties have become.

Anonymous said...

It appears either the media runs with comments from sources no matter what, or this is a homicide dressed up as a suicide. On another forum, two different articles were published. One said that the body was on the bank and the gun was found under the body. The other article said the body was floating in the water.