Prepare for Political Corruption of Olympic Proportions

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Prepare for Political Corruption of Olympic Proportions


Byline: Chuck Goudie

That dripping sound you hear is saliva leaking from the well- marbled jowls of city contractors and politicians.

They are drooling like lockjaw victims over a smorgasbord at the vision of millions in Chicago Olympic contracts.

Since Chicago beat out Los Angeles to win the backing of the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2016 Games, it is time to open up the trough and let the feast begin!

Of course, Chicago is still a long shot to overtake Rio de Janeiro, which seems destined to give Brazil and South America their first-ever Olympic Games. But during the two years until that final decision is made by the International Olympic Committee, the contractors and the politicians will all be jockeying for position in case of a Chicago upset. And there will be millions of dollars in lobbying work and preparations just to prepare for the final push to a 2016 decision.

Considering Chicago's gold-medal status in governmental corruption, the prospects of back-room shenanigans in such a situation are of Olympic proportions.

You would think that the Chicago Board of Ethics, that agency in charge of ferreting out official malarkey and malfeasance, would be bracing for a lengthy monthly meeting on Wednesday to chart a course.

If you would think that, then you would be disappointed.

The Chicago Board of Ethics' monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.

So was the March meeting.

And the February meeting was also canceled.

It certainly can't be for lack of work, now can it?

Not in the "City that Works" harder at graft, self-interest and politicking than the business of the people, or seems to, anyway.

In Chicago, where more city departments are under federal investigation than not - and where the mayor's office is among the targets - what could possibly cause the Chicago Board of Ethics to cancel their regular meetings three months in a row?

"Public notice is hereby given that the April 18, 2007 meeting of the board of ethics has been canceled due to a lack of quorum."

That means they can't get enough members of the ethics board together to conduct a legal meeting and make decisions under the law. And Wednesday will make three months in a row that they haven't been able to muster a quorum.

"We have five members of the board," says city ethics board lawyer Richard Superfine. "We have to have four" members present to hold a legal meeting.

While the lawyers and investigators in the small city office are paid employees, board members who actually make the important determinations, are volunteers. "Certain decisions have to be made by the board," says Superfine, who expresses frustration that the legally mandated decisions have to be put off every month that there is no quorum. …

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