John Daley, 11th District Cook County Commissioner, Finance Committee, Chair, and brother of Da MayorPosted by Third Generation Chicago Native at 6/14/2007
This is an old but good article written on John Daley, covering his marriage to a lady whose family may have possible mob connections or members. John Daley also makes sure everyone plays nice with the Toddler, aka Todd Stroger.
Mayor's low-key brother forced into spotlight as city corruption scandals invade his personal and political domain, the 11th Ward
By Mickey Ciokajlo and Robert Becker
Tribune staff reporters
Published September 11, 2005
In this most visible of Chicago political families, he has always skirted the limelight.
While his brothers have held high posts garnering national attention--mayor of Chicago and U.S. secretary of commerce--John Daley has quietly pursued his lucrative insurance business while holding a series of lower-tier elected offices. In 25 years as a public official, he has rarely held a news conference or mounted much in the way of a campaign.
Now, with federal charges of corruption ravaging City Hall and the recent news that investigators interviewed his oldest brother--Chicago Mayor Richard Daley--John Daley is being dragged reluctantly into the spotlight.
In recent months, John Daley has refused to talk about the investigation, which has led to charges against members of his 11th Ward Democratic Organization. He maintained that stance during an interview last week.
"I'm not going to discuss it," Daley said.
Pressed on whether he's been questioned by investigators, he offered a polite but adamant refusal: "It's a personal decision . . . I've said it (before) and I'm going to say it again, that's my decision."
Daley's decision comes amid a sweeping federal investigation that has shaken the 11th Ward political operation he has run since he was appointed committeeman in 1980.
Bribe money from the Hired Truck scandal was directed to Daley's ward organization and the owner of a trucking outfit who bought his insurance from him has pleaded guilty in the bribes-for-work scheme.
Robert Sorich, City Hall's patronage chief, 11th Ward political operative and a man with whom Daley often shared rides to work, has been accused by prosecutors of participating in a "massive fraud" in city hiring. Patrick Slattery, another city hiring official, 11th Warder and longtime friend of the Daley family, was also charged. And investigators have interviewed numerous other members of Daley's ward organization, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
While John Daley's organization has come under scrutiny, he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
"Whether or not it's fair, it's talked about a lot," County Commissioner Mike Quigley said of Daley and the ongoing investigations. "Whenever this sort of thing comes up, the question is who's next."
Supporters describe the 58-year-old Daley, the third of four sons of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, as a dedicated family man, fiercely loyal friend and hands-on manager of the 11th Ward, where the family has lived for generations.
"If there's one thing I've learned [from John], it's detail and follow through," said 11th Ward Ald. James Balcer.
As the only Daley son who still lives in Bridgeport, he is known as a community-oriented man who is deeply involved with the seniors and the neighborhood parishes, including his own, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church.
During County Board meetings, Daley cuts a low profile in the boardroom although his respectful colleagues always stop to listen when he speaks. Daley's lack of enemies on the 17-member board can be attributed to both his amiable style and his place in a Chicago political dynasty.
Daley rarely raises his voice in a County Board room increasingly known for shouting matches among his fellow commissioners. And his voice is often reduced to a soft mumble as he recites the list of contracts that he can't vote on because of potential conflicts.
Typically, the abstentions involve clients in his insurance brokerage business, a profession in which Daley works as a middleman to place firms' business with insurance companies.
Daley has acknowledged that his clients include local contractors with millions of dollars in government business, such as McDonough Associates Inc. and G.F. Structures Inc., as well as some of the companies that were in the city's Hired Truck Program.
Daley said he would not discuss income from his insurance business.
In 2003, he acknowledged receiving commissions of "around" $400,000 a year for the business he did with Near North Insurance. Near North's head, Michael Segal, was convicted in June 2004 of 21 federal counts of mail and wire fraud, racketeering, false statements, embezzlement and tax conspiracy.
Daley said that he has always kept his insurance practice separate from the operation of the ward organization. He said "you'd be shocked" by the small amount of insurance business that he does in the 11th Ward.
"I never forced insurance on anyone," he said.
Daley also said he is an officer in another insurance company--First Resource Marketing Inc.--headed by William Braasch, chairman of the Illinois International Port District and described by John as "as a good friend of Rich."
Daley said the company, which handles health and hospitalization insurance, does no business with municipal governments.
Wealth and controversy
The insurance business has been a source of wealth, and controversy, for Daley for nearly his entire adult life.
In early 1973, when Daley was 26 years old, the press broke the story about how Mayor Richard J. Daley had shifted some of the city's insurance business to the Evanston firm to which John had business ties.
Another, more personal, controversy involved his marriage 30 years ago to his wife, Mary Lou.
The headline in the Chicago Tribune on April 24, 1975 couldn't have stung more: "Daley's son to wed hood's daughter."
A month later, John Daley was married to Mary Lou Briatta, the daughter of Louis Briatta, a reputed crime syndicate gambling figure.
They have three children: John, 25, and 20-year-old twins, Michael and Christine.
John Daley was born Dec. 5, 1946. Before his first birthday, his father would be appointed ward committeeman; he was 8 years old when his dad was elected mayor.
John Daley's own political career didn't begin until his selection as 11th Ward Democratic committeeman in 1980, taking over for brother Richard after he was elected Cook County state's attorney. In 1985, he was appointed to the Illinois House and, four years later, to the Senate.
In 1992, John Daley again was appointed to a vacancy, this time on the Cook County Board.
Even after the mayor moved to the South Loop, John Daley stayed home in Bridgeport and raised his three children there. He has built a new house on South Lowe and continued some of the traditions of his famous father.
"He goes to wakes. He's his father's son more than Rich" in that regard, Quigley said. "John will send flowers. John will send a note. He's a very personal guy."
Bernie Brice, who grew up across the street from the Daleys and now lives a block from John, referred to his life-long friend as "down to earth" and someone equipped with a good sense of humor.
"He's the real deal as far as fatherhood and being a good father," Brice said.
As for current controversy swirling around John, Brice said, "I feel bad for him because he's an honest, hard-working guy."
As committeeman, Daley oversees a large operation that includes captains, and often assistants, for the ward's 50 precincts. Daley prefers to refer to his captains as "community representatives," noting that they handle service requests and work year-round, not just at election time. He acknowledges that many of them have city or county jobs.
Daley said observers too often focus just on the 11th Ward's political prowess.
"I view it as a community of families, churches and great neighbors, and neighborhoods," Daley said. "The politics, I think, overshadows the strong ties and community ties and community groups within the ward."
Yet politics are intertwined with the current investigation that has resulted in criminal charges against top 11th Ward operatives Sorich and Slattery.
Another one-time 11th Warder, former Hired Truck company owner John Cannatello, has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and is awaiting sentencing. While Cannatello's lawyers stress that he is not cooperating with the federal investigation, his wife, Nicola, remains under indictment.
Earlier this year, Daley acknowledged that he sold Cannatello worker's compensation insurance for the company, GNA Trucking.
Those closest to John Daley say the current controversy has not dimmed their confidence in him.
"He runs his business and his whole life with unbelievable integrity," said younger brother Bill Daley, the former commerce secretary.
Other County News:
Texas man has been indicted by a federal grand with two counts of computer fraud for allegedly infecting computers at health care facilities operated by the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, the U.S. Attorney’s office said today.
James C. Brewer, 23, of Arlington, Texas, was charged in the two-count indictment with operating a botnet in 2006 that infected the county computers, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
According to the indictment, Brewer infected the computer network with a "bot" allowing him to scan the network for computers with vulnerabilities or security weaknesses and hack into those computers, and in the process interrupting or disabling normal network communications or functions. The indictment claims that Brewer created a "botnet" or network of infected computers linked to the Internet, affecting more than 10,000 computers worldwide.
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