Vrdolyak asks to have indictment dismissed
September 18, 2007
The Associated Press
Attorneys for former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak have asked a federal judge to dismiss an indictment against the once-powerful political leader.
In an appeal filed Monday, the attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge Milton Shadur that the indictment does not specifically name any criminal offense Vrdolyak may have committed.
The indictment accuses Vrdolyak of plotting with millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine to get money from a developer that wanted to buy a building on Chicago's Gold Coast.
Levine - who at the time was chairman of the board of Chicago Medical School, which owned the building - sought to freeze out rival buyers in favor of Smithfield Properties, which wanted to redevelop the building for condos, the indictment said.
Vrdolyak allegedly told Levine that Smithfield was interested in the property. The two discussed a $2 million cash payment by Smithfield to a charitable trust from which Levine benefited personally, according to the indictment.
They settled on a scheme under which the payment would be $1.5 million, or 10 percent of the $15 million sale price, and Vrdolyak would receive a cut for his services as a middleman, according to the indictment.
But a federal investigation called Operation Board Games intervened and the money never changed hands. Neither the medical school nor Smithfield are charged with wrongdoing.
Vrdolyak's attorneys argued Monday that Levine may have violated ethical rules, but there is no proof that Vrdolyak did so.
Vrdolyak was once chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and led the Chicago Machine forces that battled the late Mayor Harold Washington during Chicago's "Council Wars" era. He later switched parties and ran for mayor unsuccessfully as a Republican.