Politicians saving us money

Why don't they all learn from Fast Eddie, Plead guilty save the taxpayers money on a trial

Vrdolyak's lawyer, Michael Monico, said that being under indictment for nearly 18 months had been difficult for Vrdolyak and his family.

"We avoid a lengthy and bitter trial as a result of this," Monico said.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to charge Vrdolyak in connection with the same alleged extortion attempt that led to last week's indictment of Springfield power broker William Cellini. During the trial of Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko earlier this year, political insider Stuart Levine testified that Vrdolyak was to have passed a $2 million bribe from Hollywood producer Thomas Rosenberg as part of an extortion plot over state investment business, but the scheme fell through when Rosenberg threatened to go to authorities. Why not? This was the fast deal

The case against 'Fast Eddie' Vrdolyak
Five things you need to know about the former alderman who goes on trial today
November 3, 2008

His wheeling-and-dealing as a powerhouse Chicago alderman won him the nickname "Fast Eddie." Today, former 10th Ward Ald. Edward Vrdolyak is set to go on trial on federal bribery and fraud charges that stem from one of his deals. The trial promises to be colorful and well-attended.

Vrdolyak's lively personality is legendary. And his two defense lawyers are among the best-known in Chicago: former prosecutor Michael Monico and longtime defense attorney Terry Gillespie. The prosecution team includes Christopher Niewoehner, who was the lead prosecutor in Tony Rezko's corruption trial.

Former 10th Ward Ald. Edward Vrdolyak is set to go on trial today on federal bribery and fraud charges that stem from one of his deals.

Here are five things you need to know about the case against Vrdolyak:

1. Gold Coast scheme
Vrdolyak faces bribery, wire fraud and mail fraud charges. The case prosecutors have brought against him involves what prosecutors describe as a single scheme: the $15 million sale of a Gold Coast property belonging to the former Chicago Medical School. Prosecutors say Vrdolyak agreed to split a $1.5 million kickback with Stuart Levine, a board member for the school who'd agreed to persuade the board to sell the building to Smithfield Properties. Smithfield, in turn, agreed to pay Vrdolyak a 10 percent fee, or $1.5 million, according to prosecutors.

2. A familiar face
The star witness against Vrdolyak will be a familiar face: Levine. The businessman, lawyer and longtime Republican Party fund-raiser testified for 15 headline-grabbing days and helped convict Rezko last June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals. But Levine -- who has known Vrdolyak for decades -- comes with a lot of baggage. He pleaded guilty to charges in the Rezko case and made a deal with prosecutors to cut his prison sentence. Expect Vrdolyak's defense team to point out the prosecution witness is an admitted drug user, thief and con man.

3. All about the tapes
A wire tripped up Vrdolyak -- and Levine was wearing it. So if jurors don't trust Levine's testimony, prosecutors will try to back it up with what was caught on secretly made recordings. The tapes could ultimately be what convicts -- or clears -- Vrdolyak.

4. This case and only this case
Prosecutors have said they won't bring up past allegations of wrongdoing against Vrdolyak. Among them: At Rezko's trial, Levine testified that, in the 1980s, he paid Vrdolyak bribes to win government contracts for clients and for one of his own companies.

5. No more 'Fast Eddie?'
Vrdolyak earned that moniker as an alderman. But some of those close to him say the nickname doesn't fit anymore. "He's 71 years old. How fast do you think he is?" said one person close to him.

Natasha Korecki


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home


Blogger Template by Blogcrowds.