Laborers for JUSTICE reports on the scandal that affected Chicago laborers and carpenters and other union members that did not have clout. The attorney, Deady , counsel to a defendant that cheated union members out of their right to honest hiring is partners with Ed Hogan, counsel to many unions, Chicago Building trades and collection attorney for Laborers pension and welfare funds. The 92 page allegations in the filing on the cover-up will be web published tomorrow on the Laborers Network www.thelaborers.net and www.ipsn.org
U.S. details city cover-upMayor's aides destroyed evidence of patronage, feds allege
By Dan Mihalopoulos, Laurie Cohen and Todd Lighty, Tribune staff reporters
Published April 11, 2006
Aides to Mayor Richard Daley shredded documents and erased computer files to try to cover up how they guaranteed City Hall jobs and promotions for applicants with political or union clout, including city workers who "did not know what they were doing," federal prosecutors said Monday.
The government laid out its case in the greatest detail yet, exactly one month before four Daley aides are scheduled to go on trial for allegedly playing broad roles in the "massive fraud" scheme. Prosecutors said the scheme was designed to circumvent a federal court order restricting political hiring and reward campaign workers for the mayor and his allies.
City officials acted to conceal the hiring scheme since the 1990s, authorities said. The alleged cover-up efforts clash with the defense strategy of the Daley aides, who said last week that the mayor's office fielded political job recommendations in a widely known and completely legal process that was an open secret at City Hall.
The federal government has granted immunity from prosecution to at least five current or former city officials for testifying in the case against Robert Sorich, Tim McCarthy, John Sullivan and Patrick Slattery, the new records show.
Government witnesses said officials in the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs would tell city supervisors whom they wanted to hire from lists of applicants, often with no regard for their true qualifications for the jobs. Daley's patronage chief Sorich and other city officials then would tell the Personnel Department to make sure that unqualified candidates were nonetheless placed on a list of those who were eligible for City Hall openings.
Sorich, McCarthy--another Intergovernmental Affairs official--and Slattery have ties to the Daley family's political power base, the 11th Ward Democratic Organization run by the mayor's brother John. Slattery and Sullivan both worked for the Streets and Sanitation Department.
The new 98-page court filing also outlines new allegations about the roles that the pro-Daley Hispanic Democratic Organization and its leaders played in winning city jobs for HDO's members.
"Individual A"--identified previously as former Intergovenmental Affairs director and HDO Chairman Victor Reyes--arranged for the promotion of an HDO member to mason inspector in 1995 even after a Sewers Department official told Reyes that the worker was suspended for showing up late and leaving early, according to the filing.
His lawyer, Thomas Breen, said Reyes did nothing wrong: "Nobody was promoted or hired with the OK or approval of Victor Reyes because of their political association with HDO."
Prosecutors alleged that former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, a longtime HDO leader, was among the Daley loyalists who sought jobs from Intergovernmental Affairs. Sanchez was described but not identified by name in the federal filing. His lawyer, Daniel Pierce, declined to comment.
The new filing outlined several cases where poorly qualified applicants who were members of pro-Daley political groups allegedly got jobs thanks to their political sponsors.
In 2002 Sorich allegedly directed the hiring of a politically connected house drain inspector who failed to show up at a work site to check a sewer connection, causing sewage to back up in a home. Authorities said the current supervisor of house drain inspectors told them that inspector and two others "were poor choices and did not know what they were doing."
And a political worker for Daniel Katalinic, a former Streets and Sanitation official who has admitted his role in the hiring scheme, allegedly was promoted to full-time truck driver in 2004 based on a rigged interview. Shortly after getting the job, the worker "whacked" a city truck into a viaduct that was too low for the truck to clear and was suspended for 20 days, according to authorities.
Another case involved the 19-year-old son of a high-ranking union official, who allegedly was hired as a building inspector in 2004 because of his connections. An embarrassed Daley said at the time that the city was duped and Andrew Ryan was fired for falsifying his job application.
But prosecutors alleged that top officials in Intergovernmental Affairs pushed to hire Ryan, son of a Carpenters Union Local 13 leader. Christopher Kozicki, the Buildings Department's managing deputy commissioner with 11th Ward Democratic ties, allegedly revised his score for Ryan's job interview, giving him a higher rating so he would qualify to be hired. Kozicki is among officials given immunity from prosecution in return for their cooperation.
Stan Kaderbek, who was then Buildings Commissioner, told Kozicki that hiring Ryan and another young, unqualified son of a union official "would help in maintaining good relations" with the union, authorities said.
Lawyers for the defendants again said Monday that they intend to fight the charges. The mail fraud trial is to begin May 10.
"It ought to be fun watching them present the same stupid theory to a jury," said Sorich's lawyer, Thomas Anthony Durkin.
McCarthy's lawyer, Patrick Deady, said his client never instructed any city official whom to hire or promote. "It appears the government is trying to prove the alleged hiring scheme based completely on the evidence from people who have been given sweetheart deals or immunity from any prosecution," Deady said.
The government says top officials in the Daley administration maintained a secret jobs list for years. The list consisted of employment requests from coordinators of pro-Daley campaign groups, aldermen, union officials and others.
Sorich's secretary, who is cooperating with investigators, tracked job requests on her city-owned laptop computer in her office but "did not tell others why she had the laptop there," according to court documents. She "also kept paper files tracking jobs and sponsors."
That year, FBI agents working on an unrelated city corruption probe were investigating how 10 rate takers had been hired in the Water Department. An agent questioned Sorich, who allegedly said he had no records regarding their hiring.
Sorich later told a computer liaison worker--who is related to an unspecified alderman and was assigned to Intergovernmental Affairs--that he wanted all the files on Sorich's and Reyes' desktop computers erased, according to court records. The computer liaison said that wouldn't do the job since the records were backed up on the mainframe computer.
According to court records, Sorich then told the worker to have all those files deleted from the mainframe, saying, "I'm giving you an order." The computer liaison later confided to his boss that he had deleted files and destroyed hard drives on computers to get rid of information.
Sorich's secretary told investigators that he told her to keep jobs lists on a home computer rather than the computer in the mayor's office. She also said, records show, that she shredded records at Sorich's direction.
The list of government witnesses given immunity also includes former departmental personnel directors Mary Jo Falcon of Sewers and Water Management; Jack Drumgould and Michael Bartello of Streets and Sanitation; and Joseph Vetrano of General Services.
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`Deny, deny, deny'
On Monday, federal prosecutors made new allegations about how Daley administration officials protected a secret political hiring system that rewarded loyal campaign workers:
- Files were deleted from the city's mainframe computer to destroy evidence of political hiring.
- Department personnel directors were told to conceal the role that the mayor's office played in dictating job picks--"deny everything--deny, deny, deny," one was told.
- Former Daley aide Robert Sorich, accused of overseeing the system, told his secretary to shred records that tracked job seekers' names and their political sponsors.
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