Vrdolyak’s Controversial Career

IPSN August 28, 1997

1963: Joins 10th Ward Democratic Organization.
1966: Announces candidacy for aldermen, then withdraws from the race.
1968: Elected Ward committeeman.
1971: Elected alderman, defeating John Buchanan.
1974: Defeated in a bid for Cook County Assessor Thomas Tully.
1975: Named chairman of the City Council Buildings and Zoning Committee.
1976: Elected President Pro Tempore of the City Council after Richard J. Daley’s death.
1979: Directs failed re-election of Mayor Mike Bilandic. Is stripped of his powers by Mayor Jane M. Byrne.
1979: Uses his ties to the Mob Controlled First Ward Organization to convince Byrne to dump allies of the Daley family as leaders of her City Council, installing him as her chief floor leader.
1982: With Jane Byrne’s help, he is elected chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, ousting George W. Dunne. Re-elected in 1984 and 1986.
1983: Takes control of the Chicago City Council following the election of Harold Washington as Mayor. Uses racism and race baiting tactics to polarize the city and divide the council between white and minority aldermen, leading the so-called “Vrdolyak 29.”
1986: Stripped of City Council powers by Washington after special aldermanic elections erode Vrdolyak’s 29 vote majority.
1987: Reportedly meets with mobster Joe Ferriola seeking support for his candidacy as mayor as an independent candidate in the General election, a three-way bid against Washington and longtime nemesis, County Assesor Thomas Hynes.
1987: Resigns under pressure as Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Organization, and joins the Republican Party.
1992: Steps in behind-the-scenes to maneuver the political elections in Cicero, following the indictments of Cicero Assessor Frank Maltese and Ernest Rocco Infelise on charges of mob racketeering.

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