`Quarters' is small change
compared to other insiders
Published October 8, 2004
It's amazing, but these days reporters are giving the mayor
no quarter on Quarters.
On Thursday, Mayor Richard Daley was asked about John
"Quarters" Boyle, who was convicted of stealing $4 million
from the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, then was given a
cushy city job, and who was charged the other day with
taking bribes for contracts in the Hired Truck scandal.
First, Daley said lifting $4 million shouldn't disqualify
Boyle from gainful public employment.
Reporter: Would stealing $4 million from another public
agency disqualify somebody from a city job?
"No, I don't think so," Daley said.
Then a few minutes later, after some perspiring and strange
facial expressions, he abruptly changed course. He said that
a guy who stole $4 million from the public probably should
be disqualified from expecting the public to pay his salary.
"If that was a mistake, it was a mistake," Daley said.
Reporter: Was hiring him a mistake?
"Yes, it could be," Daley said.
Reporter: And whose mistake was it?
"I don't know. He went through the process and got hired.
And that's it and now he is terminated," Daley said.
Reporter: Was it a matter of somebody sending somebody?
"I don't know."
Reporter: And it was a mistake?
"Yes, it was," Daley said.
Reporter: It was a mistake to hire him?
"Sure," Daley said.
Who says only presidential candidates can flip-flop on
matters of state? No wonder Daley wants Sen. John Kerry
elected president. With Kerry in charge of the U.S.
Department of Justice, Daley might get to involve himself in
picking the next U.S. attorney in Chicago.
This would be helpful to some because City Hall is under
investigation on several fronts. A city towing company put
together by his cronies is under investigation, suspected of
interstate car theft.
His friends the Duffs, tough pinkish white guys who
magically received $100 million in affirmative action
contracts, have been indicted. They are scheduled to go on
trial in January.
And the Hired Truck investigation continues, with several
City Hall insiders being charged in shakedowns for trucking
contracts. One of these is Boyle. Another is Angelo Torres,
a Hispanic Daley Organization flunky charged with the same
thing, but nobody at City Hall knows who hired him.
I guess Torres just showed up, saying somebody sent him and
they put him in charge of a $40 million program.
After Daley entertained the media with his tap-dancing act,
the feds added another person charged with the truck scheme:
Martin McDonagh, 36, of Naperville was charged with lying to
the FBI about whether he paid bribes.
While watching Daley flip-flop on Quarters is instructive,
there is another name more important: Donald Tomczak, a top
11th Ward Democratic precinct captain who for decades was
boss of the Water Department.
Tomczak has not been charged with a crime. But he is
believed to be "Water Department Official A" in the federal
charges issued this week against his underling, the alleged
bagman Gerald Wesolowski.
That should terrify Daley and the rest of the Bridgeporters.
Wesolowski was charged with accepting bribes and shakedowns
for personal use and political contributions. According to
the charges, "Official A" and Wesolowski ran the Hired Truck
kickback scheme in that department. Some of the money was
given to "Candidate A," a relative of "Official A," the
Tomczak's son, Jeff, was a candidate then. Now he's the Will
County state's attorney. He's a Republican. The Republican
Tomczak was elected in 2000, when his Democratic father sent
Hired Truck contributions and armies of Democratic City
workers into Will County to elect his son.
That's the kind of bipartisanship Daley loves, especially
when the prize is the power of subpoena.
Quarters is more sexy because of his nickname, but Don
Tomczak is more thrilling because of the people he knows.
He's a good friend of Marina Cartage trucking boss Mike
Tadin, a pal of Daley's who reaped millions on trucking and
other kinky city deals. Tomczak is also close to mayoral
brain Tim Degnan, who bought hundreds of acres of Will
County land near the proposed airport at Peotone.
You can almost hear federal prosecutors thinking: Wesolowski
to Tomczak to Degnan and Tadin. These political guys don't
deal in quarters.
But somebody better start dealing in self-preservation,
based on what First Deputy U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro said
Thursday about anyone who may be involved.
"If this is all about naked self interest as it always is,
the thing they've got to be thinking about is whether they
want us as enemies too," Shapiro said.
The song remains the same. The first guy on the federal bus
always gets the best seat. And it doesn't cost a quarter.