Feds have their net out for Illinois’ kraken monster, Boss Michael Madigan

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

By John Ruberry

The new year isn’t here yet but 2020 is shaping up to be the Year of Many Political Indictments in Illinois.

Three months and a day ago I posted this story at Da Tech Guy: Feds setting up a massive corruption net in Chicago area. In that entry I gave a summery of the recent raids on offices of several politicians, all with ties to Boss Michael Madigan, the kraken monster of Illinois. As I’ve explained numerous times in this space, Madigan is the most powerful pol in the Prairie State. He has been speaker of the state House for all but two years since 1983. He’s served as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party since 1998. He’s been committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward since 1969. It was from that perch in 2007 that Madigan nominated Joseph Berrios to be the chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, better known as “the Chicago Machine.” Three years later Madigan greatly assisted Berrios in his election of the seemingly obscure post of Cook County Assessor. That office determines how much your property is worth in Crook County–and therefore how much it will be taxed–and it’s a position that has long been associated with graft.

Like the legendary kraken, Madigan has very long tentacles and of course a large reach.

Among the updates I have for you today is that Berrios, who was–gasp!–ousted by a reformer last year in the Democratic primary for assessor, is now under federal investigation. With his power base gone, Berrios stepped down as party chairman shortly after his well -deserved defeat.

Madigan is the senior party in the tiny law firm Madigan and Getzendanner, which specializes in corporate property tax appeals.

Hmmm.

Also in that September DTG post I reported on the indictment of Ald. Ed Burke of Chicago. He represents a ward that borders Madigan’s. Burke has been an alderman since 1969 and is the longest serving Chicago alderman in history. Burke’s a lawyer too. His specialty? Property tax appeals. 

In May, federal authorities raided the home former Commonwealth Edison lobbyist Michael McClain. ComEd is the electrical utility for northern Illinois and the utility, which is owned by Exelon, seems to be a major focus of the corruption probe. And that’s a big problem for Madigan and other Illinois politicians. Exelon is a public corporation and it’s difficult for it to hide its dirty laundry. And ComEd is subject to local government regulation, which of course is why the utility cozied up to Madigan and other big shots. And customers, such as myself, have to pay a ComEd bill every month. And every ComEd user believes they are paying to much for electricity. Now they have another reason to hate ComEd.

Clearly the feds are in the midst of a far reaching corruption investigation in Illinois, its target appears to be our kraken, Madigan. But Madigan has been under federal investigation before and the tangible results of those probes were as elusive as those efforts by photographers trying to get a clear photograph of Bigfoot, or a real kraken. 

Madigan infrequently speaks to the media and he never uses email.

Let’s take a look at where one of those tentacles reached. The City Club of Chicago is a tweedy, or seemingly so, good government group, dismissed as “goo-goos” by the cynics. It’s known for its weekly luncheons featuring prominent public officials. For years its president was Jay Doherty, a lobbyist for ComEd. He resigned earlier as head of the group after the feds raided the City Club offices and he no longer lobbys for Commonwealth Edison. Among the speakers at the City Club during Doherty’s tenure were ComEd reps–and Lisa Madigan, Michael’s daughter, who spoke to them in 2009. At the time Lisa was the Illinois attorney general and her office was investigating Doherty and the City Club.

The focus of this part of federal probe appears to be handing out of ComEd jobs for the politically connected in exchange for state actions favorable to the utility.

Last year a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago named Illinois the second most corrupt state. Louisiana was tops. 

Man oh man, Louisiana must be horrible. Illinois surely is. 

Here at Da Tech Guy Pat Austin regularly reports on Louisiana.

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit from Illinois, where is not under federal investigation.

Sunday Morning Under the Fedora Media vs Brady, Kyrie addition by subtraction, Tampa Bay Lightning not striking twice, Betts as Ruth Redux and Games on paper vs games on paper

Are we still after last year seeing sports casters saying that even if the New England Patriots win against the hapless Dolphins today that the only question in the playoffs is: “Do the Patriots lose to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at home or in Kansas city?”

Now don’t get me wrong, Kansas City is a good team and as demonstrated earlier in the year they are quite capable of beating any team including the Patriots, but I can’t think of anything that is more likely to motivate an already great Patriots defense and Tom Brady back into “Deflategate revenge tour” mode than stuff like this.


It’s still very early in the season but I’d like to point out that last year the Brooklyn Nets finished the year at 42-40 with a .512 winning percentage without Kyrie Irving as the 6th seed while the Boston Celtics finished at 49-33 with a .598 winning percentage as the 5th seed in the east with Kyrie irving.

This year Irving left the Celtics and the team is currently the #3 seed at 22-8 with a .733 winning percentage and even with the #2 Miami Heat in the Loss Column. Irving signed with the nets who are currently 16-15 with a .516 winning percentage and 7th seeded in the conference, but more importantly is 12-8 with a .600 winning percentage since an injury sidelined Irving after a 4-7 start.

This man is the anti-Brady


Last year in the NHL during the Regular Season the Tampa Bay Lightning simply dominated the league in a way we hadn’t seen in years until the playoffs came around. I remember driving home after game one listening to sports radio as they declared that despite that loss Columbus had no chance right up until they finished the lightning off.

It’s a year later and the team that managed 128 points, a solid 20 above every other is now currently at 42 points five points behind the last wild card team. Now there are still 46 games to go but it’s an important reminder that you have to take advantage of any opportunity you have because you just might not get another chance.


Speaking of not getting another chance as the year ends and the 2020 season draws near we are still getting “the trade or don’t trade Mookie Betts” debate in Boston.

It’s been a pretty quiet off season for the Red Sox with three players from last world series win (Brock Holt, Mitch Moreland, Rick Porcello ) currently testing free agency and Catcher Sandy Leon traded to Cleveland for minor league pitcher Adenys Bautista. As of today their current offensive depth chart looks like this (via redsox.com):

With the exception of Pedroia this is pretty much the Red Sox offence that tore up the league last year but was betrayed by injuries in the rotation and weakness in the bullpen. Or to put it another way, this team is one closer and perhaps one healthy rotation away from fielding a team more than capable of dominating the American league with a monster offense, a zipper outfield and a rotation as good as any other in baseball.

So to those who say forget 2020 and trade Mookie let me remind all these people who have forgotten the lean times of a little history.

Exactly 100 years ago another Red Sox had an off season at 66-71-1 (one game called after 10 innings never made up) where they had dropped to sixth a year after winning the world series. They decided to get rid of their star right fielder, who could also pitch a bit, before the start of their next season selling him for a price higher than the entire payroll of the the previous year’s team. More money than the combined salaries of the top 8 players in the league.

That team had won five World series in the 20th century at that point, they would not win another.

Now Mookie Betts is no Babe Ruth but the point of the story is when you have a chance to win a World Series take it, because it might be another 86 years before you win another.


Finally as I mentioned before the old table top face to face fantasy baseball league that I started 32 years ago (the year before I got married) was revived this year. Going into Friday I had a record of 8-4 having won my 1st 4 series with a pair of series coming up against two relative newcomers with one season of experience between them both with losing records.

Over the next two days I lost 4-6 including a 9th inning blown save by Kimbrel, a 14th inning marathon, and had a team with Mookie Betts batting 1st and Anthony Rendon hitting 3rd shut out for the final 20 innings of the last two games against a sixteen year old kid who was playing in his 1st baseball simulation league 50 years after I had gotten my 1st baseball simulation game, Milton Bradley baseball for Christmas in 1969 (great game btw you can get it on eBay here) at the ripe old age of six.

This demonstrates a sports rule that extends even to games on paper. No matter what the betting line or the prognosticators say there is a reason why you actually play the games.