Fri, 25 April 2008
The pic to the right shows the trouble Chicago is in . That is an actual police cruiser , the cops had to shoot through the window at a gunman carrying a semi auto AK variant.Yes its springtime and murder is in the air,bodies are dropping all over the city.Please Mayor Daley save us ! (sarcasm off )
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:03am CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Ex-aide pleads guilty in Rezko case, points finger at Blagojevich
Ali D. Ata was accused in Papa John's scheme with Tony Rezko
April 22, 2008
A former top official in Gov. Blagojevich’s administration pleaded guilty to federal charges this afternoon and leveled some of the most significant accusations yet against the governor.
Ali Ata said in his plea deal that the governor offered him a top administrative position in state government in exchange for Ata’s tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
According to Ata, he handed the governor a $25,000 check for a campaign contribution at a 2002 meeting with Blagojevich and longtime Blagojevich campaign fund-raiser Tony Rezko in Rezko’s Chicago office.
Blagojevich “expressed his pleasure and acknowledged that the defendant had been a good supporter and good friend,? the plea agreement says. The governor, “in the defendant’s presence, asked Rezko if he [Rezko] had talked to the defendant about positions in the administration, and Rezko responded that he had.?
Ata said that, after the meeting, he filled out an application for a state appointment. He previously had given Rezko a list of three agencies to which he would like to be appointed.
Later, at a July 2003 fund-raiser for the governor at Navy Pier, Ata — who had contributed another $25,000 — said Blagojevich spoke of him joining the administration and said, “It had better be a job where [Ata] could make some money.?
Ata subsequently was appointed executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, a $127,000-a-year state job. The authority, which Blagojevich created in 2004, has provided $11 billion in funding for 780 projects.
A spokeswoman for the governor could not immediately be reached for comment on Ata’s allegations. Previously, the governor has said he doesn’t trade public positions for campaign contributions.
Blagojevich hasn’t been accused of any crime. But his administration is the target of an ongoing federal investigation involving “pay to play? allegations that state positions and contracts were traded for campaign contributions.
Ata, 56, of Lemont, was a codefendant in a business-fraud case against Rezko — involving Rezko’s fast-food franchises — that has yet to go to trial.
Rezko is now on trial on unrelated corruption charges that accuse him of using his influence in the Blagojevich administration to orchestrate a kickback scheme involving state business deals.
Ata admitted to making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and a tax-related count. He has agreed to give federal authorities unspecified future cooperation, according to his lawyer, Thomas McQueen.
The plea deal refers to the governor only as “Public Official A? — the same reference prosecutors have used.
But sources — and another federal judge — previously have identified Blagojevich as Public Official A. And Ata made the same dollar-amount contributions on the same dates detailed in the plea deal to the governor’s campaign, state records show.
The plea deal details a longstanding relationship between Blagojevich and Ata, dating to before Blagojevich’s first run for governor.
According to the charges against him, Ata, while executive director of the state finance agency, signed a letter bearing the agency’s name to help Rezko fraudulently secure $10 million in loans. Prosecutors said he did so at the request of Rezko to make it appear that an investor had partial state backing for a deal to acquire two groups of Rezko’s Papa John's pizza restaurants in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Ata knew Rezko wanted to show the letter to General Electric Capital Corp., prosecutors said, even though he knew it was phony.
Ata gave $65,000 to Blagojevich’s gubernatorial fund and thousands more when Blagojevich was in Congress.
Though Ata left his state post after about a year, after a critical audit, he soon was awarded a $55,200-a-year contract to be a consultant for the agency — a three-year deal he declined to sign after the Chicago Sun-Times raised questions about a foreclosure case he didn’t disclose when the governor hired him.
Ata and Rezko are longtime business associates.
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01pm CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Down the drain
TARGET OF INVESTIGATION | Sewer company linked to Daley's son closes with more than 2 years left on multimillion-dollar city deal
April 24, 2008
A sewer-inspection company in which Mayor Daley's son and nephew had hidden ownership stakes has shut down, walking away from a $4.5 million contract with the city's water department in the face of an investigation by the city inspector general's office and the FBI prompted by reports in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Investigators are looking into whether Municipal Sewer Services:
• Deliberately filed fraudulent documents with the city to hide the ownership stake held by the mayor's son Patrick Daley and nephew Robert Vanecko.
• Used clout to get its city contracts.
• And actually did all the work it was paid to do.
Municipal Sewer Services closed its Near West Side offices this month, asking employees to turn in their keys, sources said. The company had more than two years remaining on its contract with the city water department. Its abrupt closing has forced the city to scramble to find a replacement to check for problems in sewers in the city's northern two-thirds.
The company's assets are set to be auctioned off at a Loop office this morning.
Municipal Sewer Services had been created five years ago to take over two city contracts from the bankrupt Kenny Industrial Services. City officials then gave Municipal Sewer Services millions of dollars in additional work, twice extending its contracts without seeking competitive bids.
In December, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the company got that additional work from the city even as the mayor's son and nephew together had an undisclosed 5 percent ownership stake in the company.
Every owner should have been disclosed, under the city code. But the company filed papers with the city listing only three owners: Robert Bobb, a friend of the mayor; longtime Bobb business partner Joseph McInerney, and Anthony Duffy, a former employee of Kenny Industrial Services.
Mayor Daley has said he was unaware of his son's investment in Municipal Sewer Services and called it "a lapse in judgment for him to get involved with this company. I wish he hadn't done it."
The disclosure by the Sun-Times prompted the continuing investigation by the mayor's inspector general, David Hoffman, and the FBI. The Sun-Times previously reported that Hoffman was investigating Municipal Sewer Services. The FBI is jointly involved in that investigation, sources confirmed.
Municipal Sewer Services has hired attorney Dean Polales, a former federal prosecutor.
A company spokesman confirmed the closing and the hiring of Polales but would not comment further.
Daley's son and nephew no longer have a stake in Municipal Sewer Services. They cashed out their $65,000 investment in late 2004 at an undisclosed profit, as federal authorities were swarming City Hall in their investigation of the city's Hired Truck Program, which has resulted in 46 criminal convictions. One Hired Truck company -- Brunt Brothers -- also worked for Municipal Sewer Services.
Around the time that Patrick Daley cashed out, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Daley, 32, now serves with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was recently deployed to an undisclosed location.
Since 2004, the city has paid Municipal Sewer Services more than $7.9 million. Most of that money was paid under the two contracts the company originally took over from Kenny Industrial Services -- contracts that the city extended for a year.
Daley's son and nephew were no longer investors in the company in 2005 when Municipal Sewer Services won its latest city contract.
Under that five-year deal, the city was to pay the company $4.5 million for inspecting and cleaning sewers. So far, the city has paid $1.6 million of that.
Now that the company has closed, it's uncertain who will perform that work for the city.
"The Department of Procurement Services and the water department are moving toward procuring new services,'' said Karen Bates, spokeswoman for the procurement agency.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Contact George Bush, The Department Of State And Your Congressmen
-- Ask them to intervene on behalf of a US pastor in a Russian jail for
having one box of ammo
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Thursday, April 24, 2008
GOA has learned that the Russian Republic has sentenced an American pastor
to 3 years in prison because he had 20 rounds of hunting ammunition in his
The pastor -- Phillip Miles of Conway, South Carolina -- hadn't realized
that carrying the twenty rounds in his luggage was in violation of Russian
customs regulations. And the cartridge regulation was nowhere mentioned in
the pamphlet handed American visitors at the Russian airport.
Pastor Miles declared the ammunition in Myrtle Beach. But at the Moscow
airport there are no signs in English to indicate that a separate
declaration must be made to customs officials. Airport authorities
confiscated the box of .300 caliber ammunition and sent him on his way.
Pastor Miles was later arrested when he returned to the airport on February
3, and he has been in jail ever since. GOA has heard from a member of
Pastor Miles' church that the Pastor has some health issues making it even
more important to get him out of jail as quickly as possible.
The three-year sentence is currently on appeal. But outraged American
hunters and gun owners are asking why the Russians have imposed such a
severe sentence for an innocent mistake -- particularly since there is no
question that Miles had intended to give the box of ammo to a friend (a
fellow pastor and hunting enthusiast) for his own personal use.
"There's no way that the judge in this case would have sentenced
to three years in prison without first checking with high ranking officials
in the Russian government," said GOA Founder and Chairman, Sen.
Richardson (ret.). "This is a different country that we're dealing
their judges are nothing more than puppets.
"But you can be sure of this," Richardson continued, "if
Ronald Reagan were
still President over here, there's no way the Russians would have dared to
do this to an American citizen."
The State Department is quietly trying to negotiate his release, as are both
of the South Carolina senators: Republicans Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint.
ACTION: Even though some of our elected officials already seem to be
negotiating clemency for Pastor Phillip Miles, it's important that they know
the American people are behind them. So please contact President Bush, the
State Department and your congressmen. Ask them to do everything in their
power to get Pastor Miles released from prison.
You can e-mail a pre-written letter to all of the above contacts at the same
time by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center at
http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm (where phone and fax numbers are also
----- SAMPLE COMMUNICATION -----
The Russian Republic has sentenced American pastor Phillip Miles to 3 years
in prison because he had a single box of hunting ammunition in his luggage.
Miles -- of Conway, South Carolina -- hadn't realized that carrying the
twenty rounds in his luggage was in violation of Russian customs
regulations. And the cartridge regulation -- which required an additional
customs declaration -- was nowhere mentioned in the pamphlet handed American
visitors at the Russian airport.
The three-year sentence is currently on appeal. But it certainly appears
that the Russians have gone way overboard in imposing such a severe sentence
for an innocent mistake.
This is particularly true because there is no question that Miles had
intended to give the ammunition to a fellow pastor for hunting purposes.
I would ask you to do whatever possible to use your good offices to protest
what is at the least a grave injustice against an American citizen traveling
Thank you for whatever you can do on Miles' behalf.
THANK YOU FOR HELPING OUT WITH NICKELODEON!
As you may remember, we told you that Nick News was looking for some
well-spoken teenagers to discuss the Second Amendment issue. No doubt, they
will be featuring teenagers from the "other side," but you
ensured they will have access to excellent pro-gun representation.
In fact, Nickelodeon's producer was very excited (and impressed) with the
number of candidates GOA provided. So some of you should expect to be
hearing from Nick News soon, if you haven't already.
We are very thankful that you are doing your part to instruct your children
and grandchildren in the freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights. But we
are also grateful that you would make them available to help educate their
peers. Thanks again.
Please do not reply directly to this message, as your reply will
bounce back as undeliverable.
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Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Woman jumps out window to escape gunmen
A south suburban woman was injured after jumping from a third-floor window to escape two gunmen who shot and killed her boyfriend. The Lansing woman was able to run to a neighbor's home for help after she jumped.
Witnesses say the gunmen were waiting for 33-year-old Edward Simon to return home with the couple's three children. The shooting happened in front of the kids but they were not hurt.
The woman remains hospitalized.
Police suspect robbery may have been the motive.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36pm CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Daley plans meetings on Chicago violence
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he'll meet with more than two dozen officials from religious groups, police, schools and social service agencies to talk about a recent spate of gun violence in the city. Daley plans to use Friday's meeting to discuss what's causing the violence and how to stop it.
The scheduled meeting at the mayor's City Hall office comes after five people were shot to death in a South Side home Wednesday following a weekend of shootings that left dozens wounded or dead.
Daley is a strong proponent of gun control and says access to guns is the problem. He says people are settling their differences with guns.
But the mayor says the recent violence isn't tarnishing Chicago's reputation.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm CDT
Thu, 24 April 2008
Students lobby for conceal-and-carry right
With the number of school shootings across the country, gun advocates are pushing for more weapons on campus. "Students for Concealed Carry on Campus" is a group pushing for at least a broader discussion of the idea, and they're being heard right here in Chicago.
You can walk into a student union building hangout on the DePaul campus and you won't be far away from a raging debate about safety, deterrence and the Second Amendment. It's typical of what's happening elsewhere, as scared students grapple with how to best protect themselves. And they're willing to listen to those who propose something that would seem to be anathema to most -- more guns in classrooms.
"We should shoot for things, we should shoot for a violence free society, but at the same time we must totally let go of reason," said Mick Paskiewicz, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
They are interesting words for Paskiewicz to choose as the campus leader of the group that wants those licensed to be allowed to carry firearms on campus, contrary to the regulations of most schools in the United States. He and his friends are walking around with empty holsters to make their point.
"When I lived in Indianapolis, I was less worried about crime than when I am here in Chicago. This past weekend we had over 30 shootings," said Paskiewicz.
Plenty of undergraduates dropped by an information table in the DePaul student union building. Such scenes are being repeated at schools across the nation, in light of such shooting tragedies as Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, and students can't help but be drawn into the debate.
"Because there was no opportunity for people to defend themselves, they just had to cower under their seats and hope that he didn't come to them," said Galen Burghardt, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
There are converts to the cause and others who will argue against it all day.
"The idea of people holding guns or a Glock in English class to make us safer is preposterous," one student said.
"Why?" another asked him. "They already do it in offices, and malls and movie theatres and banks."
"No one would start going with guns anyway because they are scared," said Paula Sokolowska, freshman, business administration.
"There are people who are robbing people, there are muggings," one student said during a discussion.
"Right, we are talking about two different things," another responded.
"No we are talking about the same thing crime," said the first student.
"If you have students needing to hold guns on them, that is just a sign that there is something really sick with this country and a quick fix is not to just give kids concealed weapons," said Ben Wegner, freshman, political science.
DePaul University being in Chicago has no plans of course to change its policy banning guns on campus. Interestingly, Utah is the only state that allows concealed carry on campus and there have been no campus shootings there.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26pm CDT