Chicago Alderman Isaac Carothers has been indicted by federal authorities for corruption:
Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th), a staunch ally of Mayor Richard Daley, was indicted today on charges he accepted about $40,000 in improvements to his residence as well as meals and tickets to sporting events in exchange for backing a major project by a developer.
The developer, Calvin Boender, was also indicted.
Carothers, 54, was charged with four counts of wire and mail fraud and one count each of accepting a bribe and filing a false federal income tax return.
Boender was charged with four counts of wire and mail fraud, two counts of obstruction of justice, two misdemeanor counts of violating federal campaign finance laws and one count of paying a bribe.
According to federal authorities, Boender sought to transform the city’s largest undeveloped tract of land, a 50-acre former rail yard and industrial site in Carothers’ West Side ward.
Carothers supported successful zoning changes for the Galewood Yards project, enabling half of the property to sold at a profit of about $3 million to Boender, the charges alleged.
That’s a pretty fair return on investment for Boender.
Since 1972 27 Chicago aldermen have been convicted of corruption. Indeed, Carothers own father, William Carothers, was convicted of attempting to extort free office remodeling work from a hospital contractor in 1981.
Ike Carothers is a former deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation. He is currently the chairman of the City Council’s Police and Fire Committee. Two months ago former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez was found guilty of corruption. Is there a pattern emerging?
The clearest pattern is that corruption is still business as usual in Chicago and it will take more than convicting a few officials before that changes.