CHICAGO SUN-TIMES | MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2011
he year was 2004. The newsin Chicago was filled with re-ports about the Hired TruckScandal at City Hall and the city’s budget crisis. Anyone picking up a newspaperor watching the TV news could seeMayor Richard M. Daley had plentyto deal with.It turned out he was facing evenmore turmoil behind the scenesthat year, including these devel-opments that would prove to beheadaches for Daley after coming topublic prominence years later:† The police investigated —and quickly, and without charginganyone, ended their investigationof — a homicide case involving themayor’s nephew, Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, and Bridget HigginsMcCarthy, the daughter of a closeDaley friend;† City Hall awarded no-bid con-tract extensions worth millions of dollars to a company whose inves-tors secretly included Patrick Daley— the mayor’s son — and anotherDaley nephew, Robert G. Vanecko;† The city reached agreement ona multimillion-dollar deal involvinga company with financial ties toPatrick Daley to bring wireless In-ternet service — Wi-Fi — to O’Hareand Midway airports. All of this took place against the backdrop of the mayor’s wife Mag-gie Daley’s fight with breast cancerand the pending federal indict-ment of James Duff, a key politicalsupporter of the mayor who wouldplead guilty the following year tocharges that he fraudulently ob-tained $100 million in city contractsthat were supposed to have gone tocompanies owned by women andminorities.Few knew then all that was go-ing on in Daley’s world. Some of it has come to light only recently.Together, the pieces now knownoffer a more complete look at whatDaley was facing in his political andpersonal lives in what turned out to be his unusually turbulent 16th yearas mayor:
In a three-day, front-page series, the ChicagoSun-Times exposes what came to beknown as the Hired Truck Scandal.The newspaper documents thattrucking companies hired by thecity in a $40 million-a-year program were “PAID TO DO NOTHING,”exposing City Hall’s Hired TruckProgram as a hotbed of payoffs,sweetheart deals and questionableties to city workers and the mob.
Federalauthorities arrest Angelo Torres, aformer gang member who ran theHired Truck Program for five years.Torres — who has close ties to theHispanic Democratic Organizationrun by former top mayoral aide Victor Reyes — is charged withextorting money from the owner of a trucking company. Torres laterpleads guilty and goes to prison. Heis the first of 49 people charged inthe case, 33 of them city employees,including Daley’s patronage direc-tor, Robert Sorich. All but one endup getting convicted.
The Sun-Times reveals that three of the larg-est companies in the Hired TruckProgram bought insurance fromthe mayor’s younger brother, CookCounty Commissioner John Daley, who also runs the family’s insurancecompany in Bridgeport. AmongJohn Daley’s trucking clients:Michael Tadin, a longtime friend of the mayor.
In his firstpublic comments on the HiredTruck Scandal, Daley says: “I amembarrassed. I’m angry, and I’mdisappointed because I feel I havelet the people down. I am respon-sible for everything that happens incity government. . . . When prob-lems occur and change is needed, itis my responsibility to ensure thatit is complete. In the case of theHired Truck Program, that did nothappen, and, for that, I apologize.”The mayor would keep trying toreform the program — until he shutit down in October 2006.
Daley’s budgetdirector, William Abolt, whose officehad oversight of the Hired TruckProgram, is forced to resign.
The Sun-Timesdiscloses that the city water depart-ment spent about $1 million overfive years hiring trucks from a com-pany owned by the mother-in-lawof Daley cousin Mark Gyrion, the water department’s superintendentof garages.
Daley firesGyrion, who’d been set to get apromotion that would have put himin charge of the water department’s warehouses, equipment and trucks.“There’s no sacred cows or sacredanything in my administration,”Daley says.
City Hallgives one-year contract extensions worth a total of more than $4 mil-lion to Municipal Sewer Services,a sewer-inspection and cleaningcompany secretly owned in part byPatrick Daley and Robert Vanecko.They invested in the company inJune 2003. But their ownershipinterest wasn’t disclosed on docu-ments the company filed with thecity — a violation of city regulations— and remained unknown until it was revealed by the Sun-Times inDecember 2007. Six months ago, afederal grand jury returned a mail-fraud indictment against MunicipalSewer Service’s president, AnthonyDuffy, and Jesse Brunt, owner of thesewer company’s key subcontrac-tor, Brunt Brothers Transfer Inc., atrucking company, accusing them of engaging in a minority-contractingfraud scheme.
A man — whom the police will positivelyidentify only early this year as R.J. Vanecko — punches David Kos-chman in the face during a drunkenconfrontation on Division Street
near Dearborn. Koschman, 21, of Mount Prospect, falls, cracking his