City that Works

works for cash bribes that is. I suspect (without hard evidence) our building was one in which money changed hands to skip certain inspections.

FBI bribe sting snares alderman | Chicago Tribune : Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman was charged Monday with taking bribes to grease a development in her ward in an undercover sting in which she was recorded brashly asking one informant: “What do I get out of it?”

Troutman, a minor player at City Hall despite her 16 years on the City Council, was arrested at her home early Monday by FBI agents who had to break a window to open a door. Authorities said she first spoke to agents from a third-floor window at 6:30 a.m. but had refused to come down.

The complaint alleged Troutman (20th) took $5,000 in cash and was promised $10,000 more to smooth licensing and zoning for a development at 57th and Halsted Streets, where she also had arranged to have a residence and commercial space. The development deal never existed; it was invented by the FBI as part of the sting.

After receiving the $5,000 on Nov. 29, Troutman allegedly went to work for the development immediately.

“Say no more, hand me that phone,” Troutman allegedly said after the cash was in hand, placing a call to the city's zoning administrator on the developer's behalf.
First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro described the complaint as another Chicago “civics lesson” in the history of corruption in the city.

“This time on how things get done in the 20th Ward of Chicago,” Shapiro said.

“You want to build something? You want to improve your property? You need permits from the city?” Shapiro said. “You need zoning? You need the alderman's support? You want the alderman's support? You pay the alderman--you pay Arenda Troutman.”

Troutman allegedly was taped by a cooperating witness who had fraudulently helped her refinance her mortgage in the past, prosecutors said. She allegedly lent money to the witness, taking it from a cash-filled box in her basement.

Ms. Troutman spoke the truth though, in one instance:

Troutman was allegedly caught on tape comparing politics with prostitution: “Most aldermen, most politicians are hos.”

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on January 9, 2007 11:15 AM.

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