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The Mechanics
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City Council Fri May 29 2009

Carothers Was A Cooperator!?

I don't know how else to express this but Holy Shit.

Alderman Isaac "Ike" Carothers, who was indicted yesterday for mail and wire fraud in a corruption case where he allegedly accepted $40,000 worth of home renovations in exchange for lucrative zoning relief, was reportedly wearing a wire for the G the last year or so.

Drip, drip, drip. An alderman wearing a wire is--really astounding. The fact that the government felt the need to "flip" a member of our City Council, as though it is an on-going criminal conspiracy, is unbelievable, shameful, really--holy shit.

From the Sun-Times:

The document identifies Carothers as "Public Official A" -- with clear identifiers pointing to him, including a reference to one of his family members running for Congress in 2004.

The government filing says Carothers, 54, had been "consensually recording conversations with individuals suspected of engaging in ongoing criminal conduct."

"These recorded conversations include meetings Public Official A has had with other public officials and real estate developers. The government expects Public Official A to continue his cooperation into late May 2009."

Detailing the corruption scandals that have rocked Chicago in the last twenty years--Phocus, Haunted Hall, Greylord, Silver Shovel, Gambat, Incubator, Lantern, and of course the Hired Truck Scandal--often turns into rank raconteurism; Chicago definitely has a loose tooth love for its colorful public figures. And scandal fatigue likely has taken the edge off of new revelations. But Ike Carothers is a West Side institution, a power broker who dominates the politics there, particularly at the street level.

Carothers is also a critical pillar in Mayor Daley's political establishment that effectively coopted enough black and Latino political organizations and institutions to keep the ground unsteady under any potential challenger. The Mayor views this as critical to governing the city; his critics as a cynical way to squash dissent.

If Ike Carothers' purpose was to ferret out corruption among his colleagues in the Council, the Mayor's governing majority could begin to crumble. And all those organizations and "leaders" that for years have cozied up to the Mayor and establishment in the name of "pragmatism" will suddenly find themselves tied to a coalition that can't guarantee them anything. Council leaders will begin to fight for the scraps. It could get ugly.

It is important to remember that Carothers was critical to the Mayor's ruling coalition; he was always a counterbalance to the established black political institutions on the city's South Side, represented by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his son Junior, among others.

Comme ca:

At an unrelated news conference, Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) let loose on [Congressman Jesse] Jackson, [Jr].

Carothers, who defeated a Jackson-backed aldermanic challenger in 2003, accused Jackson of being a do-nothing congressman with "an ego as big as this building" and aspiring to be "king of the world."

The vitriolic broadside unnerved Daley, who was nearby. The mayor turned to Carothers and said, "Ike, give it a rest."

 
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