Indictments Come Down From Hired Truck Investigation
In a significant expansion of the U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the Hired Truck Scandal, seven new sets of indictments were handed down from the bench yesterday, four former city employees and three trucking company operators, bringing to fourteen the number of defendants resulting from the investigation. Yesterday's charges reveal the federal prosecutor's interest to aspects of city government other than just the hired truck program.
While hired trucks from the city water department are part of the indictments, the real spice to the mix is from accusations of bribe taking, extortion, and most shocking -- funneling political contributions and water department staff for favored political campaigns. The water department is one of the city's last giant wellsprings of patronage jobs, and it's an open secret that most of the 11th Ward residents that work there are just campaign workers waiting for the next election season.
The big cahuna of the indictments, Donald Tomczak, was the water department's long-time number two. Tomczak was reputed to run the place, especially with a revolving door on the water commissioner's office. Besides helping political candidates favored by the Daley Administration, Tomczak sent a fleet of his staff/campaign workers to help out his son, Jeff Tomczak, in his unsuccessful campaign to remain the Republican Will County State's Attorney.
Speaking of which, it's been a tough month for Jeff Tomczak. Besides losing his job and his dad threatened with jail, his wife filed for divorce.