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Something's Fishy in the 20th

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 9, 2007 2:50PM

2007_1_fbi.jpgNow that the feds have led 20th Ward Alderman Arenda Troutman away in handcuffs, can we really say that as many as 15 seats in the city council are in play this election year? After she was arraigned in court and released on a $10,000 bond, her attorney, Sam Adam Jr., suggested that she was being punished for helping a constituent out with a "favor." It seems that in the 20th Ward, favors can cost you thousands of dollars. After all the hullabaloo about dating a Black Disciple and her family profiting from the Hired Trucks Scandal, we have to question the wisdom of continuing to take bribes and commit fraud. Even if Troutman didn't realize that the "Cooperating Witnesses" cited in the FBI's sworn affidavit (you can read the PDF here), had been arrested and might be cooperating with authorities, wouldn't she realize that she is under greater scrutiny and lay low for awhile? Even if she was consumed by power, the feds have proven that they are willing and able to take down Chicago pols that play fast and loose with the rules, let alone out-and-out break the law.

In explaining some of the questionable antics that have raised eyebrows around Troutman's time in public service, she noted that she is a staunch environmentalist, recycling used envelopes in her ward office. Apparently she didn't see An Inconvenient Truth, as her alleged boyfriend (and known gang-leader) Donnell "Scandalous" Jehan has been "spotted" driving her SUV, a Cadillac Escalade. Maybe she was part of a ride-share in the neighborhood. Her opponent, Willie Cochran, is running on access and accountability, and for him this couldn't have come at a better time. Cochran, of course, wasted no time taking advantage of this, issuing a press release noting:

The 20th Ward deserves and needs to be represented from outside the jailhouse. It is a travesty that the Ward's business is being ignored. Of course, Ald. Troutman is innocent until proven guilty, but it is not possible for the ward business to take care of when the Alderman is in jail or facing corruption charges. The events of today lead only to the conclusion that the 20th Ward needs new representation in City Hall, representation from outside the jailhouse.

No doubt more is to come from this story. In the meantime, it looks like Cochran just has to stay ahead of the other, lesser-known opponents, and he'll have a cakewalk into his new ward office.