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The Cost of Corruption

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 20, 2008 2:33PM

U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, who has been overseeing the City of Chicago's compliance with hiring, awarded $3.6 million in fees to the lawyers who have been working on the matter for over a decade. Calling their work exemplary, Anderson pointed out that “without the expertise and efforts of plaintiff’s counsel, the plaintiffs likely would not have achieved any recovery,” according to the Tribune.

2008_3_Chicago_flag.jpgAttorney Michael Shakman has been fighting the city in court over political hiring since losing the race to be a delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention. In 1972, an agreement was reached that prohibited politically motivated employment practices by the city, and in 1983 a court ruling prohibited taking politics into consideration for any city employment action. Those court rulings and subsequent settlements have come to be known collectively as the Shakman Decrees.

Shakman called the award fair. “Somebody had to step up and try to attempt to enforce the law here,” he told the Tribune. The lawyers, from the firms Miller, Shakman & Beem, and Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell originally asked for $5.2 million, arguing that they had done such a good job they deserved a bonus. The city's lawyers argued that the payment should be only $674,000, because of the limited success of the case. In spite of Anderson's opinion and the city's contention that lawyers for Shakman have had only limited success, the Daley administration has sworn that it hasn't violated any hiring decrees.

Image via Ursus Maritimus