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Stroger Interested In Beavers's County Commissioner Seat

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 23, 2013 6:00PM

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, in an interview with the Sun-Times, said he would be interested in replacing William Beavers on the County Board now that “the Hog with the Big Nuts” was convicted on tax fraud charges this week. Stroger shouldn’t even joke about that, but he’s dead serious and, given the history of support between the Beavers and Stroger political clans, we can envision clearly a scenario where Beavers backs a Stroger run even as he’s being fitted for a prison wardrobe. It gives us douche chills.

Asked why he would consider replacing Beavers, Stroger answer made it sound as if he was having a mid-life crisis.

“For one thing I’m 50, and I found that at 50 you have to find something to do, so you might as well find something you know and you like,” Todd Stroger said. “What I said about the county in my term, we need someone who can actually speak the truth in the county.”

The problem with that was Stroger didn’t do his job well when he was County Board President, although he added his decision to raise the county sales tax by a penny was a good decision in light of all the other tax hikes approved by the Board under Toni Preckwinkle. But that was the only tax hike Stroger made, despite all his talk now of “making tough decisions.” What Preckwinkle and the Board are doing now is making up for his ineptitude in office. By the time Preckwinkle defeated Stroger in the 2010 primary, Beavers was the only supporter he had remaining and Beavers has been a thorn in Preckwinkle's side ever since she took office.

As for Beavers, he was as defiant and brusque as ever now that the trial is over. Beavers called his trial a sham and insisted his claim he was only indicted because he would wear a wire for federal authorities. He also said “there’s no law against gambling with campaign funds.”

We repeat: William Beavers said “there’s no law against gambling with campaign funds.”

But it is against the law to use campaign funds for personal use and our most recent example was Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s guilty plea last month for that. Last we checked, cashing checks to feed to slot machines at Horseshoe Casino wasn’t in Beavers’s job description as a county commissioner. It's absolutely against the law to fail to pay taxes on those campaign funds. To quote Beavers: Even Ray Charles could see that.

It's an inglorious end to the career of a politician who probably did more harm as an alderman and county commissioner than simple tax fraud. Beavers may crow he "ain't a punk," but it was his hubris that proved to be his downfall.

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, in his position as head of the County Democratic party, said he would convene a panel shortly to name Beavers’s successor.