Another Pension Sucking Yahoo?

Another Pension Sucking Yahoo?

A Chicago Tribune / WGN-TV investigation has uncovered yet another greedy "in-the-know" yahoo sucking up pension money and sticking it the taxpayer. As I said in an earlier post regarding double-dipping cops - this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Exactly how these sweet deals originate in the first place need to be questioned - but they do exist and are more prevalent than most would believe.

The latest investigation, though, is another one for the books because after city pension fund officials discovered that Thomas Villanova violated state law by submitting bogus certifications that he had given up his union pension in order to qualify for a "little known perk available to only union officials" they "gave him a pass and didn't move to take away his city retirement benefits."

What a fu$king joke! And this crap happens all the time. Gee - no wonder the pension system is in such dire straits!

Thomas Villanova last worked for the city of Chicago as an electrical mechanic with the Department of Streets and Sanitation in 1989 and made $40,000. Yet he was permitted to retire at the age of 56 with an $108,000 city pension. And why? Because under a "little-known state law" - "his pension was based not on his city paycheck but on his much higher union salary."

According to the Chicago Tribune:
To boost his taxpayer-supported city pension, Villanova signed documents certifying that he had waived his union pension and had two union officials write letters supporting his claim. In fact, records show dues collected from the rank-and-file were still set aside for Villanova's union pension.

I guess it pays to be a Chicago Union Leader - huh? Then again, it never hurts when you are associated with the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation either!

Of course - this is only the tip of the pension iceberg. With so many "little-known" state laws, legitimate boards and commissions -as well as the countless obscure ones which are at the Governor's disposal - well you see that it gets out of hand very quickly. Is it any wonder, then, why public officials keep coming back to the unwitting taxpayer to feed the political pig?

Are you beginning to feel worn out yet people? When will you all learn that the Chicago Political Machine has stuck it to you for decades and that it will never change if you don't demand it with the only voice you have - your vote? Apathy and general indifference has allowed this system to spread like a cancer and anything short of a total overhaul will be insufficient. What is needed more than ever is the blanket removal of our elected officials statewide.

But, alas - the system is stacked against us isn't it? Far too many protections have been put in place by conniving politicians who insert their little-known exceptions into the law books. But hey - something can be done just the same - bit it won't be pretty. People need to come out in force and demand that our elected officials (or dirty egg-sucking dogs if you prefer) change those laws.

And if that means protests being organized in every neighborhood, legislative or congressional district - then so be it. They haven't got enough room to arrest everyone nor could the judicial system even handle the overload. But people must wake up - and I mean really wake up! Besides, how many more fingers will it take to be in your pocket before you get mad anyhow?

So are you getting mad yet? Yeah? Really?

We'll see.........

Illinois

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  • "And this crap happens all the time," which basically means that it is no longer news.

    What should be questioned is (1) why the law allows a public pension for working for the union, but we know who dominates the legislature, and (2) apparently how this guy not only gamed the system, but if what is alleged is correct, apparently committed fraud.

    As far as protests, cf. who I said dominates the legislature above.

  • In reply to jack:

    This guy definitely committed fraud - as for old news vs new news, well the real issue is that when this discovered there should not have been a pass given. On that basis - let's call it a public service announcement for all those remain asleep at the wheel.

    If the people really wanted to take this state back - they could - irregardless of who is running it. You be surprised what can and can't be done and how quickly even the powerful retreat with tails between their legs. The question is - do people have the balls to challenge the status quo as those in other states?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Cubs game didn't come on 9.1, so I checked the computer.

    You'll remember that before the Loughner mess I said that the National Guard should be federalized and restore democracy in Illinois, but that would not happen after 2008.

    You hear stuff about the legislature negotiated with the red light camera vendors, the legislature negotiated with the teachers' unions, etc, but never that the legislature consulted with the voters or taxpayers. Also, it the state is full of voters as I characterized them here on Chicago Muckrakers,* which looks at things through sociological research through the eyes of race and poverty, things are not going to change and the voters are getting what they deserve.

    ____________
    *I had written them off, but since I saw a headline of interest in the right panel of your post, clicked.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hear Hear - You Are Right.

  • Can we sue the bastard for committing fraud? As a taxpayer, this egregious pension costs me money!

  • In reply to angry taxpayer:

    We have the right to sue - the question is - "Is the system too rigged to have it successfully adjudicated?"

    The 1st step in stopping this shit is to stop blindly giving away our votes (that is - those who bother to). I have said it all along - Illinois Democrats isn't about ideology - it is about theft and the sooner people realize it the better. And that comes from someone who grew up a Democrat!

    The Machine Politics here is like a cancer.

  • In reply to angry taxpayer:

    They can sue, and can make restitution part of the criminal judgment.

    Normally that's squeezing blood out of a turnip, and pension funds, while they are still possessed by the trustee are exempt from execution. However, the least the court can do is "reform" the guy's rights, so that he only gets the pension to which he is entitled (which is too darn much as it is) and make sure that any fine remains a judgment against him until such time as he has money.

    However, Mike is right to the extent one will find a state judge that outraged at the conduct.

  • In reply to angry taxpayer:

    I forgot to mention that, of course, the article doesn't say anything about Anita Alvarez prosecuting him for fraud.

    Nor does it say anything about the city corporation counsel (whoever that now is) suing him.

    Anyone want to lay odds on either of the two?

  • In reply to jack:

    No odds here

  • In reply to angry taxpayer:

    Maybe to further qualify the answer, if angry and Mike meant by "we" the citizens, no, because Lisa Madigan Byrnes asserts the sole constitutional right to sue on behalf of the state. That's why I discussed whether the county or city attorneys would do it.

  • In reply to jack:

    And in the event the official with sole responsibility doesn't perform his/her duties under law - then what? I would think there is a remedy for that somewhere.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    There is such a thing as a mandamus action. Of course, whether it would lie against the Attorney General or the City Treasurer as trustee of the pension fund would depend on whether there is a clear and nondiscretionary duty, as pointed out in the Burris v. White litigation, where, despite what "legal expert" Zorn published, there wasn't. Might be a better chance against the City Treasurer, except in that case, another beneficiary of the trust would have to complain that somehow his benefits were directly affected.

    Certainly, there is no way to compel a prosecution.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well - then there is just one thing left to do - American Revolution II (THE SEQUEL?)

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I had made my National Guard point before.

    As far as a second American Revolution, the Libyan one establishes (a) how does anyone know that the rebels have won, and (b) what legal system takes over after they have?*

    After the first American Revolution, the U.S. still adopted English common law and forms of action. In fact, the point of Marbury vs. Madison was whether mandamus would lie and if the Supreme Court had constitutional jurisdiction to issue it in that case. The power to declare a statute unconstitutional was only ancillary to the latter.

    __________
    *News reports last night that people are sitting in Libyan prison without recourse to due process of law.

  • In reply to jack:

    I get what you are saying my friend, especially our laws coming from English Common Law. Naturally, legal interpretations are best left to those who can best understand their complexities - my only point is one of being simplistic. I AM PISSED AND IT IS TIME FOR US RISE UP AGAINST THE MACHINE (whatever that means and whatever is borne from it in terms of jurisprudence)! Of course - anarchy has it's downsides but I seriously doubt we would degenerate to the level of Libya's woes. I am thinking more in terms of a house-cleaning by force. Replace the current lot with "commoners" and restore some sanity. - OF COURSE IT IS JUST A PIPE DREAM - BUT I CAN WISH CAN'T I?

    The Libyan situation - for what it is worth - was foreseeable don't you think? Since the Arab Spring began - chaos has been the general outcome. Yes the rule of law breaks down - but that is exactly what happens when you have still unknown forces behind the uprising. No due process - hey that's part of the spoils - but mark my words - there is something more that will develop yet - I guarantee it.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    My jurisprudential reply was basically in response to your response to the mandamus point.

    In the current situation, while you and I agree that we want Quinn, Madigan, Burke, Cullerton, Berrios, and their ilk out, I don't think there is a consensus on what to replace them with, especially since you have no brook with the Tea Party, either. Of course, you would have to overcome partisans of the type reflected in such places as "Chicago Muckrakers" and "And the Ordinary People Said" who are fine with the Quinn ideology of infinite resources until such time as he actually cuts off their water, if he ever does. Not to mention those with a vested interest in patronage who get on the TV and bring all these lawsuits when Quinn threatens something.

  • In reply to jack:

    Very true and well said as always Jack. The previous commenter - Bobby supplied a link that maybe you will find interesting since we are both displeased with the state of politics.

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