The legal bills are piling up. Rahm's got legal problems up the kazoo. But he wants us to think they're our legal problems. Lawyers (and others) are now hired to investigate, defend and consult regarding our police department and our law department. What's it all about? What do we get out of the money he's spending on legal bills to defend us? What'd we do wrong?
First up, we have high-priced politically connected law firms from Washington that have a lot of experience going against the feds. Rahm hired them to defend the City during the federal investigation of our police department. He hired them on our behalf. From what I can see, this will be an adversarial relationship: us, represented by the big law firms, against the feds.
But aren't most of us citizens rooting for the feds? Don't we want the feds here to report thoroughly and honestly about the problems that have taken hold through the years in the police department? The problems that have cost us a ton of money, all of our self-respect as a city and have robbed us of security and calm.
Don't we want any wrongdoing uncovered and stopped? Do we really want the feds hamstrung by legal motions, legal wrangling and back room legal maneuvering instigated by a high-priced law firm that, by the way, charges up to $1200 an hour for its services? Do we want things kept secret? And incomplete--due to legal loopholes? Do we want to spend a fortune stopping the feds in their tracks, now that they're here to help us?
We don't. But Rahm might.
(And, at least if he had to have a high-priced politically connected law firm, why not hire one from Chicago and keep the money at home?)
Next up, we have a fine lawyer--Dan Webb (I recently and very positively reviewed an impressive book about him by US District Judge Charles Kocoras for the Chicago Bar Association magazine)--who is gearing up to investigate, similarly to the Koschman case, the City's Law Department. At the discounted price of $295/hour (his law firm rates generally run $1335/per hour).
While I have absolutely NO doubt whatsoever in Webb's ability, I have to say this: Webb is one of the boys, has contributed to Rahm's coffers--and I think it's possible Webb won't come up with anything other than pointing out a problem here and there that the City should rectify--and maybe a few ways to improve the department's overall functioning. There may even be a completely clean bill of health--aside from a rogue prosecutor or two who has either already resigned or who will resign.
But will we finally find out the real reason why the Law Department fought hard like the devil to keep the McDonald videotape under wraps? I don't think so--but here's hoping.
Last but not least, Rahm has also hired the retired and renowned Charles Ramsey (commissioner and leader, respectively, of the police departments in Philadelphia and Washingotn, DC and who started his career as a Chicago cop) to consult and advise our department. Ramsey turned down the job of actually heading our department, but has agreed to accept $350/hour to advise while the feds investigate. A pretty good deal for him. He takes the big bucks while whoever ends up heading the department takes the heat.
So, let's cut to the chase, whats all this lawyering-up for? I'd say it's for this, the thing Rahm cares most about: himself. To help preserve and protect the picture of himself he wants to have and to project--to us.
Operator that he is, he thinks we're too dumb to see through it all. I'd say he's getting a lot out of our money. And it's all for him.
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