Chicago mayoral election heating up? Watch Bob Fioretti accuse Toni Preckwinkle of judicial candidate shakedowns.

Along comes Toni’s mayoral opponent, Bob Fioretti, who claims the slating committee, under Preckwinkle’s and Berrios’ supervision… has been shaking down for 50K each, judicial candidates who wanted to be and were slated.

And, Fioretti essentially fingers Toni as dirty. Take a read, below, or Watch the Fioretti 60 second conversation accusing Preckwinkle of a judicial candidate shakedown by clicking here, and watching at 5:20 to 6:20:

Preckwinkle is all “Booked up,” says her flak catcher. Every minute of every day, until February 6 and possibly until April 2, 2019. .. So much for Preckwinkle’s self-proclaimed, Hyde Park Reformer transparency.

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The Chicago Mayoral election was going to focus on (1) Homicides and other major violent crimes (2) CPS rapes, sexual harassment and low quality education for the majority at CPS (3) the city’s fiscal mess, including $70 billion in unfunded city and CPS unfunded pensions & high and growing property taxes (4) Chicago’s losses in population, jobs and economic development- especially on the South & the West sides and (5) the meaning of and culpability for the Laquan McDonald murder by a cop

And, the race will continue to include much discussion of those five issues.

But perhaps the dispositive issues will be corruption, pay to play and the Democratic Party machine. It’s possible someone will pick up the mantle of Mr. or Ms. Clean and make it a winner.

Dirty is opposite of clean. When, if ever, does a mayoral candidate become known as “Dirty.” If he or she takes a bribe?  If the politician involves herself in pay to play? How much must be paid? 50K?

About a month ago, the Feds came after Ald. Ed Burke, who is the 75 year old epitomy of Chicago’s Democratic Party machine and pay to play, both of which go back at least to the old man- Mayor Richard J. Daley-- and then was updated by the Daley Ryan Combine.

Burke is a former cop, current lawyer & alderman, former Chair of the powerful Cook County Democratic Party judicial slating committee and former powerful Chair of the Finance Committee (Burke was defrocked recently of both chairmanships by player coaches Rahm and Preckwinkle) and is a Fed accused shakedown artist.

Everybody knows Burke does Pay to Play. But, they all thought it was the pin-striped legal kind. That is, Burke knows where the legal line is. And, he walks up to it, but never goes over it.

The Feds now say that Burke walked over the line. His error?

Burke thought, like Blagojevich, no one was listening. The arrogance of power.

With visions of more sugar plums dancing in his head. Burke confidently said: “No Feds could ever wiretap me, or get someone to wear a wire on me.”

The U. S. Attorney offices, all over the country, win about 90% of their cases.  They don’t file a case unless they are 90% sure they will win. Do they think they have a 90% chance of showing Burke is dirty? Of course. But, are the Feds right?

As Mendoza’s PR flak catcher and senior adviser, Pete Giangreco, says about sports and elections, “We don’t know who will win, that’s why we play the game.”

Same thing about the U. S. Attorney’s charges. Either Burke pleads guilty of being dirty or they play the game to find out if he is dirty.    

Burke was accused by the Feds of shaking down, directly and personally, a Burger King franchise magnate— trading his aldermanic privilege and other governmental powers for real estate tax appeal business.

Suddenly, pundits started focusing on the Burke Four (Chicago Mayoral candidates Preckwinkle, Mendoza, Chico and Daley) and their relationship to their namesake.

But then all Hell broke loss when it came out that then long time alderman & powerful zoning committee chairman Danny Solis had been wearing a wire for a few years and taped at least a dozen conversations with Chairman Burke.

Solis' public service was most likely prompted by the Feds catching Danny with his hand in the viagra cookie jar, as he was allegedly trading government favors for sex going back four years- but these sins are as old as the pre-Civil War Windy City, itself.

Back in Burkistan, Burke had raised big time money for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and she of course returned the favor—helping to put his troubled son (w allegations of sexual harassment in his prior Cook County Sheriff’s Dept. job) into a cushy Cook County 100K job, which he lost in short order after many days as a no show at work.

Maybe the son of the Leader of the Burke Four thought, since he was a Burke, he could be a ghost payroller. The arrogance of power.

Anyway, Toni says she loves Burke's wife- IL State Supreme Court Justice Ann Burke- if not Burke’s son, and she doesn’t know Ed Burke any more or any less than any other regular Democratic Party pol would know him. They just trade favors from time to time. Pay to play? Many would say yes.

Any other times, other than Burke’s son, where Toni was or is involved in Pay to Play?

Preckwinkle, a former CTU teacher, and now endorsed by the CTU, ever ask judicial candidates if they would pay to play?

As chair of the Party, Toni could have removed Ed Burke as chair of the Judicial Slating Committee at any time. She did so recently when the Feds accused Burke of a shakedown.

But, before that, Toni was Vice-Chair of the Party. Was Burke shaking down judges? If so, Did Toni go to Joe Berrios, the Party Chair and lobby him to remove Burke for shaking down judges? What do you think?

Along comes Toni’s mayoral opponent, Bob Fioretti, who claims the slating committee, under Preckwinkle’s and Berrios’ supervision as the Vice-Chair and Chair, respectively, has been shaking down for 50K each, judicial candidates who wanted to be and were slated.

And, Fioretti essentially fingers Toni as Dirty. Take a read, below, or Watch the Fioretti 60 second conversation accusing Preckwinkle of a judicial candidate shakedown by clicking here, and watching at 5:20 to 6:20:

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Mayoral Candidate Bob Fioretti: You know…Toni Preckwinkle… is Chair of the [Cook County] Democratic Party and one of the questions that [the Cook County] slating committee ask judges- judges have to give a certain amount of money to be slated…

Berkowitz: Does it go right to Toni? Or the Party…

Bob Fioretti: It goes to the Party. And who controls the Party's finances? [Toni] does. They have a Treasurer, but [Preckwinkle’s the Party Chair]…

Fioretti: The slating committee ask two questions, after the [judicial candidate] gives the slating committee his or resume: They say, I think you are aware- and Toni stands up there while this is proceeding- for us to slate you [for a judgeship] you have to give $50,000 to the Party.

Berkowitz: Wait, $50,000? Each candidate gives that for any judgeship?

Fioretti: Yes, [each judge candidate] who wants to be slated!

Berkowitz: Any judge, Cook County Circuit Court, [appellate court], whatever?

Bob Fioretti: Yes, and then the next question is-- if [the candidate] says “Yes, I am prepared to pay that”-- But when can you pay it? And, if you can’t pay it by the date they want to slate you, you’re not slated.

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Chicago mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti, January 25, 2019, Public Affairs

So, this reporter sent the above transcript to Monica Trevino, Preckwinkle’s flak catcher, and asked if she had any comments.

Trevino said, “We don’t comment on Mr. Fioretti’s assertions.” However, she did say they were not accurate, but declined to elaborate. 

Others, on background, who defend the slating committee’s 50K required payment to be slated, say that the Cook County Democratic Party provides assistance to the slated judicial candidates, e.g., helping with nominating petition signatures, mailers and election day get out the vote. And, it turns out, coincidentally, the value of those services, always equals 50K, exactly!

Last December, Ms. Preckwinkle told this reporter in a face to face she would surely come on our TV show, Public Affairs, and answer all my questions, as she has done before, and recently with some less aggressive journalists who have less interest in things like pay to play.

But, now, after repeated requests, starting last December, for a TV show interview, Trevino tells me, sadly, Preckwinkle is all “Booked up,” Every minute of every day, until February 6 and possibly until April 2, 2019. So much for Preckwinkle’s self-proclaimed reformer transparency.

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