Quick Hits – September 20, 2017

A Christian School by any other name…

Is not a Christian school.

Though I haven’t made much headway, I’ve been doing my damndest to persuade those fine Wheaton College folks of this possibility for 11 long years. Don’t get me wrong – because I know y’all like to – I have no expectation of earthly religious perfection. I’m simply asking Christians to make a reasonable effort to live up to the ideal.

So, the problem isn’t the five Wheaton College football players who were just hit with a series of felony charges for their role in a hazing incident gone wrong, the problem is the college’s abject failure to deal with it until they had no choice but to deal with it.

Wheaton College

Briefly (the story is all over the Web), five football players “burst” into the freshman victim’s dorm room, “violently” pulled his arms behind him, duct taped his ankles and wrists and covered his head with a pillowcase. Then they attempted to sexually assault him with an object and left him partially clothed on a baseball field.

Before any of y’all start with the whole “Poor thing couldn’t handle a little hazing” shit, the victim suffered the kind of muscle tears that actually required shoulder surgery. I was a semi-pro pitcher and let me tell you, there is nothing worse than upper arm injuries. I’ve never recovered from all of them.

Again, the fact the hazing occurred doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on Wheaton College. College students do have a propensity to make some fascinating mistakes. What casts a pall on that school is, despite a very specific anti-hazing policy and administrators’ clear knowledge of the event, these five players were on the field right up until they were charged.

To wit, the incident occurred in March of 2016 and the college did nothing about it until this week. What could’ve possibly taken a full year-and-a-half to make the right decision? Could it be that the Division III Wheaton College football team is ranked fourth in the nation and those five players were critical to that success?

I’m not saying Wheaton College is a bad school – it’s not. But I am saying it isn’t a Christian school – because it’s not.

 

Judge Dalton improves?

Though I’m skeptical to say the least, that’s what I’m hearing – from two attorneys and one litigant.

They said Dalton has “revamped” his seemingly random courtroom procedures, his infamous theatrics have somewhat subsided, he’s no long berating women at the same rate and he’s generally comporting himself in a more judicial manner.

Dalton

If this is true, and it’s not just a temporary thing, this is what can happen when people have the courage to speak up. I simply put it out there. I simply reminded the Chief Judge that she had the power to put Dalton on an administrative assignment where he’d never hear another case.

It was the folks who sent the suggested emails detailing their horrific Dalton experiences to the Chief Judge that that made the difference. Perhaps some of you filed those recommended Judicial Inquiry Board complaints, too. But the bottom line is, you spoke up, and I’m sure the Chief Judge spoke to John Dalton.

I’m not saying I’m going to relent on my anti-retention campaign promise – the committee has been formed and attorneys are lining up to contribute. But if our errant judge is truly willing to reform, perhaps we can meet in the middle.

Meanwhile, despite explicit attorney advice against it, I will be paying a visit to Courtroom 101 to see for myself if the “rumors” are true. What’s the worst the Judge can do to me, right?

 

Fast Eddie hasn’t slowed down a bit

I know this one’s a bit out of our purview, but for all the folks who cut their teeth on Cook County politics, the name Ed Vrdolyak is legendary.

“Fast Eddie,” as he’s called, is the legendary former Chicago Alderman whom Mayor Jane Byrne tried to destroy before he became one of her closest political allies. Vrdolyak was also the architect of the mid ‘80s’ “Council Wars,” in which he and Ed Burke tried to stymie Mayor Harold Washington’s agenda at every turn.

Vrdolyak eventually ran for mayor and circuit clerk – gasp! – as a Republican, before he gave up the game and returned to private legal practice.

He earned the “Fast Eddie” sobriquet for his capacity to engineer backroom deals and charm the pants right off you. I met the man once, and I made sure I  had five fingers left after shaking hands with him.

Vrdolyak

Never one to sit on his Laurels, and addicted to the art of the deal, in 2009, in one of the most convoluted judicial proceedings in Illinois history, instead of the recommended 41 months, Fast Eddie got 5 years of probation for a bribery scheme that netted him a lucrative real estate deal.

Those prosecutors never knew what hit ‘em. They did appeal the sentence, and Vrdolyak eventually served ten months in prison.

So I suppose it should come as no surprise that, on Monday, federal prosecutors charged the 79 year-old former alderman with collecting $10 million in unauthorized fees from the state’s massive 90s tobacco lawsuit settlement.

Of course, in true Chicagah fashion, Vrdolyak’s attorney responded

“Because the defendant is Edward Vrdolyak, the government has infused the superseding indictment with irrelevant, unnecessary, inflammatory and prejudicial surplusage, included for no purpose other than to suggest all manner of alleged subterfuge and secrecy that besides being irrelevant is also downright false.”

“Surplusage?” What the fuck is “surplusage?” But that’s how you do it folks! I’ll bet he doesn’t serve a day. None of you “nefarious” Kane County politicians could carry Ed Vrdolyak’s jockstrap on your best day. Compared to him, State Senator Karen McConnaughay, with her pay-to-play proclivities, is a mere piker.

Somewhere, in that great newsroom in the sky, Mike Royko put the cigarette and scotch down long enough to shake his head, smirk and laugh his ass off. Ubi est Mea, right Mike! He’s gonna be Fast Eddie till the end!

5 thoughts on “Quick Hits – September 20, 2017

  1. I hope what your saying is true about Judge Dalton being judical. I don’t agree with women being his target though. I think whomever he perceives as the more level-headed individual tends to get his wrath. He most definitely has lawyers he just doesn’t like and if you hire them it doesn’t matter how strong your evidence is, he will rule against you because he doesn’t like the attorney. It’s almost as if it is a game for Judge Dalton to see if he can make reasonable people snap. I’ve seen both men and women on the receiving end and all ethnicities. He is quick to rule contempt and order jail on monetary issues versus any other contempt issue. I do wonder if the mother who kidnapped and ran with her child had an impact on how he perceives some of his cases, as that was a long running case in his room.

    In general, Kane County has a huge issue in the civil court division, particularly domestic and family issues of which Judge Dalton has been one of the biggest contributors to the dysfunction. No one wins in Kane. Well…. maybe the attorneys win since they get paid regardless. But the community at large loses.

    If Chief Judge was serious about fixing the reputation and creating consistency there would be surveys sent to individuals who had cases, not just their attorneys who have to face the judges every month. The surveys would not only cover questions about the judge but all court officers and employees encountered by the litigants, particularly offices with quasijudical immunity. Considering how incestuous the legal community is in Kane it would be political suicide for an attorney to stand up to unethical peers or judges so surveying them or counting on them to be a whistleblower is unrealistic, even if it’s through an “anonymous” method- we all know anything is rarely truly anonymous.

    There are very few checks and balances currently in place other than to sell your soul to pay for an appeal and remove it from the Kane Circuit Court. This seems completely against the mission statement the Chief Judge has posted and I hope actions are taken to create an environment that supports her vision versus the current state of affairs.

    Keep up the exceptional work in getting these issues brought to light. It does affect every one in the community and should be openly discussed. Even those who have never set foot in the courthouse should be concerned because it will impact someone they know.

    If you need any campaign help on the anti Judge Dalton re-election campaign let me know where to send my application! I’ll be the first volunteer in line.

    • Stacey,

      I truly enjoyed your comment. It sounds like you’ve seen Dalton work more than I have. What I will say is, as a result of the original column on that miserable excuse for a human being, all but one of the people who contacted me privately were women.

      Though I think there’s something to your trying to get the more level headed party to snap theory. Poor little Johnny wants to get back at the whole world for being gay.

      As far as any surveys, they all already know exactly who Dalton is. It just took a little intervention to get them to pay (a little) more attention to a problem they know exists. At least I won’t have to appear in front of him – or any other Kane County judge – ever again.

      And thank you for the compliment. Having to deal with the aftermath of my pickup truck fire bombing has been more than an eye-opening experience. If this is how a guy with a voice is treated by all parties involved – including asshole bailiffs, I can only imagine what it’s like to be a regular person going through that Kane County “justice” system.

      I will not be relenting any time soon, either.

      Unless I see vast improvement on the part of Judge Dalton, the recall campaign will go forward. I doubt if I’ll be able to remove a sitting judge, but I can make him spend A LOT of money to retain that seat. So it’s very likely we’ll be talking.

      Jeff

  2. I think maybe you’re confusing two words. Wheaton College is Christian. It’s not Christlike. Those are completely different things.

    • Jeff,

      Not this time! Five years ago you might’ve been right. But with all of the beyond poor Wheaton College responses – or lack of them – they’re NOT Christian.

  3. Those Christians are too busy tending other peoples sheep?

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