The Democrats finally get it!

Yesterday, an astute Republican friend proposed a Quick Hits Kavanaugh hearing theory upon which we completely concurred. And thus, a column is born! But before we go there, let’s have a little fun with some semi-random thoughts on those incredibly fascinating proceedings.

1. It’s bleepin’ hilarious to watch those obstructionist Republican Congressmen go nuts when the tactics they employed against Barack Obama are turned on them. Poor snowflakes! If you look up the word “hypocrite” in the dictionary, you’ll see Lindsay Graham’s picture right next to it.

2. Though I think it’s time to fight fire with fire, it’s disheartening to watch the Democrats sink to that slimy GOP level. I keep trying to tell folks not to become what they loathe, but no one listens to me.

3. There is no longer any doubt that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Ford. He truly is a piece of human excrement.

4. Had a male Democratic Supreme Court nominee dared burst into tears at a hearing, Fox New would’ve had a field day with it.

Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

Meanwhile, my savvy friend’s insight was, in bringing Ford’s utterly credible story forward, California Senator Dianne Feinstein put the Republicans in an utterly untenable position. If they confirm Kavanaugh, they lose. And if they don’t confirm Kavanaugh, they lose. It’s a brilliant stratagem by which the GOP will eventually be hoist by their own petard.

As to the former, it starts with the fact that I’ve never seen female voters so angry. It’s actually quite terrifying! Considering all the bleep this particular group of misogynistic Republicans are trying to pull, it’s beyond justified, but that force is so powerful, I’m starting to feel guilty simply for being born male.

Please let me make it perfectly that I’ve never even considered sexually assaulting any woman ever!

So, while I’ve correctly predicted the blue wave’s death, the pink wave is alive and well and about to wreak heretofore unseen havoc on Republican electoral hopes for years to come. Should the Republican be foolish enough to confirm Kavanaugh:

  • They will lose the house and senate in the mid-terms rendering Trump utterly impotent.
  • The fallout will be so horrific that even local incumbent Republicans will have a hard time holding onto seats in normally safe districts like Kane and DuPage Counties.
  • Starting in 2020, the presidency and congress will become wholly Democratic for at least a decade. The Dem takeover after the Great Recession will pale in comparison.
  • A record number of very liberal female legislators will be elected in 2020 and beyond.

It’s simply a matter of numbers. When there are more women on this planet, and women vote more often than men, those not-terribly-difficult-to-make prophecies are a foregone conclusion.

Essentially, the GOP will have to sell the last shreds of their collective souls to confirm Kavanaugh, and it will be the nail in this absurd hyper-conservative movement’s coffin. I certainly hope the screen door hits ‘em in the ass on the way out, too!

If Republicans actually do the right thing, and cut Kavanaugh loose, the feminine anger will subside somewhat, but not enough to keep their majorities in both Houses. That means they’ll have to come up with a more moderate Supreme Court nominee – if the Democrats don’t hold that nomination up until 2020.

And even though that move may somewhat mitigate the electoral fallout, the Kavanaugh hearings will haunt the Republican Party for years to come. As anybody who’s ever been married will tell you, women don’t forget these kinds of betrayals.

So, Senator Feinstein! My political consultant hat is off to you for providing those GOP congressmen with the bitter taste of their own medicine. In the words of those great philosophers, Simon and Garfunkel, “Every way you look at it you lose!”

What we’re seeing through the Kavanaugh hearings, is the inevitable intolerant, un-Christian, hypocritical old white conservative male crash and burn. And not a moment too soon!

Quick Hits – Too many judges suck!

When calling out a member of a public profession, I typically preface the piece with, “Most [name of profession] serve with dignity and honor; we’re just talking about one bad apple here.” But I can’t do that when it comes to the men and women in black, because, more often than not, they shouldn’t be sitting on as much as a park bench.

It all comes down to Lord Acton’s postulate that, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Because in their courtroom, a judge wields absolute power. If he or she takes offense at something as simple as what you’re wearing, you could find yourself in the pokey with no bail and no right to a trial.

And how often do you hear about a judge being removed for malfeasance? It doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should. Ah! But Cook County Judge Mauricio Araujo might just be that rare exception, but only because he managed to run afoul of the intensifying #MeToo movement.

Let’s just say, in light of the Kavanaugh hearing, his timing was really, really bad.

Irked that a female prosecutor and former law school classmate failed to acknowledge his presence when he walked into the courtroom, the judge went into a Spanish language tirade that included referring to that attorney as a “puta.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to translate that for you.

When a male prosecutor tried to smooth things over by joking she might not recognize him in the black robe, Hizzoner replied, “Well, maybe it’s because I didn’t have sex with her or maybe it’s because I did have sex with her.”


The Judge, clearly a poor judge of political realities, did this within earshot of four other people and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office presented a two-page complaint to LeRoy K. Martin Jr., the presiding judge for the court’s criminal division. The complaint also noted that Araujo made “unwanted sexual advances” towards the prosecutor back in law school.

Martin, who actually does have a keen sense of political realities, quickly issued a one-sentence order removing Araujo from courtroom duty. That’s judicial legalese for “he gone!”

To make matters much worse, our intrepid judge was foolish enough to grant the Tribune an interview in which he said he “doubts” he ever made those sexual advances, he “does not believe” he said anything about having sex with her, and he “does not believe” he called her a “bitch,” which we all know means he did. Then he rambled on about how she’s ignored him for the five years they’ve been in that building.

So now we’re back to middle school? A man who regularly holds defendants’ lives in the palm of his hands just sunk his career because a female prosecutor wouldn’t say “hello?” Oh my bleepin’ lord! My fondest wish is that, upon seeing my gleaming visage, you bleeps completely ignore me because I really can’t stand any of you.

I know what some of you are thinking, but Judge Araujo is not nearly the exception. The truth is, it’s easier to offend someone in the black dress than it is to get Donald Trump to start shrieking about walls. So let’s take a look at our own 16th Circuit’s finest:

1. John Dalton

He’s the worst judge I’ve ever had the displeasure of observing, by a long shot. He’s cruel to both plaintiff’s and defendants, he doesn’t know the law, he refuses to enforce his own rulings, he makes it up as he goes along, and he takes great glee in watching desperate people suffer.

Woe be it to any female, African-American, or particularly Hispanic individual who appears before him. Since last year’s column regarding antics, I’ve been besieged with Dalton victims begging me for help.

Just today – as I was writing this piece – another female attorney called insisting that I run an anti-retention campaign against him due to Dalton’s insistent sexist commentary.

Though Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles is well aware of this poor excuse for a human being, she does nothing about it. Ah! But some folks are about to provide Dalton with an electoral surprise. It won’t be enough to get him removed, but he’s up for retention in November and he’s going to have to work very hard to keep his job.

2. Kevin Busch

He would clearly win the Judicial Bleep of the Year Award were it not for Dalton’s presence in the circuit. He’s beyond egotistical, he’s exceptionally arrogant, and he takes great delight in being a jerk just because he can.

Kevin Busch

Ladies man Judge Kevin T. Busch

I watched Busch go out of his way to embarrass an attorney by ripping her motion apart and throwing it at her page-by-page. Despite having absolutely no lost love for that lawyer, even I felt sorry for that utterly unwarranted display.

Oh! And I’m currently working on a story that will certainly become Judge Busch’s #MeToo moment. One more source and that one goes forward. Apparently, the Judge thinks he’s God’s gift to women, too.

The only reason he doesn’t fall into the Dalton category is he actually does have some sense of the law.

3. James Hallock

We just discussed how “Hang ‘em High” Hallock never met a defendant he didn’t loathe. As a result of playing second prosecutor, he engaged in so much reversible error that the appeals court vacated the Shadwick King verdict in record time.

And I’ve never seen those no-nonsense Second District Appellate Court judges spank a circuit judge so severely. Judge Dalton may be incompetent, but a judge that subverts the process because he can is even worse.

I just learned that Judge Hallock is retiring effective in early December. Apparently, he saw the writing on the wall.

4. Divya Sarang

She’s a real piece of work! Defense attorneys tend to take things in stride because they’d go completely nuts if they didn’t. But I’ve never had so many seething attorneys come to me about how she berates defendants – and especially youthful offenders – just because she can.

Her regular tirades include juvenile defendants who are well on their way to recovery, too. There’s nothing worse than a bully on the bench.

5. Susan Clancy Boles

She shouldn’t be an attorney, much less a judge, but when you have the Clancy name behind you, you get special treatment. We’ve already covered the Chief Judge at length, including her efforts to erase her late attorney brother’s connection to Anjum Coffland and her utter refusal to rein her errant subordinates in.

Since we’ve last discussed her, I’ve received reports that she’s not above flirting – in open court – with good looking male defendants. So much for the #MeToo movement, right? What have I said about the truth and fiction?

6. Sandra Parga

I know I’ve said we need more Hispanic judges on the bench, but she ain’t it! When she was an attorney, I watched her go after a young opposing counsel in the back of a courtroom like an angry third-grand bully. It was disgusting and despicable.

And the fact that she used an affair with prominent defense attorney to eventually vault her way to judge kind of undoes the whole #MeToo movement, too, doesn’t it?

7. David Kliment

We’ve covered this overly imperious bleep at length. Suffice it to say that he shouldn’t be judging a fourth-grade science fair, much less criminal cases.

8. Marmarie Kostelny

She may be the least objectionable of the judges listed here, and I heard she’s doing alright in drug court, but when you’ve never met a male defendant you didn’t despise, it’s a problem. I’ve watched her stare intently at a female plaintiff who was going for an Oscar, but when the male defendant spoke she wouldn’t even look at him.

There is nothing wrong with being gay. In fact, I’ve vigorously defended my gay brothers and sisters for 12 long years in print. But when being gay affects your judgement even more so than the folks who would persecute you for your sexuality, it’s a problem. Kostelny was an abject nightmare in family court.

9. Elizabeth Flood

After I ranked her among the best Kane County judges, a number of attorneys, plaintiffs and defendants came forward to explain that she can’t make a decision. In one case, she drew out the proceedings to the point where the law involved actually changed. That unduly cost a plaintiff quite a bit of time and money.

Being cautious is one thing, but if your inability to do your job starts financially affecting the folks who appear before you, then it’s time to step down.


Look! I know I’ve been a bit more brutal here than I normally am here, but the more I delve into that morass at Rt. 38 and Peck Road, the more disgusted I am with all of them. And their judicial peers who refuse to call them may well be worse. And my brief tirade here pales in comparison to the havoc these judges wreak on regular folks on a daily basis, and no one holds them accountable.

To prove my point, since so many of you reached out to me about Judge Dalton, if you’ve had a real issue with any Kane County judge, please let me know about it at I will perform the required due diligence and your anonymity is guaranteed.

It’s time to send some of these judges back to private practice.

A Gentle Reminder!

I think it’s time to remind all those politicians, public officials, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers who fervently believe they can get the best of me, they can’t!


Please keep that in mind!

Quick Hits will be up shortly.

Quick Hits is Postponed!

Dear Readers,

Due to spending the majority of my morning at the sports doc, and subsequently setting up a slew of physical therapy appointments, today’s quick hits will run tomorrow.


It will be then when, in reference to the Cook County Judge who referred to a female prosecutor as a “puta,” we’ll cover why too many 16th Circuit Judges shouldn’t be judges.

Until then!

Meanwhile it’s back to physical therapy for me and no running for two months. Fuck!

Quick Hits – When the bias trainer is a bigot!

You just can’t make this bleep up! After covering the truth for 12.5 long years, there’s no way I could write fiction because I couldn’t come up with anything strange enough to make it interesting. Meanwhile, buckle your seatbelts, because it’s gonna be a long one.

As most of you all already know, since 2016, Elgin has ranked its diversity initiative as a top priority. Though that effort is certainly a laudable one, the implementation has been the kind of debacle that anyone with an ounce of insight could’ve easily forestalled.

But remember, we’re dealing with a city council here and, as good as they generally are, we all know what Mark Twain said about committees and camels.

The best evidence of my diversity program disaster hypothesis is the City is on its second – and probably last – diversity consultant. So, now they’re 0 for 2. Saying it hasn’t gone well would be kinda like saying women are mildly ticked off at Brett Kavanaugh right now.

To wit, diversity consultant Denise Barreto issued a Facebook post claiming, “If white women tried as hard to eliminate white supremacy as they try to lose weight, white supremacy would be ended.”

I’m gonna pause while you take that one in for a while………..


Denise Baretto speaks to the Elgin City Council

The only thing she left out are the words “honky” and “cracker.” Who knew that Caucasian women:

  • Harbor a magical race healing power
  • Are all fat
  • Don’t give a rat’s bleep about minorities
  • Approve of white supremacists
  • Probably are white supremacists

I suppose it’s always good to be informed! And that wasn’t nearly the worst of her racist FB rants, but I’m not going to get into the others because she isn’t worth your or my time.

As I’ve also done for the last 12.5 years, let’s see if that statement stands up to the inversion test. What would happen if a white Elgin employee said, “If single black women tried as hard to better themselves and black men as they do having children, they’d already be better.”

I asked a non-Elgin black elected official that very question, and his response was, “There would be rioting in the streets!” Yes there would!

Aside from being blatantly biased, both statements reek of a ridiculous reductionist attempt to explain a very complex problem in absurdly simple terms. The breakdown of the black family in inner-city neighborhoods is a result of little economic opportunity, a consistent devaluation of the black male, the drug war, idiot white prosecutors who thought eliminating the old-style gang leaders was a good idea, the devaluation of education, and a black leadership that prospers by keeping their constituents in a perpetual victim state.

Some folks tried to say it was a satirical statement, but while this columnist gets to embrace that literary device, diversity trainers paid by a municipality to perform “unconscious bias” training do not! And the fact that Ms. Baretto doesn’t begin to understand that very basic concept is reason enough to send her packing.

Personally, I’d rather have her be an abject bigot than that blitheringly stupid. You can fix some bigots!

And if it really was satire, which I don’t believe for a second, it was really bad satire. Not even I’ve been stupid enough to make fun of a woman’s weight. To prove my point, regardless of your race, go home tonight and joke about your wife’s ample butt. I guarantee you that, “But dearest, it was just satire,” won’t be getting you off the couch or the hook anytime soon.

And all those Facebook African-Americans and white liberals who think this is OK are no better than those rabid Trump supporters they love to loathe because they can’t be convinced of the flaw in their logic.

We all know the trio behind this, too. It starts with Traci Ellis, the incompetent, disgraced, and “all about me” former U-46 school board member who recently explained how the American flag was the equivalent of toilet paper.

Ellis 2

Traci Ellis and her favorite flag!

Then, just like overeager lap dogs, City Councilmen Tish Powell and Corey Dixon scurry after her while panting as they beg for a treat and a pat on the heat.

And Ellis spews this kind of bile all the time. Aside from the flag comment, a recent Facebook thread consisted of her blaming white women for Donald Trump while insisting they fix their “error” in November. Despite the fact that males voted for Agent Orange in droves, her sycophantic middle-aged white woman posse, who feel a tremendous amount guilt for being born white, always respond in unison, “Thank you, Ms. Ellis! May we have another?”

Sorry guys! I may not be canonization material, but I grew up at Reba and Elmwood in South Evanston where it was 50 percent white and 50 percent black. And somehow, everybody managed to get along. The first time I visited Wilmette, I asked my mother why everyone was white.

So, no! I’m not going to buy into the Baretto/Ellis bilge that there’s some sort of Caucasian original sin when it comes to black folks. It’s the worst kind of bigotry that’s every bit as bad as the Mormons officially believing African-Americans were inherently evil until 1978. Though I’ve consistently attempted to redress their bad acts, I refuse to take responsibility for my ancestors’ actions because, as it so happens, I wasn’t alive at the time.

Why do you think so many Elgin staffers mutinied in regard to this program? Because none of us like being blamed for something we haven’t done.

Please also note that Baretto used the term “white supremacy” and not “white privilege.” While I’m all for ending white privilege, it’s eminently clear she believes that whitey regularly dons hoods and burns crosses before breakfast. C’mon! Left to our own devices, we generally get along until carpetbaggers like Ellis and Baretto exploit our differences for their financial benefit.

At least Powell had the cojones to say, “Barreto’s diversity and inclusion work is very important, but it’s about exercising good judgment on social media.” But Dixon inexplicably responded, “I could see how people get offended by it, but those who are offended by it maybe also should look at the other half of it and look at the greater point of it.”


What greater point? If he truly believes there’s a “greater point” to that kind of abject bigotry, then he shouldn’t be serving on a middle-school student council, much less a city council. I’ve never been so quickly disappointed by a candidate I once wholeheartedly supported in my life.

I wanted to ask Dixon exactly how white women could single-handedly bring about the end of “white supremacy,” but he refused to respond. And the fact that both councilmen still support Baretto, on any level, would have me seriously considering other candidates in the next election.

Dixon can bribe the voters with free backpack giveaways all he wants, but his real agenda is beyond obvious.

To the white moderates and conservatives who are correctly concerned about this, please don’t take it out on Elgin. They’ve truly gone above and beyond the call when it comes to race relations.

How do we know this? It’s simple! We have a female police chief and a black deputy chief. In a city that’s 9 percent black, the city council is 22 percent black. City Hall is named after Robert Gilliam, a beloved African-American city councilman. The incredible assistant city manger is an Hispanic woman. The African-American Powell received more votes in the last election than any candidate in modern history.

Have I mentioned that Elgin has a diversity program, too?

Is Elgin perfect? Nope! Far from it. But the best way to teach diversity and tolerance is through action and not some sort of BS “unconscious bias” training that only supplants one group’s prejudices with another’s.

Thankfully, as a result of Baretto’s declaration, City Manager Rick Kozal suspended the insipid unconscious bias training program, and let’s hope he’s wise enough to make that decision permanent.

I also spoke to Mayor Dave Kaptain, who explained the issue is in the City Manager’s hands, and it will be reviewed with all the due diligence and legal consideration required. When that process is complete, a determination will be made.

Fair enough!

Of course, when Baretto is inevitably let go, she and Ellis will team up to use it as the “perfect example” of just how heinous Caucasians really are. Perhaps Ms. Ellis will even author another fictional book on the subject.

So, I had a thought. For my usual fee – a 12-pack of Bass Ale and a box of Entenmann’s donuts – I’d be more than happy to provide conscious bias training for Ellis and Baretto. That should take all of ten minutes.

A bigot is a bigot folks, no matter what their color.

Quick Hits – September 21, 2018

Another article about nothing?

I know I’m heading into dangerous broken record territory, but I just can’t pass this one up.

If you recall, last September, the Daily Herald actually ran an article about nothing. Those overeager editors felt it was their journalistic duty to warn folks there was no evidence of any white supremacist activity in Gurnee, Illinois.

I can’t tell you how important it was to know that!

As a result, and always being the helpful one, I proposed the DH could build on that fascinating trend by posting articles like these:

  • The aliens haven’t landed
  • Donald Trump has not behaved presidentially
  • Illinois has not balanced their budget
  • The North Koreans have not invaded Waukegan
  • An asteroid did not strike Carpentersville
  • Godzilla did not appear in the ocean outside Japan
  • Bigfoot has not been discovered

Because when it comes to reporting, the Daily Herald does far better with nothing than they’ve ever managed to do with something. Once you’ve found your strength, you really oughtta run with it, right!

And I’m proud to report they just did!

This time, that news-challenged newspaper ran a story about an Elgin towing firm that works closely with the Police Department failing to secure the appropriate licensing. But when the State called them on that error, they secured the proper paperwork in September of 2017. Despite that paperwork failure, neither the public, the City, nor the police department ever had a problem with that company.

Elgin Towing

So, they’re essentially reporting there was a problem that’s been fixed, and the issue had no impact on anything or anyone while it existed. They made it headline news, too! As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating!”

In that magnanimous Quick Hits spirit, I have some specific thoughts on how the Daily Herald can take this tack a bit further. They could do a story on:

  • How Mayor Dave Kaptain regularly jaywalked, but he doesn’t do it anymore and he was never ticketed for it.
  • City councilman Toby Shaw had a habit of cutting the tags off mattresses, but he gave it up for lent and the gendarmes never caught on.
  • City Manager Rick Kozal repeatedly drove the length of Chicago Street at 45 mph in reverse at midnight, but he stopped doing that two months ago and he never had an accident.

C’mon! This could be the kind of journalistic innovation that finally separates the DH from that grocery store Penny Saver! It clearly has Pulitzer written all over it.

All kidding aside, never underestimate the depths to which those DH editors are willing to descend. I wonder what it’s like to have absolutely no shame?


Apparently, we’re running out of things to be outraged about

When news slipped out that Maroon 5 would be doing the Atlanta-based Superbowl 53 halftime extravaganza, the bovine manure hit the rotating cooling device faster that Khalil Mack can get to a Seahawks quarterback.

C’mon! Can’t you people be happy about anything? Though it would seem that bitching about everything actually does make some of you happy.

To wit, the talking heads went utterly berserk over the NFL’s failure to invite an Atlanta act to do the show. Why, the Tweetosphere went as far as declaring that locals like T. I., Ludacris, Outkast, and Usher would be far more appropriate.

One genius Tweeted, “Maroon 5? With all the artists from Atlanta that are 100 times better?”

Maroon 5

Really? I may not be the biggest Maroon 5 fan, but they’ve certainly done alright at a time when it’s very difficult to stand out from the musical crowd. So, do we really have to denigrate them just because some nitwits are only able to think in terms of an end-of-the-bell-curve political correctness?

God, liberals – and sports writers – suck! (Please remember that I’m a liberal before you hit the send button.)

Also, for the record, I bleepin’ love Outkast, I’m good with Luda (though I don’t think ‘Move Bitch’ would go over very well at a fun family event), and Usher is one of the most talented people on the planet.

I’m betting you’ve already intuited that the underlying issue is the members of Maroon 5 happen to be predominantly white, while all of the aforementioned rap artists are black. It would seem the chorus of whiners mysteriously forgot about Beyonce (twice), Bruno Mars (twice), Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child, The Black-eyed Peas, Usher, and Prince gracing the halftime presentation since 2007.

And Prince proffered the best Superbowl musical performance ever.

With Agent Orange in the White House, you’d think all of these self-righteous shriekers would have better things to consider than the “appropriate” NFL musical act. Apparently not! And when Jeff Ward has to tell you to stop bitching…


A challenge!

Reader Jim asked me to come up with any other scenario in which a sitting Illinois state’s attorney took on a major prosecution in another county. We couldn’t come up with a single one.

Since I got too much shit to do to start going through every major case in every county in Illinois, and I have such smart readers, do any of you all remember a sitting state’s attorney being appointed as a special prosecutor to a case in another county?

I look forward to your responses!

Quick Hits – Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should – part 2

When we last left off, we were debunking Kane County State’s Attorney’s Joe McMahon’s errant assertions for actively pursuing the special prosecutor position in Cook County’s Jason Van Dyke murder trial.

Since you’re well aware of the tragic Laquan McDonald story, let’s avoid all the background bullshit and get right back to it!

5. The “community” and taxpayers are not happy with McMahon’s choice

McMahon told the Trib that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office involvement in the Van Dyke case:

“it gives the entire community confidence in our justice system and shows the willingness of public prosecutors, even in the face of public criticism and second guessing, to pursue, at all times, justice that is integral to our liberty.”

Apparently, he’s been watching too many Quentin Tarantino movies. And most of us harbor far more entertaining flights of fancy than to think the public actually “gets” that kind of abstract logic.

Kane County Judicial Center

Kane County Judicial Center

Ah! But the truth is the “community” within range of the impending Maxxam Partners’ Campton Hill rehab center are not at all amused that, because McMahon was so busy in Chicago, the KCSAO mounted no defense to that lawsuit settlement.

And those Illinois Youth Center – St. Charles current and former employees, and their family members, aren’t at all happy that their pleas to prosecute the most violent inmates continue to go unheeded.

But the most consistent complaint I hear from his constituents is, McMahon won’t address anything that doesn’t advance his career. So, no Joe! The “community” is not nearly as happy about your pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way as you think they are. But you’ve always been oblivious to most political realities.

As I alluded to in part one, the real problem with McMahon’s poor decision-making is that he’s using his garden hose to put out a neighbor’s fire while his house is burning to the ground. Everything I hear from current and former KCSAO staffers depicts an office in complete disarray:

  1. Though the sexual harassment issue has somewhat subsided as a result of coverage here, that scandal has not nearly been addressed. Female prosecutors are still subjected to it, and if it isn’t that, it’s head felony prosecutor Bill Engerman regularly belittling them just because he can.
  2. The turnover rate at the KCSAO is so absurd that defense attorneys can’t keep up with who the new prosecutors are, and some staffers don’t know who their supervisors are. One former prosecutor told me, “That office sucks the heart and soul right out of you and the people in charge don’t care. They’ll just hire a new young prosecutor.”
  3. As The First Ward previously reported, in McMahon’s constant absence, the KCSAO is making no effort to determine what is and isn’t a felony. While the number of KC felony case reviews has remained remarkably consistent over the last five years, the number of felony charges has drastically increased. That means they’re basically ignoring their responsibility and simply letting the judge sort it out. It would seem that Joe McMahon is only interested in Cook County justice.
  4. The most frivolous of lawsuits against Kane County go undefended necessitating consistent five and six-figure settlements. It’s gotten so bad that the county’s insurance carrier just dropped them, which means their rate will double going forward. Call me crazy, but that seems like a net cost to taxpayers to me!
  5. McMahon recently asked the county board for more prosecutors. He claimed they were necessary to get the job done. But if that’s the case, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then why are five of Kane County’s top litigators, and an unspecified number of support staff, spending months working on a Cook County case?

And thanks to some astute readers, I discovered that these kinds of special prosecutions are typically handled by the Attorney General’s or the Illinois State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor’s office. It is exceedingly rare for a sitting state’s attorney to take a major case in another county. There were plenty of options aside from the KCSAO.

But we all know why Joe actively applied for the position.

During one of his more recent verbal altercations with the Chairman, McMahon declared, “The people of Kane County can express their support or displeasure for me any time my name is on an election ballot.”

I hope you remember that in 2020 my friends!

Quick Hits Supplemental – The Daily Herald still sucks!

With a book coming out in October, my plate is pretty full, but there’s no way I’m gonna let today’s Fox Valley Daily Herald’s editorial go. What a bunch of unmitigated bullshit.

To summarize, for the 2,476th time, that mile wide and millimeter thick newspaper took Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen to task for yet another perceived crime against humanity. And you all thought Hitler was bad! This time they’re questioning the Chairman’s motive and timing in questioning State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s commitment to his Kane County constituents.

Apparently, it took the DH a mere two years to finally catch onto the Cook County Jason Van Dyke murder trial and our absentee state’s attorney’s role in it. And while an argument can certainly be made for the KC taxpayers underwriting that prosecution to the tune of $60,000 a month, the circular logic the DH applied makes a Trump Tweet sound like a Zen koan.

Daily Herald Building

The editorial opens  with the DH calling out the Chairman but letting the State’s Attorney slide on his very questionable decisions. I’ll say it again! Chris Lauzen’s frequent public battles are almost always counterproductive, but if the DH actually did their job, he wouldn’t have to be the one to call out errant public officials.

To wit, despite Coroner Rob Russell’s frequently fascinating choices, those eminently delicate Daily Herald editors will take his side simply because Chairman Lauzen is on the other. So, the Chairman’s motives are suspect, but McMahon’s insistent ego-driven glory seeking choices aren’t?

The editorial goes on to claim McMahon’s appointment is, “an obvious compliment to Kane County that its operations are capable of handling a case as complex and delicate as the Van Dyke prosecution.”

First, it’s not a compliment because no one else was politically naive enough to take it. And second, McMahon clearly isn’t capable of “handling” the Van Dyke prosecution and running his own office. Trust me! We’ll delve into those specifics tomorrow.

The editorial also contends it was Lauzen who started the feud with McMahon. Not true! While the Chairman certainly doesn’t shy away from public confrontation, it was Civil Division head Joe Lulves’ incompetence, arrogance, and downright disrespect for the office of chairman that set them on a collision course.

Of course, mimicking McMahon, the DH cited the Illinois law Lauzen supported that allows for special prosecutors, but that’s like blaming one Trump voter for all the havoc he’s wreaked. If I recall correctly, 59 other state senators vote “yes” on that statute, too.

But this is the statement that really frosts my flakes:

“Moreover, Kane County prosecutors no doubt will have occasion someday to seek reciprocal assistance from Cook or some other county to protect the integrity of the justice system. It would be a shame to think they would be rejected because of political infighting and the possibility that someone might miss a few meetings.”


When was the last time a Kane County murder trial drew national attention? I reached out to a number of local attorneys and judges this morning, and none of ‘em can come up with a single KC case that required a special prosecutor. So, now the DH is just making it up as they go along. This is why some fun folks insist on using the term “fake news” these days.

Those sources also informed me that a state’s attorney prosecuting a major case in another county is an exceedingly rare event. It’s the attorney general’s office or the AG’s appellate commission prosecutors who typically handle these kinds of things. And Joe McMahon damn well knows that! Aside from his lofty aspirations, there was no good reason for him to seek that appointment.

And to even compare Kane to Cook County shows a complete lack of journalistic integrity at best, and downright incompetence at worst. But while the Daily Herald continues to attack the Chairman and make the hopeless anti-bridge Longmeadow Loons front page news, here’s what they chose to ignore.

I provided the DH with evidence of the late local attorney Michael Clancy’s connection to Anjum Coffland, and his sister, Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles,’ efforts to illegally cover it up. The story went nowhere

Shaw media ran with the story on the horrific issues plaguing the Illinois State Youth Center – St. Charles, but despite submitting hundreds of documents to the Daily Herald, they ignored that one, too.

I gave the DH everything I had on the ongoing KCSAO sexual harassment scandal – including a victim’s written complaint – but even after a prosecutor was recently fired for sexual harassment, they refused to report on it.

That says everything you need to know about John Lampinen, Jim Slusher, Jim Baumann and the rest of the DH editors who only use that paper as a medium to press their personal political vendettas. The truth is, they’re far worse than anyone they’ve ever covered.

And they abuse the public trust because their fragile sensibilities can’t handle the fact that the Chairman called them a name. McMahon may be politically oblivious, but he knows how to play the press and those DH editors’ lips are permanently attached to his bony white ass.

The editorial’s final contention was, even if Lauzen’s misappropriation of taxpayer dollars argument had merit, it should wait until the Van Dyke trial was over. To do otherwise would unduly distract McMahon from his appointed task.

If this debate really is “distracting” McMahon, all I can say is “good!” It’s the only way we’ll ever get him to pay attention to Kane County.

Have I said, “The Daily Herald still sucks?”

Quick Hits – Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should – part 1

I realize I’m risking the same fate I regularly accuse former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge of courting by doing yet another negative piece on our Kane County state’s attorney. But while I’m grateful to see the Daily Herald and Tribune finally pick up on the immense Kane County taxpayer cost for underwriting the Jason Van Dyke prosecution, I feel compelled to answer Joe McMahon’s “arguments” for taking that appointment in the first place.

McMahon 4

But before we continue, please note that I’ve been covering McMahon’s involvement in the Laquan McDonald murder for over a year. So, while it’s also gratifying to see Chairman Chris Lauzen take a public taxpayer stand, I’ve been on this one for quite some time.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to McMahon’s faulty reasoning:

1. There’s no net cost to Kane County taxpayers

If this was Politifact I’d rate that statement as “pants on fire!” While it’s true that KC taxpayers aren’t coughing up any more cash than they already are, unless they’ve solved the quantum problem, McMahon and his top lieutenants can’t work for Cook and Kane County at the same time.

To make matters worse, McMahon has publicly bragged about his team putting “13- to 14-hour days” into the Van Dyke trial. So, not only are the taxpayers getting no benefit from their top prosecutors, but lower-level staffers have to pick up the slack, which means those already overworked folks will be much more likely to make mistakes.

To be more specific, when you add up McMahon’s, Jody Gleaon’s, Joe Cullen’s, Dan Weiler’s and Greg Sams’ annual compensation, it comes to $708,000 a year. That means Kane County taxpayers are underwriting a Cook County prosecution to the tune of $60,000 a month.


2. Lauzen supported a law that allows for special prosecutions

This is McMahon’s most specious contention. He argues that, when Lauzen was a state senator, he voted for a law that allowed for these kinds of special prosecutions. To quote the great philosopher Dick Cheney, “So what?” The fact that you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you have to or should do it.

I’m well within my legal rights to ride my road bike down the middle of Randall Road at rush hour, but you won’t see me doing it anytime soon because it’s a really bad idea.

Trying to shift the blame to a former state senator whose vote was immaterial to a law’s passage is the worst kind of pretzel logic and far more than disingenuous.


3. He had to take the case

McMahon hasn’t come right out and said it, but on more than one press occasion he’s intimated that Cook County came directly to him and, thus, he had no choice but to take the case. The truth is, while every other collar county state’s attorney hid under their desk when that call came, McMahon sought the appointment out.

Even his good friends tell me that Joe never lasts long at any job because he’s always looking for that next step up the ladder. And he thought the press from the Van Dyke prosecution would launch him into a federal prosecutor position or an attorney general run, so he volunteered to do it.

But just like one shouldn’t use their hose to put out the neighbor’s fire when their own house is burning, McMahon should’ve let special prosecutions go until his own house was in order. And it’s far from it.


4. The only one criticizing him is the Chairman

McMahon continues to repeat that line, but it’s only partially correct. The Chairman may be the only one who’s publicly calling him out, but as a result of McMahon’s reputation for retaliating against anyone who dares to criticize him, I’m privy to a slew of private complaints from board members and other elected officials who feel they’ve been consistently shortchanged by the KCSAO.

And those grievances have tripled since the county board was forced to sign off on the Maxxam Partners’ Campton Hills rehab center lawsuit settlement due to the lack of any real KCSAO legal defense.

It’s not that I think Joe’s lying, he’s always been oblivious to the political realities of his job. And those realities include the majority of local politicians will slap you on the back and smile as they talk all kinds shit behind it.

So, what they say to your face is immaterial.


Since neither you nor I have time for another 1,500-word column, we will continue this conversation on Wednesday.

Quick Hits – September 14, 2018

It’s time to adopt a Republican mien!

Whenever a hurricane hits anywhere, I’d like to think I’m the first one to crack open the checkbook. But while I wish no catastrophe on anyone (with the possible exception of Kim Kardashian) when it comes to the Carolinas, they’re not gonna get a cent.


Yep! It’s time to go all Ayn Rand on some of my favorite southerners’ asses because:

1. Both states continue to allow developers to build in flood plains and low-lying coastal areas. North Carolina politicians went as far as ignoring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by voting to allow development along the coast and on the Barrier Islands. All of those homes and businesses are being wiped out as we speak.

2. The Republican dominated legislators in both states continue to insist that climate change is a myth. Spurred on by real estate and developer lobbying groups, in 2012, North Carolina went as far as passing a bill that barred policymakers and developers from using the latest climate science data when planning for rising sea levels.

3. Despite hurricanes and/or flooding hitting the same areas every two to four years, both states continue to allow homeowners to rebuild where they never should’ve built in the first place. And what do Republicans generally say about “enabling” minorities with handouts

4. Both states went big for Donald Trump who thinks he can contend with these “very big” and “very wet” hurricanes with a roll of quicker picker uppers.

5. Virtually every North and South Carolina GOP Congressman voted against the federal relief package for Hurricane Sandy. And if those New Yorkers and New Jerseyians don’t deserve that kind of “handout,” then neither do they.

So, the checkbook stays closed. And I’m sure no self-respecting southern coastal conservative would ever want to debase him or herself by shrieking and howling for government aid after the storm passes. They wouldn’t want to be labelled as hypocrites, would they?


Political naivete personified part 3

As a result of Wednesday’s Quick Hits, a friend came forward with yet another Political Science 101 budgetary postulate. We’ve already covered how unduly irritating the Chairman is almost always counterproductive, but that basic dynamic doesn’t end there, because horking off the county board will likely have the same effect.

Fraught with fiscal requests from every angle, these boards, who generally want the county to succeed, tend to get a little cranky whenever they encounter any kind of entitlement mentality on the part of folks who come to them for more cash.

In yet another interesting irony, it’s politicians who harbor some of the most fascinating entitlement mindsets of them all. So, I’m sure you can see why boards and their minions always seem to be involved in some sort of financial fight.

Take the ongoing Kane County Coroner Rob Russell kerfuffle. It may be true that he needs new digs, but his me-first approach to the board hasn’t helped his cause. And remember! The Chairman doesn’t vote, so Chris Lauzen’s and Russell’s antipathy is utterly immaterial. It all comes down to Russell convincing 13 board members to see it his way.

Harkening back to Court Services Director Lisa Aust and Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles, they correctly and quietly approached the board for additional funding to end the May 2018 probation worker’s strike. And again, had they convinced 13 board members to back them up, the Chairman’s thoughts on that prospect wouldn’t matter.

But that possibility crashed and burned faster than a Ford Pinto when Court Administrator Doug Naughton made this declaration at a board committee meeting; “If you guys weren’t so busy building bridges, you’d have the funds to help us out.”

Please let me stipulate that I’ve always gotten along with Doug if for no other reason than we both can rub people the wrong way. Not only that, but Doug wrote the finest FOIA refusal I’ve ever received, and he loves my flaming red walking shoes.

But as sure as Trump will Tweet tomorrow morning, despite a plethora of Democratic board sympathy for those strikers, that singular statement ended any possibility of that governmental body stepping in, because the quickest way to lose their support is to take no responsibility for your own role in an unnecessary strike and firmly believe you’re that you’re the only department entitled to all that general fund cash.

And Doug’s silly statement will echo in the county board’s ears for years to come.

I’ll say it again! It’s PolySci 101 folks. Demanding cash from the purse string holders won’t get you very far. But you never know what might happen if you deign to ask them for their help.