Chicago's Hired Truck scandal linked to city hall

| 6/27/2005

Chicago alderman Arenda Troutman is denying any wrongdoing, following an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times that linked her family’s trucking company to the city’s corrupt Hired Truck Program.

According to the Sun-Times, Troutman’s then-husband, Charles Harris, created Hobtat Trucking Inc. in 1994, four years after she became alderman for Ward 20. Hobtat changed ownership in 1996 to Mario Vulcain – Harris’ nephew – and joined Hired Truck two months later.

Hobtat received $1.1 million from the scandalous sewer and water department program, which gave city work to trucking companies in exchange for bribes and political campaign contributions.

In a news conference, Troutman said she had never profited from the company’s involvement with Hired Truck, and denied helping create the company with her ex-husband.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Troutman said. “I stand here to continue to say I had nothing to do with it.”

However, Sandra Williams-Bey, Troutman’s former ward superintendent, wrote a letter to federal prosecutors and accused Troutman of putting the company in her nephew’s name to mask her involvement, the Sun-Times reported.