Chicago mayor questioned in Hired Truck investigation

| 8/30/2005

Federal investigators in Chicago’s Hired Truck program took their questioning to the top this week – Mayor Richard Daley’s office.

After 19 months of an investigation that has led to charges against 32 people and 23 guilty pleas, the feds finally spoke to Daley on Friday, Aug. 26, about his involvement in the program, but cautioned the public against assuming guilt.

“At this time he’s not a target,” Chicago FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He’s a logical interview. He runs city government, he makes decisions.”

Daley quickly called a news conference following the two-hour interview, saying the questioning made him “embarrassed,” “mad” and “disappointed,” but that he would “overcome these challenges,” the Sun-Times reported.

The day before the interview, Daley’s office released employment records related to Hired Truck, but officials said they still haven’t determined the ringleader of the operation.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, Ron Huberman, chief of staff for Daley, released the employment records of Angelo Torres, a former boss in the program who has already been sentenced to two years in prison, to the public. The records contain information about supervisors and pay raises during a seven-year period, the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, Huberman told the Tribune his office has been unable to determine who promoted Torres. Torres received pay raises 14 times and advanced from a car booter to one of the highest positions in the program in eight years.

“I would like nothing better today than to be able to stand up here and say this is the individual, or the two individuals, or the three individuals directly responsible for the hiring of Angelo Torres,” Huberman told the Tribune. “We are just not able to clearly get at that answer, and it would be unfair to throw out names of any sort because we can’t conclusively say that those are the people responsible.”