Daley shrugs off ongoing Hired Truck scandals in annual address

| Wednesday, February 08, 2006

If Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is starting to feel the pressure from the ongoing federal investigation of the Hired Truck program, he’s certainly not showing any signs.

Just one day after City Clerk Jim Laski resigned amidst charges for his alleged involvement in the program, Daley gave his annual State of the City address – with hardly a mention of the scandal-ridden program.

In the address – totaling 18 pages in length, according to the Chicago Sun-Times – Daley made mention of the corruption-plagued program in only two paragraphs. This was a radical departure from his address last year, which he used as a jumping-off point for a series of new anti-corruption programs and policies, including the privatization of Hired Truck.

Daley did mention his newly appointed inspector general, David Hoffman, a man the mayor said he put in office to clean up corruptions within the city’s government, specifically in regard to Hired Truck.

Critics said the tiny mention of the Hired Truck scandal – in which city officials took bribes and political contributions from trucking companies in exchange for city work – was most likely a political move.

“Last year, it was a different message,” City Alderman Ricardo Munoz told the Sun-Times. “Now, we’re 385 days from election day. It’s the ‘Let’s play to our strengths’ message.”

To date, 42 individuals have been indicted in the ongoing federal investigation. Twenty-six people have been found guilty or pleaded guilty, including 14 city workers, and 20 people have already been sentenced, according to the Sun-Times.

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