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
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.