Some of the most powerful men in Illinois during the Roaring 20's meet at the Hotel Sherman on Dec. 31, 1927. Left to right: Eugene Pike, the new president of the Lincoln Park board; Sen. Elect Frank L. Smith; Chicago Mayor William "Big Bill" Thompson; and Illinois Gov. Len Small. Both Small and Smith had legal issues during their careers as public servants in Illinois. Small was indicted in 1921 on charges of embezzling up to $700,000 in public funds and conspiracy to defraud the state during Small's second term as Illinos state treasurer. But he was never convicted. Smith, a former congressman and chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, was appointed to the seat in December 1926 by then-Illinois Gov. Len Small, after the death of incumbent Sen. William McKinley. But Smith had been accused by Senate officials of accepting $125,000 in campaign money from Samuel Insull, the powerful owner several public utilities, while Smith was the chair of the ICC. Accepting such a contribution while acting as the ICC chair was a violation of Illinois law. Although he was never officially charged with a crime, the U.S. Senate voted 61-23 that Smith was not entitled to his Senate seat.
Tribune file photo