Criminal complaints filed Monday in U.S. District Court against two men with strong ties to the 11th Ward take aim at patronage--the political lifeblood of this Daley-controlled political organization, one of the city's most powerful.
Robert Sorich is the former secretary of the 11th Ward organization run by John Daley, the ward's Democratic committeeman and the brother of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Sorich has longtime ties to the Daley family, and his father was the official photographer for the late Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Both Sorich and Slattery are accused of rigging the city's hiring process to make sure campaign workers were rewarded with city jobs.
Sorich, a top deputy in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Daley administration's patronage chief, and Slattery, director of staff services for the Streets and Sanitation Department, were each charged with one count of mail fraud.
John Daley, who has run the ward for two decades and also serves as a Cook County commissioner, could not be reached for comment.
Sorich and Slattery are the latest 11th Warders implicated in the expanding federal probe that began as an investigation of the city's truck program and has evolved into an investigation of hiring practices.
In recent months, city employees and business people with roots in Bridgeport have popped up with increasing frequency.
John Cannatello, charged recently with running a trucking firm that fraudulently posed as being owned by a woman, is a Bridgeport native with ties to John Daley and the 11th Ward organization.
GNA Trucking, the firm Cannatello allegedly ran, donated $4,000 to John Daley's campaign firm and ward organization.
Daley has confirmed that GNA Trucking was also an insurance client of his. He said he sold worker's compensation insurance to the company, dealing primarily with John Cannatello.
Cannatello was also charged with passing cash bribes and campaign contributions to Donald Tomczak, the former No. 2 official in the city's Water Department who has strong ties to the 11th Ward.
Tomczak has been charged with using an army of more than 100 city workers to do political work in return for jobs, promotions and overtime pay.
Tomczak, a loyalist of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and a top precinct captain in the Bosley Park area of the 11th Ward, was hired by the city in 1958 as a laborer.
In addition to Tomczak and Cannatello, the late Nick LoCoco, a former Transportation Department supervisor who was charged last fall with illegally cashing in on the truck program, also hailed from the 11th Ward.
Current controversy aside, the 11th Ward--ancestral home of current mayor, Richard M. Daley, and his father, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley--has been at the epicenter of Chicago politics.
In addition to scores of top city employees and judges over the years, the 11th Ward produced four successive Democratic mayors: Edward Kelly in 1933, Martin Kennelly in 1947, Richard J. Daley in 1955 and Michael Bilandic in 1977.
And the reach of the 11th Ward extends beyond City Hall, with people in powerful--albeit less prominent--positions in government, from the Chicago Park District and Cook County to the state.
CITY HALL HIRING PROBE
In terms of clout, city's 11th Ward towers above rest
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