Illinois Secretary of State, Jessie White, and other top Democrats say they’ve uncovered new evidence of wrongdoing, on the part of ousted 10th District candidate for the Illinois House, Derrick Smith. Back when Smith was a ward superintendent for the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation, White and others say Smith was fired for a shakedown scheme involving his street crews.
Talking to WGN News, the former state rep doesn't dispute the new report. But he says he didn’t do anything wrong. "Because I was the ward superintendent, I was the one that was let go as a result of their allegations which they had on other individuals. And it wasn't actually anything I did myself."
No criminal charges were filed as a result of the allegations. But a bevy of democratic leaders say it's symptomatic of the problems that have dogged Derrick Smith. At an interfaith rally Friday at the St. Luke Church of God and Christ on Chicago’s near north side, Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White, a Tyson backer, fired a political salvo at Smith.
"Fired from the city. Fired from the state. Expelled from the general assembly. 100 colleagues voted against him," says White. “Enough is enough. We need better people from the west side going to Springfield to represent us!”
Attorney Lance Tyson, a former mayoral aide to Richard Daley and public finance specialist is lifelong democrat. But he's forced to run as a "unity party" candidate. Tyson is running against the winner of the Democratic primary, Derrick Smith. It’s a complicated story. You may remember, back in the spring, just days before the Democratic primary, Smith was arrested and indicted by federal agents for allegedly accepting a bribe. That led to expulsion from the Illinois House, but Smith still won the primary. Top Democratic leaders, including Jessie White, came together to endorse a challenger. And that’s when Lance Tyson came into the picture.
Despite all the clamoring for him to step down, the ousted state rep says people in the 10th District are encouraging him to run, despite the federal indictment hanging over his head. Smith says he’s entitled to a day in court, and he’s confident he’ll be found innocent of the bribery charges.