Chicago’s mob families.


If you want to understand the way Chicago works, watch again The Godfather.

The Democratic Party Machine is not a single group. It is made up of families.

You got your Mells. Your O’Connors. Your Burkes.

Sometimes their interests converge. Sometimes they draw knives.

It is one of the reasons that even with Mrs. Lewis out of the race, Rahm’s election is not assured.

A mob family war can break out at any moment.

Today the Better Government Association exposes how boss Fast Eddie Burke’s clout got a contract with CPS for a company already banned by the city for corruption.

But Rahm runs CPS.  We know that because with no elected school board we have a system of mayoral control. 

That means, ahem, the Mayor controls it.

An Emanuel spokeswoman said the mayor hadn’t been aware Windy City Electric was still working for the schools. “The mayor has asked CPS to look into this matter immediately,” she said.

CPS has paid Windy City Electric more than $3.1 million since August 2012, when City Hall’s ban took effect, records show. The company repairs and installs security cameras, light fixtures and other electrical equipment for CPS.


March 26, 2012: The Watchdogs: Inspector general wants McMahon business banned from city work

Aug. 27, 2012: Emanuel bans Windy City Electric from doing city business

When they banned Windy City Electric from getting city contracts in 2012, city officials said the business was controlled by Anthony P. McMahon, a top precinct captain for Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and McMahon’s brother John K. McMahon, a former city electrician, and not by their wives, as the company claimed.

Anthony McMahon’s wife Kathleen McMahon and John McMahon’s wife Nancy McMahon incorporated Windy City Electric in 1989. Soon after, the city certified the Chicago company as a woman-owned business. In 2005, the company withdrew that certification amid questions from then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration about whether Windy City Electric was owned and run by women. But the company was allowed to keep doing work for the city.

City of Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson reinvestigated the company in 2009, concluding the two sisters-in-law didn’t own Windy City Electric and submitted false documents to the city in 2004.
Windy City Electric representatives didn’t return messages seeking comment.

The city ban came after the Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association reported the city could have banned Windy City Electric in 2005 but didn’t and had paid the company $30.6 million since then. The Sun-Times/BGA investigation also found that the extended McMahon family had a longtime hold on contracts to provide milk to city schools that saw CPS paying more for milk than many suburban schools did. CPS renegotiated that contract following those reports.

I just need to mention here that Fast Eddie’s wife Anne Burke sits on the Illinois Supreme Court and was the one vote against the pension protection clause in the Kanerva decision.

Rahm is shrugging and says he didn’t know about Windy City Electric.

Of course he did.

Just like mob families.

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