Patrick Fitzgerald will be a tough act to follow because of his unparalleled passion, dedication, commitment and professionalism. He came here from New York City without any political connections or party affiliation, and that enabled him to go after corrupt public officials in both parties without any political considerations. It also ensured that no one got a pass because of his or her clout, and the best symbol of that nonpartisan, apolitical approach is the two Illinois governors who are in jail today–one Republican, one Democrat. Some say Fitzgerald was overzealous–squeezing witnesses too hard or entrapping unsuspecting politicians with overly-aggressive surveillance tools–but that’s the only way you can deal with the insidious power of ‘the Chicago way’ or the ‘the Illinois way.’ Illinois is a slightly cleaner state today because of Pat Fitzgerald, and all of us owe him a debt of gratitude.
We should also say thank you one more time to former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald–no relation–for recruiting Pat from NYC. Let’s hope that Sen. Durbin makes an equally enlightened recommendation to President Obama for a replacement, and that Durbin considers going outside Illinois for another prosecutor without any ties to the local political parties because that, more than anything, gave Pat Fitzgerald the ability to fight corruption without pulling punches. He arrived here as a bachelor, and he leaves this job as a married father of two children. He’s earned the right to move on and we wish him the best.
The cryptocurrency giant pledged at least a million dollars to a local non-profit to provide universal basic income to help people get back on their feet after spending time behind bars. But now, the company has filed for bankruptcy, without delivering on most of the grant.
The property tax sale process that can result in people losing their homes robs those communities of generational wealth, critics say. And Cook County’s last-chance fund to help make some of those homeowners whole is years behind in paying claims.
A Chalkbeat Chicago and Illinois Answers Project investigation revealed that despite student needs, high poverty districts have spent smaller portions of their ESSER funds in comparison to low poverty districts.