When I heard that Alderman Corruption…I mean Alderman Carothers…was indicted last Thursday on four counts of mail and wire fraud, two counts of obstruction of justice, two misdemeanor counts of violating federal campaign finance laws, and bribery, I immediately fell out my chair. I recalled the columns I wrote last year calling him and another alderman “Pimps” on the West Side. Well, this is a wake-up call to the 29th Ward to tell Ike to take a hike.
Ald. Carothers has a history of yellow-belly, snake-in-the-grass politics. Hired Truck Scandal, election intimidation, clout list, and last year’s summer jobs scandal-all this adds to why his creditability is in jeopardy. He needs to step down. Furthermore, he is known for bullying his constituents and developers to get what he wants. Ald. Carothers has divided our community between the have’s and the have not’s. He’s divided us with city services. He’s also divided us with jobs and several development projects that were not given to black developers or Austin residents.
These allegations against him are astounding. Concerning the commercial development of the movie theater on Grand and Central, Carothers’ campaign mailing to the 29th Ward residents stated: “He noticed his only options to see a movie were to go to North Riverside, Oakbrook or another suburb.” My observations of the development plans were fishy from the beginning. One, you have the theater underneath a bridge. And two, its one-way entrance in and one-way entrance out is a death trap waiting to happen.
While people in the 29th ward are suffering from the weak economy and home foreclosures, Carothers decides to play Happy Home-makeover and get $40,000 worth of repairs from a developer, so he’s accused. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the repairs included exterior and interior painting, and installing new windows, new exterior doors, and a central air-conditioning system. There were also the paid meals, free tickets to sporting events and more than $3,500 in illegal campaign contributions.
Given the allegations against him, I strongly recommend that Carothers step down and relinquish his chairmanship of the City Council’s police and fire committee. He also sits on the council’s Rules and Ethics, Finance and Zoning committees. He should leave those committees also. Carothers also needs to understand this: if his fellow officers or fire officials who serve and protect the city of Chicago were facing the same allegations, they would immediately be demoted to desk duty. The citizens of the 29th ward, as well as clergy members, should demand he step down as chairman. Carothers is not above the law.
Every time there’s a police brutality case, we do not hold him accountable nor pressure him to call for an investigation into some of these cases. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 662 police-brutality cases go unreported to the media, and nothing is being done about it. Carothers and other aldermen on the West Side has given Mayor Daley the authority to handle every single case.
When you or I report police misconduct, those reports will be swept under the rug-especially, if Ike is still in control.