The Way Chicago "Works": Graft, Corruption, Political Connections, Bribes, Unions

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Those who wish to understand how things work in Chicago need only read a single article that ties everything togetherTeamsters boss indicted on charges of extorting $100,000 from a local business.

A politically connected Teamsters union boss was indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging he extorted $100,000 in cash from a local business.


John Coli Sr., considered one the union’s most powerful figures nationally, was charged with threatening work stoppages and other labor unrest unless he was given cash payoffs of $25,000 every three months by the undisclosed business.


The alleged extortion occurred when Coli was president of Teamsters Joint Council 25, a labor organization that represents more than 100,000 workers in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana.


Coli, 57, an early backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was charged with one count of attempted extortion and five counts of demanding and accepting prohibited payment as a union official.


Coli could not be reached for comment, but a statement posted Wednesday on the Teamsters Local 727 website announced he planned to retire at the end of the month after 46 years in the union.


In the statement, Coli said he had decided it was time “to begin a new chapter” and that he wanted to spend more time with his family.


The Coli family has been active in politics for years and is well-known for spreading around union cash to various candidates. Coli and his relatives have also been accused in civil lawsuits in both state and federal court of running the union like a racket — accusations they have vehemently denied.


In a 2011 deposition stemming from one suit, Coli was asked under oath why so many of his relatives were allowed to control the union’s lucrative pension funds. “For the record, go f— yourself,” Coli answered, according to a transcript in court records.


“So I take it you’re refusing to answer that question?” the plaintiff’s attorney asked. “I think the answer speaks for itself,” the transcript quoted Coli as saying.


Coli backed Emanuel in his first run for mayor at a time when Emanuel, viewed as a centrist Democrat, had very little union backing.


The Teamsters contributed $35,000 to Emanuel’s 2011 campaign, including $15,000 for polling. The union stepped up even more to back the mayor’s bid for a second term, contributing $134,700, state campaign finance records show.


Once Emanuel was elected, a representative from the union was appointed to the mayoral transition team, and Coli was named to the exclusive group of campaign donors and community leaders in charge of planning the mayor’s first inaugural.


Two months after Emanuel first took office, the Chicago Tribune detailed how the newly elected mayor had demanded greater accountability and financial sacrifice from Chicago’s labor unions — except for the Teamsters.


In 2003, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Coli to the Illinois Tollway board, only to have Coli quickly withdraw his name amid questions about $100,000 in Teamsters campaign contributions to Blagojevich and potential conflicts of interest.


Within a few months, Blagojevich quietly named Coli to two other state boards with less direct impact on Teamsters affairs, the Tribune reported.


In 2005, the Tribune reported the FBI was investigating whether the Coli-led Teamsters siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from a union benefit plan that provided dental care to Chicago-area undertakers and valets. That probe had been sparked by an internal union report raising concerns about payments from the plan going to organized crime figures.


No charges were ever filed.

Illinois Governors in Prison

Former governor Rod Blagojevich is now in prison for a 14-year sentence.

He was found guilty of 18 counts of corruption, including attempting to sell or trade an appointment to a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

He faces another eight years in prison after an appeals court upheld the sentence in April of this year.

No other state can match this claim: 4 OUT OF PREVIOUS 7 ILLINOIS GOVERNORS WENT TO PRISON

The way Chicago “works” is the same way Illinois “works”. Corrupt politicians get in bed with corrupt union leaders and screw the taxpayers and businesses as much as they can.

Sometimes they get caught.

Teamster boss Coli just got caught after all these years of extortion. His deals with Mayor Emanuel screwed Chicago taxpayers. Emanuel promised reforms and transparency but reforms and transparency stop once campaign donations are sufficient enough.

Coli said he is retiring to spend more time with “family”. Unless he gets off the hooks, that family must mean his mafia brothers and sisters in prison.

The City That Works

Chicago is nicknamed the “City that Works“.

I was wondering how it got that name. It took some doing, not by me but rather by the Straight Dope for the answer.

The April 5, 1971 issue of Newsweek featured Richard J. Daley on the cover, and inside, spread across two pages, a photo of Daley and his entourage marching eleven abreast on St. Patrick’s Day. Admittedly the headline below this read, “Chicago’s Daley: How to Run a City.” Adjacent to the headline, immediately beneath the photo, the text of the article read as follows:


This is not to suggest, reports Newsweek correspondent Frank Maier, that Daley’s Chicago enraptures every resident or inspires every visitor to leave his heart behind. But it is a demonstrable fact that Chicago is that most wondrous of exceptions — a major American city that actually works.”


The last bit was repeated in an editor’s note at the front of the magazine. Beyond a doubt this article was the vehicle by which “the city that [actually] works” entered common currency. The phrase began turning up in Chicago newspapers by 1972, first appeared in the Washington Post in 1974 and in the New York Times in 1975, and figured in the lead of obituaries nationwide following Daley’s death in 1976.

If by some chance you previously did not know how Chicago and the entire state “works”, now you do.

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Fartboxbuffet's picture

What a dumpster fire this planet is becoming

localsavage's picture

There isn't much difference between Chicago and DC.  The schemes are a little more sophisticated but the game is the same.

Fartboxbuffet's picture

Fuk bill looks. Looks like a aids patient in that Thumbnail with no teeth lol i like it

D Nyle's picture

I love it, Keep up the good work on Fucking over Illinois. Its a Libtard Hell Hole and they Deserve it

bamawatson's picture
  as a '68 high school grad i recall thinking these useless turds were cosmo cosmics. I recall mayor daley's democommie convention almost as vividly as i recall jfk murder. Someone please help me understand how, 'to-a-man' ((with possible exception of nash, who remains relatively silent)) these low rent losers slobber over b hussein homobama, msm propaganda, and deep state destruction
bamawatson's picture prologue was actual live recording "whole world's watching"

HillaryOdor's picture

"What a dumpster fire this planet is becoming"

Meh.  It always has been.  And it's not just political leaders shitting all over us.  That's such a cop out.  This is a big part of the problem, no one wants to take responsibility for their own failures.  It's always someone else's fault.

Our problem is the masses of people just passively accepting organized crime rackets under the supposed legitimacy of government, especially as long as their property values are going up.  They got theirs so who cares if the world burns.  Humans are the most overrated species.  There are very few truly good people.  Everyone wants to be in everyone else's business and tell them how they can live, and when their fake engineered societies start to fail they search desperately for people to blame.  Here on ZH it's usually bankers and politicians.  No, it's all of us.  All of us that sit here and point fingers while putting up with this worthless government.

bamawatson's picture

"gotta blame someone for your own confusion; we're all on guard this time against your final solution"

((from lunatic fringe, by red ryder))

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


Coli, 57, an early backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel ... planned to retire at the end of the month after 46 years in the union.

Joined the Teamsters as an eleven-year-old kid? Seems a bit odd, but hey, it's Chicago. All the kids are doing it.

Coli said he had decided it was time "to begin a new chapter" and that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Translation: "Damn, they got me dead to rights! Time to bail!"

If by some chance you previously did not know how Chicago and the entire state "works", now you do.

Based on the courage, honor, and integrity of hometown favorites like Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett, I'm sure Coli is just a "bad apple".

FreddieX's picture


Obama emerged from the Illinois Democratic Party, one of the most corrupt entities ever created by man, with the public backing of a layer of trade union officials, “lefts” and upper middle class African American politicians. Less publicly, influential financial, political and intelligence forces no doubt saw in Obama years ago a marketable and valuable commodity, a man who could present himself--as we wrote in our review of The Audacity of Hope --as both “white and black, liberal and conservative, foreign and American, a man above party ideology and the petty bickering of partisan politics.”


Chicago’s Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on October 9 that the city would go forward with a plan to entirely eliminate health insurance subsidies for retired city workers at the end of 2016. An estimated 21,100 workers, along with 9,100 of their spouses and dependents, will see their health costs rise dramatically.

According to recent revelations, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at a converted Sears warehouse in Homan Square over the last decade.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) keeps nearly 400,000 people on a secret watch list, according to a recent Chicago Sun Times report and analysis. While Chicago police admitted to having a substantially smaller watch list last year, the actual number of those being targeted for surveillance is far greater than anything reported before.

Earlier this month former US president Barack Obama spoke in Chicago about his plans to build his presidential center on the city’s impoverished South Side. Astonishingly, when the center is completed by 2021, the accumulated cost of building Obama’s monument to his political legacy could exceed $1 billion dollars.

The early-phase spending, which includes the costs of building a library and a museum, is expected to reach $675 million. According to NBC Chicago, Obama’s library architects indicate the total project could require up to $1.5 billion, more than three times the amount raised by George W. Bush for his presidential center. Bill Clinton by contrast was only able to raise a meager $164 million.
“Seventy-five. That’s how long I want to live: 75 years.” So opens a piece in the September 17 issue of the Atlantic written by Ezekiel J. Emanuel. In “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” Emanuel reasons that by age 75 he “will have lived a complete life.” He writes, “I will have loved and been loved … I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations.”
In an appearance on CNBC television Monday, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said that the US health care system is “ridiculous” in its complexity. Appearing alongside his fellow billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, the 93-year-old said, “The amount of waste from overtreatment of the dying is just disgusting.”  

localsavage's picture

Sorry but it's what happens when they force me to spend time with Hill.  I wanted to stay with my hookers but......

booboo's picture

Doesn't Coli have a shiity connotation?

yogibear's picture

Obama, with Daley, Axlerod, Jarrett brought more of Chicago's corruption to DC, as if it didn't have enough.

44magnum's picture

DC gave us the Federal Reserve and its been extortion of "We the people " ever since. Pay us or else. We will do with the money as WE see fit so shut the fuck up PAY ME!

seataka's picture

DC Hides it better behind lawyers with attorney client privlege and lightyears of red tape


AtATrESICI's picture

Needs to be all 7 and all of the rest. The .gov is legalized criminality.

silverer's picture

Four out of seven. Geez, if my math is right, the bad guys are in the lead.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

The Way Chicago "Works": Graft, Corruption, Political Connections, Bribes, Unions

My response: While this kind of information is tough to read, it is GOOD to know that there are people who are serving as WATCHMAN on the WALL and willing to share information.

ZH is one of the few websites that is sharing TRUTH. Thanks for sharing.

DirtySanchez's picture

It's easier to understand when you think of the world as the human body, and Illinois as a stinking, unwashed, hairy, shit-caked, asshole.


Rick Cerone's picture

There is no hope for Chicago. It's an organ harvesting farm now.

Megaton Jim's picture

As long as the doners are of the dusky hued persuasion, who the fuck cares?!?

seataka's picture

and starting with the South side,and moving north all are palestinians, (No insult meant to palestinians)


Pop3y3too's picture

"Sometimes they get caught."


Most times they don't.


Sometimes they become President.

max2205's picture

Who's running this shit show? 

Twee Surgeon's picture

John E Coli. He's the perfect fit.

silverer's picture

The voters. They absolutely thrive on crime and corruption. Thank goodness they have Democrats to vote for. Democrats that have always faithfully delivered on their promises.

Megaton Jim's picture

A very Satanically evil (((tribe))) of hook nosed, beanie wearing demons!

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Summary: Chicago and IL don't work.

VWAndy's picture

 Yall think your state is any different?

booboo's picture

You are just ahead, Go Illini!! No but got problems buzzy but stay there fix it if you dare

VWAndy's picture

 Just waiting on the oathkeepers.

rockstone's picture



(Help me here. I don't know whether to up vote you for your wit and sarcasm or down vote you for actually believing that'll ever happen. Let me know.)

VWAndy's picture

 Last three cats that threatend me with a gun was all oaftakers.

markitect's picture

Maybe Illinois is really good at busting racketeers?  Just a thought.

silverer's picture

"...Coli said he had decided it was time “to begin a new chapter” and that he wanted to spend more time with his family..."

He now will have a new "family" in prison.

max_leering's picture

I got a Benjamin that says he'll never be convicted... any takers?

Bill of Rights's picture

Ahh yes liberals... keep voting with your feet assholes... hope and change is near.

Big Corked Boots's picture

This is why Chicago is the Second City. 

New York politicians are much more costly.

rockstone's picture

Teamster Official Indicted

Dog Bites Man

messystateofaffairs's picture

Shit in a car

The car can't go

That's how you spell Shitcargo

Ban KKiller's picture

Don't forget the judges and the D.A.s!     Sitting judge, 6 months from retirement, retires early and they appoint a "temporary" judge who now has all of the advantages of an incumbent. This is how it works all around the USA....sneaky way to insert a judge. They then run under "keep judge Smith" or some other lie. 

Herdee's picture

Obama's old home territory. Is it a surprise that what he contributed to in Illinois was used as his model in Washington? Not at all, him and Michael did a good job of it. They were just caterers, giving crooks everything they wanted. Is there an economic plan from within the Government to destroy the United States economically? Bin Laden who was openly sponsored by the CIA seemed to think so and so do the rest of American/Saudi paid terrorists around the globe. The plan of terrorists is to use the NeoCon hegemony philosophy against the ones in Washington that want a world American Empire. The Wolfowitz Plan is a perfect example of helping to bankrupt America. However, it's also implemented with a dual mandate. The other side of the coin is destruction of American society through degradation of the social fabric and America's infrastructure. The U.S. is already turning into a third world nation, especially when it comes to the types of jobs and wages. It is constantly showing up in the lackof tax revenues, so monetization of the debt is part of the destruction process. Japan is used an image of the model to follow for debt monetization now. The endless global wars is at the heart of the problem for America and its' people. The cost of helping injured Service Personnel is now ballooning in costs. If you believe in peace, you are the enemy of the NeoCon philosophy running the Milirary/Spy/Industrial Complex. Believe me, the easy way out is what politicians will decide to do. It'll be hyperinflation until bust and quite simply put, just the same playbook as what happened to Germany. They have no other choice except to cause a major worldwide depression in order to wash out all the bad debts.

Tim Knight from Slope of Hope's picture

In twenty years, there won't be any need for overpaid truck drivers (and, thus, the Teamsters).


Unions have been dying for decades, and they'll be gone forever soon enough.

hawaiian waverider's picture

They'll try to organize the robots and declare that every robot in operation has to pay into a "jobs re-education/transition" program.  Yes, unions are simply parasites siphoning off the workers to better the management and keep the cleptocracy going by funding democrat politicians.  

Imagine- we have government workers unions no less, negotiating with government for ludicrous pensions and the taxpayers in nowhere near the negotiating table.