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Vrdolyak Goes Fancy For Community Service Sentence

Ed Vrdolyak

Former Ald. Ed Vrdolyak (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) - For many felons sentenced to community service, it’s straight to serving soup at the homeless shelter or picking up garbage on the side of the highway.

But that was not the case for former Ald. Ed Vrdolyak.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Vrdolyak worked many of his hours organizing a star-studded fundraiser at Gibson’s steakhouse, 1028 N. Rush St., recruiting attendees on his cell phone while driving around the city.

Vrdolyak’s attorneys released handwritten log-sheets Wednesday, the Tribune reported. The sheets showed Vrdolyak had logged 1,750 hours for a DuPage County charity that works with police to help children and veterans, largely through phone calls and “skull sessions” with donors, the Tribune reported.

Last year, Vrdolyak was sentenced to community service and five years’ probation by U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur, after pleading guilty to mail fraud in 2008.

Vrdolyak admitted to scheming with admitted thief and conman Stuart Levine to split a $1.5 million payoff to arrange the sale of a Gold Coast building belonging to Smithfield Properties, eliminating other possible bidders. The building had belonged to the former Chicago Medical School.

But after prosecutors complained, an appeals court threw the sentence out. Vrdolyak is due for resentencing Friday, and prosecutors are seeking 3 1/2 years in prison.

Vrdolyak was alderman of the 10th Ward on the Southeast Side from 1971 to 1986, and was also the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. He led the bloc of 29 aldermen forces that battled the late Mayor Harold Washington during Chicago’s “Council Wars” era in the 1980s.

Vrdolyak later switched parties and ran for mayor unsuccessfully as a Republican. He was also a key adviser to former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, who was convicted in a scheme to loot the western suburb’s treasury.