CHICAGO (STMW) – A day after he was indicted on federal tax evasion charges, Cook County Commissioner William Beavers had a message for U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
“F— him,” Beavers said.
Beyond saying he doesn’t “give a f—” about the federal prosecutor, the outspoken Beavers also insisted he has done nothing wrong and said he will not step down from public office.
“I’ll be right in there at next week’s meeting and intend to stay — I’m not going nowhere,” Beavers told the Sun-Times Friday, referring to next Thursday’s County Board meeting.
That could get interesting.
Beavers claims the federal case was launched in retaliation for his refusing an FBI request to “wear a wire on John Daley” a fellow commissioner and brother of former Mayor Daley.
Thursday’s meeting could be one of the first times the two appear in public together since Beavers’ indictment and jaw-dropping claim.
Asked why FBI agents wanted him to record conversations with Daley, Beavers told the Sun-Times: “How do I know? I don’t know. I don’t even know John Daley that well. I told them I’m too old to be a stool pigeon. S—.”
On Friday, Beavers said, “I don’t have no problems with John Daley, and he don’t have no problems with me.” He pooh-poohed reports that the two are long-time enemies.
For his part, Daley says there’s nothing to Beavers’ statements and that the 77-year-old former Chicago alderman is trying to turn the spotlight elsewhere.
During a Thursday news conference Fitzgerald declined to comment on Beavers’ claim, but cautioned reporters not to read anything into that.
“It would be entirely unfair to read into my non-comment,” Fitzgerald said. “If you asked me whether or not he was indicted because he failed to wear a wire on the Pope, I’d say the same thing. We don’t comment on people not charged.”
Fitzgerald did lay out the indictment against Beavers, alleging he failed to pay taxes on money he took from his campaign funds and his county expense account to go gambling and to boost his city pension.
The crime was not taking the money — it was failing to report it and pay taxes on it when he converted it to personal use, Fitzgerald said.
But a defiant Beavers said Friday he doesn’t care what Fitzgerald says and that he’ll be working with attorneys Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. — the father-son team who represented Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his first trial on corruption charges.
“I don’t give a f— about Fitzgerald. F— him,” Beavers said. “I ain’t goin’ nowhere. That’s why I got an attorney, so I can fight this s—.”
Several of Beavers’ board colleagues said there’s no reason he would have to step down from office.
“In this country, you’re entitled to a trial in a courtroom, not in a court of public opinion,” said Commissioner John Fritchey. “I can’t imaging any push to have someone give up their seat, based on the facts so far.”
Under Illinois law, an elected official convicted of a felony or other serious crimes would lose their position.
If for any reason Beavers cannot finish out his term, the Democratic committeemen who control the wards in his district would vote on his replacement, perhaps one of themselves.
But Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), who controls one of the largest shares of the weighted vote, said committeemen have not started talking about that and won’t.
“Beavers could still win this thing or could drag it out long enough that that’s irrelevant,” Brookins said. “It still could be pled down to a misdemeanor.”
Reminded that Beavers talked about moving from the City Council to the County Board because he wanted to do less work, Brookins laughed and said if he someday moved to replace Beavers on the County Board, “I would be able to concentrate on my law practice.”
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