Reporting Mike Krauser
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Commissioner William Beavers will go on trial before the end of the year on federal tax invasion charges, alleging he failed to declare more than $200,000 in campaign funds as earnings.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, Beavers appeared in court Wednesday. and U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel — the same judge who put deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich in prison for 14 years — said the trial for Beavers would begin before the year’s end, according to published reports.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
Beavers comes from the old school of Chicago politics, and once declared, “I’m the hog with the big nuts.”
He insists he is square on his taxes and was indicted because he refused to wear a wire for county Commissioner John Daley (D-11th), the brother of retired Mayor Richard M. Daley. Beavers said he would not be a “stool pigeon.”
Beavers said the week after the feds approached him, he got a letter informing him he was being investigated on charges. But Daley denied that he was being investigated by the feds and said he didn’t know why Beavers would drag him into the case.
Asked about that, soon-to-retire U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald would not comment, but said it would be unfair to read anything into that. He said he likewise would decline comment if a reporter asked whether Beavers was indicted or not because he failed to wear a wire on the Pope.
Beavers is charged with three counts of filing false federal income tax returns, and one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service.
Beavers said the week after the feds approached him, he got a letter informing him he was being investigated on charges. But Daley denied that he’s being investigated by the feds and said he didn’t know why Beavers would drag him into the case.
The indictment alleges that, starting in January 2006, Beavers began writing himself checks from his campaign fund to use for personal purposes, including gambling. In all, he wrote approximately 100 checks to himself — $96,000 worth in 2006; $69,300 worth in 2007; and $61,000 worth in 2008. He also allegedly used his campaign workers to prepare false campaign finance reports to falsify records about those checks to himself and disguise them as legitimate campaign expenditures.
Beavers allegedly used one of those checks — for $68,763.07 — to boost his city pension fund in order to get a larger cash annuity when he retired from the City Council.
Prosecutors also claim, after he became a county commissioner, Beavers used his $1,200 monthly county expense account for personal reasons, without reporting any of the money as income on his federal income tax returns.
Beavers pleaded not guilty to the charges in early March and called Fitzgerald “worse than J. Edgar Hoover.”
Beavers represented the South Side’s 7th Ward in the City Council from 1983 to 2006, and long served as powerful chairman of the City Council Budget Committee under former Mayor Daley, exerting a great deal of control over the city’s purse strings.