CHICAGO (STMW) — A contractor who hid the ownership stake two of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s closest relatives had in a sewer company that got millions of dollars worth of city business was sentenced Wednesday to 17 months in prison.
Anthony Duffy, 49, deliberately left out the names of Daley’s son Patrick Daley and nephew Robert Vanecko when he listed all of the owners of his business, Municipal Sewer Service, in financial disclosure forms he filed with City Hall in 2003, and then he lied about it in an FBI interview.
If that silent omission was at the heart of the case, the former mayor’s connection to it was the elephant in the room during the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Though Judge Milton Shadur found time during the two-and-a-half hour hearing to discuss philosopher Immanuel Kant, biblical King Solomon and historic British court practices, the former mayor himself was only referred to obliquely.
Duffy’s deception was motivated by “political concerns, because the media would become involved” and was not done with the “intent of concealing any crime,” Duffy’s attorney, John Meyer, said in one of several coded references to Mayor Daley.
Neither the former mayor nor his relatives has been accused of any crime.
As part of his plea deal, Duffy previously admitted — though was not convicted of — benefitting from a minority contracting scam on the city, under which MSS carried out work bid for by Jesse Brunt, a black businessman who acted as a front and has yet to be sentenced.
The sentencing comes about six years after the Sun-Times revealed the hidden stake that Daley’s family members had in the company.
In an impassioned speech to the judge Wednesday, Duffy admitted his guilt but said he hadn’t initially known about the Daley family’s involvement in his business and was told “it was above my pay grade” when he discovered it and quizzed another business partner, Joseph McInerney.
Duffy said he didn’t “give a rat’s ass” about his reputation but added he was “disgusted” that city of Chicago lawyers had written to the court asking for a stiff sentence when the city “knew what [Brunt] was up to but gave him the contract anyway.”
Shadur said it was “extraordinarily troubling” that the city had made basic factual errors in its letter about what Duffy did — and did not — do.
He rejected prosecutors’ request for a sentence of a long as three-and-a-half years, but said a prison sentence was necessary to deter others from city contract fraud and warned that Duffy, who is Scottish, may be deported.
Speaking outside court, Meyer denied Duffy was taking the fall for the Daley family.
Though the minority deal went through “on a wink and a nod … the mayor, of course, didn’t have anything to do with this contract,” he said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)