Now that Ward Room has revealed the names of the most corrupt public official in Illinois history, let’s look back at the entire list.
- 1. William Hale Thompson, Mayor of Chicago 1915-23, 1927-31. He gave Al Capone the run of the city!
- 2. Paul Powell, Illinois Secretary of State, 1965-70. After his death, a friend found $800,000 cash in his hotel room.
- 3&4. Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna and “Bathhouse” John Coughlin, 1st Ward aldermen. The “Lords of the Levee” took protection money from gamblers, pimps and saloon keepers.
- 5. George Ryan, Illinois Secretary of State, 1991-99, Governor of Illinois 1999-2003. His secretary of state’s office sold licenses for bribes, which ended up in his campaign fund. One of the purchasers caused an accident that killed six children.
- 6. Orville Hodge, Illinois Auditor of Public Accounts, 1953-56. Who’s in a better position to embezzle than the guy hired to watch out for embezzlers. Hodge stole $1.5 million, which he spent on a Rolls-Royce, a private jet and a hotel.
- 7. Otto Kerner, Governor of Illinois, 1963-68. The man known as “Mr. Clean” went to prison for accepting Arlington Park stock in exchange for racing dates and highway exits.
- 8. Len Small, Governor of Illinois, 1921-29. After Small was acquitted of embezzling $1 million, most of the jurors got state jobs.
- 9. William Lorimer, U.S. Senator, 1909-12. Lorimer bribed the General Assembly to send him to the U.S. Senate, which eventually sent him back.
- 10. Fred Roti, Chicago alderman, 1967-90. The Outfit’s man on the City Council.
- 11. S. Glenn Young, federal Prohibition agent. Helped the Ku Klux Klan take over “Bloody Williamson” county.
- 12. William Carothers, Chicago alderman, 1980-83. Not only was Carothers convicted of corruption, so was his son Isaac.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, is available on Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!