Study Ranks Chicago as Most Crooked City in America, Illinois as Third Most Corrupt State

Study Ranks Chicago as Most Crooked City in America University of Illinois at Chicago/Anti-Corruption Report Number 10

Chicago is most corrupt city in America and Illinois is the third most crooked state, according to a report released by the University of Illinois at Chicago last week.

The university’s Political Science Department released the report Tuesday and noted the issue of corruption will play a significant role in the gubernatorial, mayoral and aldermanic elections in 2018. Copies of the report were sent to all of the major declared candidates in addition to its availability on the UIC website.

"Despite the decline, public corruption remains unacceptably high in our city and state," said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at UIC, former Chicago Alderman, and lead author of the report. "Our undesirable reputation for corruption -- unfortunately -- is still intact."

According to the report, which cites U.S. Department of Justice figures, there were 30 public corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois—which includes the city of Chicago. The rest of the state only had five public corruption convictions, the report found.

"Few city agencies or state government offices have been free of scandal and public corruption," said Simpson, who served two terms (1971-79) as Alderman from Chicago's 44th Ward. "Since I served in City Council, 35 aldermen or former aldermen have been convicted of crimes such as bribery, extortion, fraud, ghost payrolling, conspiracy, and income tax evasion, and three others were indicted but died before going to trial."

New York, California, Texas, and Florida each have more public corruption convictions than Illinois. The populations of those states are much larger than Illinois' so they rank lower than Illinois on a per capita basis, the report says.

"Chicago's public corruption highlights in 2016, or lowlights if you prefer to be realistic, include bribery, rigged multi-million dollar contracts and double billing," the report states, before listing several high-profile corruption cases in the city.