Nearly a year after he sentenced Edward Vrdolyak to 18 months behind bars for tax evasion, a federal judge has ordered the once-powerful Chicago alderman to report to prison at the end of the month.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow told lawyers last year “I am not going to send Mr. Vrdolyak to prison during COVID.” He later told the 83-year-old former politician to report to prison last June.
But concerns over Vrdolyak’s health amid the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately kept Vrdolyak out of prison — until now. His lawyers argued last spring “he could die” if put behind bars before the virus was under control, and Dow said he wanted to make sure Vrdolyak went to the proper facility.
In his order Monday, Dow told Vrdolyak to self-surrender to a federal medical center in Rochester, Minnesota. He said officials there told him the facility, which has 24-hour nursing care and “ready access to Mayo Clinic,” could tend to Vrdolyak’s needs.
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Dow told Vrdolyak to self-surrender on Nov. 30.
Vrdolyak’s sentencing in December 2020 resolved a long-running tax case at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, which stemmed from Illinois’ big-time settlement with tobacco companies in the 1990s. Prosecutors said Vrdolyak struck a secret deal and made $12 million off the litigation without doing any work. Vrdolyak’s lawyers argued that he helped a law firm land a contract, and it was no secret.
But that was only a backdrop to the actual crime to which Vrdolyak pleaded guilty in March 2019: Helping fellow lawyer Daniel Soso dodge taxes.