Judge Sends Troutman to “Hall of Shame”

Former alderman found guilty on fraud charges

Despite a tearful plea for mercy, proclaiming she's "no monster," former Ald. Arenda Troutman was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison on mail fraud and tax fraud charges that were part of a corruption investigation.

An emotional Troutman hung her head and apologized to her ward, the city, and for bringing "shame" to her family.

When she was arrested two years ago, her lawyer promised she would be vindicated.

"These are accusations which, in my opinion, are being made by someone who's going to turn out to be very incredible," attorney Sam Adam, Jr. said in January 2007.

Instead, Troutman on Tuesday became the latest Chicago alderman to take the long walk at the federal courthouse. She was sentenced to four years in prison for taking thousands of dollars in payoffs and campaign money from developers who wanted zoning changes and other favors in her 20th Ward.

"Listen, we've all made mistakes," said Troutman's attorney, Michael Gillespie. "I've made them. I'm sure you've made mistakes. And I'm sure you are all good people."

Standing before U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, Troutman pleaded for mercy.

"I've made some mistakes," Troutman sobbed. "I had friends of unsavory character. As God as my witness, I am no monster. And I have never helped criminals."

Castillo told the 17-year veteran of the Chicago City Council that he knew she wasn't a monster, but he disputed her claim that she didn't know that some of her associates were street gang members.

Troutman's one-time lover was a former federal fugitive, Donnell "Scandalous" Jehan, her partner in a crooked real estate deal.

During sentencing, Gillespie suggested his client was only guilty of getting caught up in the Chicago way of doing things in her blighted ward.

"She's been involved in the political process in Chicago for a very long time, and she did not create what occurred," Gillespie said.

Prosecutors had a message to other alderman who might find themselves caught in a similar situation.

"If she was doing whatever everyone else was doing, then we're going to be there for the other people who are still doing that, if they still are," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Alesia said.

Castillo told Troutman to report June 1 to start serving her sentence.

Read more in the Chicago Sun-Times.

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