A Chicago Tribune editorial earlier this month brought back memories of former Secretary of State Paul Powell.
He died in 1970, reportedly which making love with his mistress in Michigan.
When I got to Springfield in 1973, I was told that he owned a steak house on Sixth Street that, where under a different name, politicians still ate.
The Mansion View Motel, across from the Governor’s Mansion, was also said to be owned by Powell.
Secretary of State’s employees visiting Springfield were supposedly told to stay there.
When his Capitol desk drawer was opened by staffers of the successor Governor Richard Ogilvie appointed there were checks made out to “Paul Powell.”
It didn’t take much imagination to conclude that Powell probably cashed such checks and kept the money.
But what members of the public remember is that there was a shoe box full of money in his St. Nicholas Hotel room.
That same hotel had a French restaurant for a time in the mid-70’s.
Eating with then-State Rep. Brian Duff (who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State against Charles Carpentier, Jr.) we talked to a local FBI agent.
He told us that most involved in the investigation thought the money found in the shoe box was but a small portion of the cash that was in Powell’s hotel room, that most had been taken by Powell staffers, that they had left but a part of it in the shoe box to make it seem that the rest had not been taken.