Never would I have expected Gary Fears to show up in a Chicago Tribune article about the FBI tapes of Danny Solis that led to the investigation about Alderman Ed Burke.
But go enough inches into the story and there he is.
I first ran into Gary Fears while he was a rest stop inspector in Dan Walker’s Department of Transportation.
He was a poltical operative, whose job could put him in most parts of the state.
Tom Frost, my intern at the time, went to IDOT headquarters and examined Fears’ time cards.
When he ran out of vacation, personal and sick days, I put pressure on Transportation Secretary Langhorne Bond and Fears went off the payroll.
One of my Democratic Party colleagues, Hal Byers, asked me at some point why I was hounding Fears.
From Edwardsville, Fears eventually got a state loan to build a Holiday Inn.
I think it can bee seen from I-55.
That was at the same tie that Bill Cellini got a loan to build his hotel next to Springfield’s convention center.
Here’s what triggered my memory:
“He had also sought to bring in Gary Fears, a wealthy businessman and former transportation official under Gov. Dan Walker who had connections with potential investors in the Middle East, according to testimony from the suit.
“But deals with the Jacksons and Fears never panned out. Gordon Wright, an experienced hedge fund operator with UBS O’Connor LLC, served as the firm’s chief executive, and Hynes also tapped his friend Jon Bauman, who stepped down from his role running the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois to line up pension investment opportunities, records show…
“Hynes also arranged for a $160,000 loan for Solis from Fears. Solis needed the cash to ‘retire a debt on a property,’ the affidavit said.”