My first public meeting was in the Algonquin Township Garage.
It was about putting roads in the Silver Lakes, an unincorporated subdivision.
I was in college (1960-65) and my father suggested I might find it of interest.
Larry Lee was one of the leaders of the group seeking improved streets.
Lots of people seeking better roads.
Less than a decade later, the engineer at the meeting reminded me of his having been there.
We were both taking the train to Springfield during Governor Dan Walker’s term (1973-77).
The civil engineer told me he had been working for the Illinois Department of Transportation, but had been fired.
IDOT had contracted out the work he had been doing for more than his salary.
Victor deGrazia, Walker’s campaign manager and Deputy Governor, had called to tell him he could have his job back if he would pay some thousands of dollars. ($10,000, I think.)
The engineer was from India and I guess deGrazia thought he was vulnerable and without political clout.
When Amtrak arrived in Springfield, we walked to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the engineer told his story again.
Later I was told the engineer was wired, but never got Victor deGrazia to incriminate himself.
Subsequently, Illinois First Auditor General, Bob Cronson, proposed an audit of IDOT.
Discussion at the Legislative Audit Commission revolved around the possible selling of contracts.
I suggested that the scope contained in the resolution presented would not discover hanky-panky.
Compare the dates of contract lettings with those of campaign contributions, I suggested.
The next month, Cronson returned with a modified resolution.
When the audit was completed, the conclusion was that there was a statistically significant relationship between the contributions and many contract lettings.
I immediately called the U.S. Attorney and suggested they obtain the working papers for the audit.
The FBI did so that day, but no indictments resulted.
Unfortunately, the FBI never contacted me.
I could have pointed them to holdovers from the Richard Ogilvie administration who could have led them to relevant evidence.
Remembering the past history is good, but let’s examine current corruption more because that is causing problems now.
That was a good day’s work, Cal.