Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chicago $cammers

Let's $tart at the top:

"Chicago mayor says property taxes must rise to meet shortfall" by Sophia Tareen Associated Press  September 22, 2015

CHICAGO — After watching for years as their city’s financial troubles piled up, Chicago
homeowners will be told this week that it’s time for them to start paying the tab.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to propose a large increase in property taxes to help eliminate billions of dollars in pension and other municipal debt and to repair the school system’s low credit rating. Residents also may face more taxes and fees on garbage collection, sugary drinks, and other services.

The steps would help reverse the city’s financial slide but could dent Chicago’s reputation for a relatively affordable cost of living. Median home prices in the nation’s two larger cities, New York and Los Angeles, are double Chicago’s.

‘‘There’s no way around it,’’ said Alderman George Cardenas of the additional taxes. ‘‘If we don’t face the consequences, you pay more [later], your children will pay more, and that’s no way to run a city.’’

RelatedChicago mayor says massive property tax hike is a ‘last resort’

So where has all the God-damn money gone anyway?

It’s unclear how residents and businesses will respond. Emanuel has faced raucous crowds at public budget hearings, but the political fallout for the former chief of staff to President Obama could be delayed because he doesn’t face reelection until 2019.

Yeah, they won't remember, nor will his opponent (if any).

Some homeowners, landlords, and business owners complain they already pay more than other cities in gasoline prices, sales taxes, and parking. Chicago’s sales tax rate is 10.25 percent, the nation’s highest.

‘‘Paying for picking up garbage? That’s ridiculous. That’s what my taxes are for,’’ said
homeowner James Young, 48, a textile company worker. ‘‘Your pay check doesn’t increase every time the taxes increase.’’

However, there have been few signs the proposal would fail in the City Council, which has largely been a rubber stamp for the mayor.

Chicago’s property tax rates rank 12th nationwide, higher than Los Angeles and New York, but higher property values in those cities mean property owners pay thousands more a year, according to a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy study.

Laurence Msall, executive director of the Civic Federation, a tax and policy research organization, said the key will be convincing Chicago residents that the additional revenue will be used correctly.

‘‘One of the biggest problems is not the tax increase but the reaction to the tax increase,’’ Msall said. ‘‘If people don’t think we’re going to solve things, they will leave.’’

The financial problems have been mounting because of inadequate contributions to the pension system and questionable borrowing, mostly under then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Chicago has the worst-funded public pension system of any major US city and a budget shortfall of at least $750 million. Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, has even suggested that the city school district declare bankruptcy. 

Yeah, the pensions are a problem (thank Wall $treet).

Emanuel has cut government costs and sought other ways to raise revenues, such as bringing casino gambling to the city, but without success.

It's called paying more for less, and I don't think casinos are the answer.

Emanuel’s office has yet to release details of the new tax proposals, which will be presented Tuesday. Aldermen say the property tax increase could be from $450 million to $550 million, or roughly a 60 percent increase in the city’s portion of the bill. It could cost a resident with a $250,000 home about $500 more.

Chicago saw property taxes rise in 2008, but the last major increase was in 1987.

Yeah, you were all due for an increase anyway!

The revenue push comes as Emanuel attempts to strike a softer image, conceding during his re-election campaign earlier this year that his bullish style turned off some people. The mayor dropped hints that he’ll seek property tax exemptions for low income and elderly residents. But state approval is needed for the tax increase and exemptions.

The Mossad mole of the Clinton White House is a bully?

‘‘We are going to address our challenges, and I think when the governor looks at the whole budget he will see that we didn’t leave any stone unturned,’’ Emanuel said. ‘‘It is fair, it is equitable. It’s progressive.’’


Time to say bye-bye to Chicago (they need money for what again?).

"Scammer tricks US lawmakers on app" by Christie Smythe Bloomberg News  September 16, 2015

NEW YORK — Even the best of us can be duped by a con artist, a fact revealed when two US lawmakers, including the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, were tricked into backing a scheme hatched by an Illinois man awaiting sentencing for fraud.

Representative Tammy Duckworth and Senator Richard Durbin, both Illinois Democrats, signed letters supporting a grant from the Education Department for the MyWings Foundation, a purported charity focused on helping people with disabilities by providing tablets and software to them.

What they didn’t realize, according to prosecutors in Brooklyn, was that the person seeking money for MyWings was Howard Leventhal, who had pleaded guilty to federal charges for promoting a nonexistent device named after a ‘‘Star Trek’’ character.

Leventhal had concocted a new fake company and was looking for someone to give an air of authenticity to it, according to prosecutors.

Ben Marter, a spokesman for Durbin, said Leventhal ‘‘used a false name and misrepresented himself” to the senator’s staff to obtain the letter. Sarah Keep, a spokeswoman for Duckworth, said the defendant also contacted her office under false pretenses.

‘‘We hope justice will be served in this case,’’ Keep said.

Leventhal, 59, admitted in 2013 to wire fraud for cheating investors in a bogus ‘‘home health’’ computer tablet named after Leonard McCoy, the starship Enterprise’s doctor, played by DeForest Kelley.


It's not only some Jew in Chicago taking advantage of those who are disabled:

"Woman admits holding disabled people captive in fraud scheme" AP  September 10, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — A woman accused of keeping mentally disabled adults captive in the basement of a Philadelphia home and in other states for their disability checks has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in a deal that will spare her a possible death sentence.

Linda Weston, 55, entered the plea Wednesday to all 196 counts against her that also include kidnapping, racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering, hate crimes, sex trafficking, and fraud. Two women she held captive later died.

In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a life term in prison plus 80 years when she is sentenced Nov. 5. Her lawyers said she has long wanted to plead guilty in the case in the interest of her children.

Weston has been in custody since October 2011, when a landlord found four bedraggled adults locked in the boiler room of a home in the Tacony section of Philadelphia and called police. One man was found chained to a boiler.

Authorities say Weston used ‘‘cunning, trickery, force, and coercion’’ to get mentally disabled people to designate her as their caretaker, allowing her to illegally collect about $212,000 in Social Security payments over 10 years.

All I can think is how hateful (unless they had worked for the CIA; then the absolution could come).

They say Weston, her daughter, and three others confined the victims like ‘‘zoo animals,’’ often in the dark, in basements, attics, and closets.

Looks worse.

The victims were often sedated with drugs in their food, deprived of food and medical care, and forced to use buckets for bathrooms, authorities say.


Did any of them get a kiss from the Pope?

Also see
Report calls for research on how SSI funds are granted

There once was a girl named Rebecca Riley, and behold the lobbying power of the pharmaceuticals.