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11/11/2009

Caught on an Alderman's Wire?

Alderman Ike Carothers wore a wire.  When that news came out several months back it caused more than a few of Carothers' City Council colleagues, not to mention those in the business of making deals with City Hall, to search their memories.  What did I say to him? Was it being recorded? Could anything come back to hurt me?  I asked myself those exact same questions.


A year or two ago I was covering what we refer to as a "dog and pony show."  It was a news conference at McCormick Place where Mayor Daley talked up new security systems while surrounded by law enforcement types.  When the event was over, my photographer and I got separated and there wasn't a taxi to be found. Just then Alderman Carothers pulled up in his city-owned Crown Victoria and offered me a ride back downtown.  

No doubt we talked about Daley, exchanged the latest gossip and conspiracy theories, and perhaps even cracked a few inappropriate jokes.  Truth be told, I only have a vague recollection of what we talked about.  And that's what gnaws at me every time I read a new headline revealing new details of the secret recordings Carothers made: Was anything I said caught on tape?

My brother doesn't own land in Carothers' ward and I don't have a cousin with a concrete business in Bridgeport so I didn't broker any illegal deals with the Alderman in our short ride downtown.  However it's still unsettling to think federal agents may be playing and replaying tape recordings of private conversations.  If it's an unsettling feeling for me, imagine how the real back room dealers feel.

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