February 10, 2008
BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist
Mayor Daley . . . grab the Excedrin!
Former City Clerk Jim Laski, who was sent to federal prison on corruption charges stemming from the Hired Truck scandal, is about to take you on a bumpy ride.
• • Translation: Laski, now free, has written a book, My Fall from Grace: City Hall to Prison Walls, in which he has some unkind words to say about Mayor Daley.
• • To wit: In the 419-page self-published book, Laski compares Daley to Capt. Queeg, the mentally unbalanced ship's captain in Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny.
• • Daley schmooze: In his book, Laski claims Daley invited him into his private City Hall conference room and asked if he'd heard "from anybody down the street." -- Hizzoner's reference to the feds -- during a probe of alleged time-sheet fraud at City Hall.
• • The upshot: When Laski said, "No!" Daley offered to give him some advice.
• • Quoth Laski: "He spoke quietly as if we were being bugged. He told me, in a very serious tone of voice, that, in order to survive in this business, I had to have a buffer.
"At that point, he reminded me of Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, when he warned me that everyone would be trying to get me, especially the press.
"He basically told me that I needed someone to protect me, and that where the buck would stop, everything would end there with that person.
"In my opinion, Daley was forever surrounding himself with his own personal buffers.
"Even today, I still hear the Mayor, over and over, pleading ignorance about the latest Chicago political scandal.
"I was in government service for about twenty-seven years, sixteen of those as an elected official, and, in my opinion, the mayor knows everything that goes on in City Hall."
• • The back shot: For more information, go to the Author House Web site, authorhouse .com, and to Laski's Web site, www.myfallfromgrace.com.