February 19, 2014

USA: Former Chicago Democratic Alderman Ambrosio Medrano Was Sentenced To 10 1/2 Year In Prison For His Role In A Bribery Scheme Corruption. NEXT!

Give me a break. Don't be fooled. He's only sorry that he got caught. Why do you keep voting these crooks back into office?! They are robbing from you and your community.
In the video, Dan Mihalopolous sits down with Ambrosio Medrano, who has been convicted on corruption charges for a third time and sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison.
[source: The City of Chicago's Official Site]

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The Chicaco Tribune
written by Jason Meisner
Friday January 10, 2014

Even in a state known for political corruption, disgraced former Chicago Ald. Ambrosio Medrano entered new territory Friday as a federal judge sentenced him to 10 1/2 years in prison for a bribery scheme to influence a bandage contract at Stroger Hospital.

In handing down one of the stiffest prison terms for a public corruption case in Illinois history, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said it was "shocking" that Medrano would return to feed at the public trough after already spending time behind bars for bribery as an alderman in the 1990s.

"At some point you'd think that the message would get through," Feinerman said.

Medrano, one of six aldermen to go down in Chicago's infamous Operation Silver Shovel probe two decades ago, pleaded guilty last year to scheming with former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno and others to steer a contract for Dermafill medical bandages to a particular company in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

Next week, Medrano is scheduled to be sentenced on a third conviction for plotting with a Nebraska businessman to pay off a Los Angeles official for a mail-order pharmaceutical contract with the Cook County hospital system.

He faces up to five additional years behind bars in that case, though the sentence could also run concurrently to the one imposed by Feinerman. Either way, Medrano — who at the time of the latest crimes was working as an aide to Moreno — is believed to be the first public official in the state to be convicted of three separate public fraud schemes.

At the end of the nearly three-hour sentencing hearing, Medrano, 60, issued a tearful apology to his family and supporters for the "most disappointing and disgraceful position" in which he found himself.

"I wish I could go back in time to correct my wrongs, but that is impossible," Medrano said.

His son, Ambrosio Medrano Jr., who was a teenager when his father went to prison the first time, made an anguished, impromptu statement about the agony of seeing his father facing prison again.

"I wouldn't trade my father for anyone else," the son, now a 35-year-old cement mixer for the city's Department of Transportation, said while gasping for breath. "We all make mistakes, some on a more grand scale than others."

Seated a few feet away at the defense table, the elder Medrano put his head down, then swiveled in his chair and faced the other way and appeared to wipe tears from his eyes.

Like the Silver Shovel probe, Medrano's recent convictions stemmed from a lengthy federal investigation in which the government used a mole — in this case, Michael DiFoggio, a Bridgeport businessman with tax troubles who was a pal of Medrano's — and an undercover FBI agent to snag a number of targets, including Moreno. DiFoggio committed suicide in October.

In arguing for a lengthy sentence, prosecutors cited undercover recordings in which Medrano sounded "ecstatic" over the windfall he expected from the corrupt deals, which he wanted to use to buy a vacation home in the tropics.

In the conversation that came to define the case, Medrano gleefully agreed with Moreno about the importance of staying under the radar because, in Moreno's words, "hogs get slaughtered, pigs get fat."

"(Medrano) got back into government so he could, in his own words, strive to be a pig," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stetler said in court Friday.

Moreno has pleaded guilty in the case as well as to two other fraud schemes and faces up to 17 1/2 years in prison. His first sentencing is set for Feb. 19.

A longtime fixture in Chicago's Pilsen community, Medrano was a protege of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and was considered a rising Latino political star when he was elected to the City Council in 1991.

After Medrano went to prison, his wife, Mireya, quietly was given a job as a staff assistant in Daley's administration. When he was released, Medrano twice tried to re-enter political life, but both times was ruled ineligible because of a state law barring convicted felons from running for office.

In comments to the court Friday, Medrano's wife called her husband a good family man and blasted the government for likening him to a pig. "You should be ashamed of yourselves," she said, glaring at prosecutors.

Despite Medrano's previous conviction, the judge said he did not believe Medrano deserved as much prison time as former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years for crimes that included the attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat.

Instead, Feinerman noted that Medrano was just another one of an untold number of Chicago politicians who've had their hands out over the years. To drive home his point, the judge quoted a 1967 column by Chicago newspaper legend Mike Royko that proposed changing the city's official motto from Urbs in horto, or "City in a Garden," to Ubi est Mea, or "Where's mine?"

"He knew better," the judge said of Medrano.

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