Saturday, January 13, 2007

Troutman should resign

Chicago Alderman Arenda Troutman D-20th was taken into custody by Federal Agents on Monday, Jan. 8 on charges of bribery. The FBI agents where forced to break into Troutman's home because she refused to answer the door, upon entering the home agents discovered that Troutman's paper shredder was warm from recent use.
The charges stem from Ald. Troutman's involvement with a fictitious real estate developer who had solicited the Alderman's help in the rezoning of a piece of property. In exchange for her support Troutman allegedly received $5,000, a promise of another $10,000, an additional $5,000 campaign contribution, and the promise of a unit in the development once completed. Troutman is free on a $10,000 bond and has declined resign or end her bid for re-election.

Since her appointment to the Chicago City Council in 1990 Troutman has been no stranger to controversy. In 2003 she reportedly accepted a $12,000 bribe from a developer who is now cooperating with investigators, the following year she was questioned about what her siblings described as a romantic relationship with gang leader and wanted fugitive Donnell Jehan after a raid on a drug ring revealed that Troutman had leaked sensitive police information to Jehan, Troutman has been criticized for arranging city jobs for relatives and for the $1.1 million her family raked in from the scandal-ridden Hired Truck Program despite a policy that forbid relatives of city officials from participating in the program.

Even if Ald. Troutman is innocent, which seems unlikely now considering she was recorded asking "What do I get out of it." her legal problems will be a distraction that will keep her from her job. The best thing Troutman could do for her district is to resign and let somebody else take over her seat.

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