Pots, Kettles, And Corruption

     Thanks to today’s Morning Report at AoSHQ, we have this bit of ludicrousness:

     The FBI is probing self-described “super mayor” Tiffany Henyard over mounting accusations of misconduct and misuse of office — as the Illinois attorney general shut down her charity Tuesday, The Post has learned.
     The eccentric mayor — whose face is plastered across billboards in tiny Dolton, Ill. — is accused of spending taxpayer money on lavish and unnecessary trips and forking over $1 million for a police detail, then using its members to retaliate against her perceived enemies.
     Lawrence Gardner, 57, said he visited an FBI office after Henyard shuttered his trucking business because he refused to renew a $3,500 political contribution.
     “The FBI came out and went to talk to me and I gave them all the paperwork that I had,” Gardner told The Post.
     The business owner said he made an initial donation to Henyard, but she demanded more.
     “I made the payment,” he said. “Then every year, she started coming and required the same thing, and we had a problem about that.”
     When he refused to give her campaign more money, officials claimed he was illegally selling alcohol out of his business and pulled his license, according to Gardner, who said the allegations against him were false.
     The FBI told Gardner it received scores of complaints against Henyard “but they were just starting an investigation,” he recalled.

     Let’s stipulate that the accusations against Henyard are accurate and valid. If so, it’s as blatant a case of corruption – extortion of a legitimate business using the licensing power – as any from the days of Tammany Hall. But to trust to the FBI for remediation? The FBI?!

     I don’t expect this to end well.


     Tell you a story, Gentle Reader. If you’ve wondered how I became the cockeyed optimist and infinitely trusting soul I am today, it will explain a lot.

     There was this company – call it X Corp – that made and sold advanced computer systems complete with tailored financial applications. It saw the Las Vegas casino business as a potential expansion of its market space. Its head honcho – call him Smith – approached the holding company that owned one of the larger casinos – call it Z Casino – and offered to automate the casino’s “marking system.” For those unfamiliar with the term, a casino’s marking procedures are how it handles the extension of credit to creditworthy gamblers.

     The head honcho of the holding company – call him Jones – was immediately interested. He knew that a lot of money seemed to “get lost” through the marking procedure. The system Smith pitched to him seemed like a solution. So they made a deal, and Smith immediately put the software warriors of X Corp to work on a system to automate Z Casino’s marking procedure.

     When the system was installed was when things got interesting.

     X Corp’s acceptance test procedure indicated that the system met its specification in all details. Even so, once installed at Z Casino, it seemed to fail more often than not: whether at recording the markers, or at tracking the payouts and paybacks, or when the batching / reporting system was triggered. Something was rotten in Denmark, but there appeared to be nothing wrong with the system itself.

     What was wrong, of course, was that the system was preventing casino employees from stealing. So they worked hard to make it fail.

     To shorten this story somewhat, everyone who worked at Z Casino was involved in stealing from the joint. The floor workers stole what they could; the supervisors demanded a piece of the floor workers’ take to remain complicit; and the top management took a piece of the supervisors’ rake-off as the price of letting the scam continue. The whole payroll was determined to see to it that X Corp’s marking system looked like a lemon to Jones and his inner circle of managers and advisors.

     In all probability, Jones knew what was going on. Even so, he wasn’t about to purchase the system so painstakingly developed for Z Casino. What, after all, would be the point? The loss of revenue to Jones’s holding company with X Corp’s system in place would likely be greater than if he permitted the status quo ante to resume. So the deal fell through. X Corp’s system was pulled, and Smith had to tell his troops their efforts had been for naught.


     The FBI, its motto notwithstanding, has become so corrupt in recent years that to set it to the investigation of lesser order corruption is absurd ab initio. The best possible outcome for the FBI’s investigation of Henyard and the city of Dolton would be for the Fibbies to go through the motions for a while, then give up and walk away. A worse outcome would be for the investigators to receive an ongoing piece of the action in exchange for a report that completely whitewashes Henyard. Things could get mighty expensive for Dolton’s residents after that.

     What was that you said? Did I work at X Corp? Why yes, I did, though not on the marking system. The debacle was in full swing during my tenure there. It had a bad effect on the software cadre’s morale. See why I became such a beacon of light and trust and unconditional love?