ILLINOIS CORRUPTION-FITZGERALD'S SUCCESSOR
New federal prosecutor nominated for Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) - The Obama administration has named a private attorney and former federal prosecutor to head the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the nomination of Zachary Fardon today. He would replace Patrick Fitzgerald, who stepped down last summer to enter private practice. Fitzgerald rose to national prominence during more than a decade in the office and successfully convicted two Illinois governors.
The U.S. Senate must confirm the nomination.
The post is widely regarded as Chicago's second-most powerful job, after the mayor. The chief prosecutor and around 170 assistant attorneys also have an impact beyond Illinois, including by handling major terrorism cases.
Fardon is partner at the Chicago law office of a major law firm. His job experience includes working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago.
Sponsor: Gambling talks bill in final negotiations
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The new sponsor of a plan to expand Illinois' gambling says legislation proposing five new casinos is in final negotiations.
Democratic Rep. Bob Rita said today that talks are "advancing rapidly." The bill cleared the Senate and awaits a House vote. Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed two gaming bills but says he's open to a bill with ethical protections and money for schools.
Rita didn't say when a vote was expected. Lawmakers adjourn May 31.
The bill proposes casinos in Chicago, Rockford, Danville, Chicago's south suburbs and Lake County. Rita of Blue Island says a south suburban casino is priority because it'll be an economic starter for the region.
Rita became sponsor after Democratic Rep. Lou Lang removed his name over a "perceived" conflict of interest.
CHIEF ILLINIWEK RESOLUTION
UofI group says Chief Illiniwek part of past
URBANA, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois' Senate Executive Committee has approved a resolution supporting the end of use of Chief Illiniwek.
The News-Gazette reports that the group approved the nonbinding resolution yesterday. The group includes faculty, students and academic professionals. The resolution was brought up in response to an effort by former portrayers of the mascot to bring back a modified Chief Illiniwek.
Chancellor Phyllis Wise has said Chief Illiniwek is a part of the school's past, not future.
The university stopped using the mascot in 2007 under pressure from the NCAA. Some American Indians consider the mascot and the dances it performed at sports events offensive.
Pritzker's ties to thrift, tax haven eyed
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of commerce is facing scrutiny in the Senate for her ties to a subprime mortgage lender that failed in 2001 and as a beneficiary of family offshore trusts in the Bahamas.
Billionaire business executive Penny Pritzker of Chicago is a longtime Obama friend who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for both of his presidential campaigns.
The Pritzker family had co-ownership of Superior Bank, a Chicago-area thrift which failed after losing millions of dollars on risky mortgage loans to borrowers with bad credit. Pritzker told the Senate Commerce Committee today that she regretted the failure of the thrift.
The Commerce post has been vacant since John Bryson resigned last summer. Forbes estimates Pritzker's net worth at $1.85 billion.
BODIES IN CAR
Bodies of 2 men found in car in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) - Autopsies are planned on the bodies of 2 men who were found inside a car in Chicago's South Side.
Police officers found the bodies yesterday in the West Englewood neighborhood. One was in the vehicle's back seat and one in the trunk.
The Cook County medical examiner says autopsies were being conducted today. The office has not released the names of the men, but Myrtis Price tells the Chicago Sun-Times that 1 of the men was her grandson, Antwone Price.
She says she was shown a photograph of her grandson and it appears he'd been beaten. Authorities have also said at least 1 of the men's hands were bound and that the two men may have been shot. Police say no arrests have been made.
Ex-cellmate testifies at Beason murder trial
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A former cellmate has testified at the trial of an Illinois man charged with beating five members of a Beason family to death with a tire iron.
Ty Cline testified this morning in Peoria at Christopher Harris' trial. Harris is accused of killing Rick and Ruth Gee and 3 of their children in 2009. Cline and Harris were cellmates at the Logan County jail. Cline says Harris told him he used a tire iron to kill the family because he didn't want any witnesses. Cline also says Harris told him he "snapped" and killed the whole family.
Cline is serving a 30-year sentence for murder in a maximum-security prison. He testified as part of a deal with prosecutors for transfer to a medium security prison.
Harris has pleaded not guilty.
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