Sneed: Reynolds’ original downfall was telegraphed right here
By MICHAEL SNEED February 18, 2014 8:34PM
Mel Reynolds trial continues at Criminal Court
Updated: March 20, 2014 6:45AM
The Reynolds wrap . . .
An old Sneed nemesis just got zinged in Zimbabwe.
Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds, the man I outed in a blind item in my column nearly 20 years ago for allegedly having sex with and taking porno pix of a minor, was arrested in Zimbabwe and charged with possession of pornographic pictures, which are illegal in that country.
Reynolds, who had trouble earning big bucks in the U.S. after his jail stint, was apparently making hay in Zimbabwe.
In 1995, Reynolds went to jail for snapping pornographic photos and having sex with Beverly Heard, a 16-year-old campaign worker, whose testimony helped lose him the 2nd Congressional District seat he held from 1993-1995.
Heard told Sneed in an exclusive interview in 1995 she felt like she had been brainwashed by the Congressman. “I couldn’t say no,” she said. “He was very godlike. I looked up to him. He was so smart. He had all the answers.”
The rape case against Reynolds gained steam with a late-night tip to Sneed from a reliable source that Reynolds was being investigated for sexual misconduct.
So on June 8, 1994, Sneed wrote:
“Is it true there is another politician who may be in trouble with the law (besides Dan Rostenkowski). Does it involve a minor? Sneed hears the Cook County state’s attorney’s office received a phone call last week and a police report was subsequently filed. (The file was kept under lock and key.) If it’s true, it’s a shocker. If it’s false, it’s reprehensible. Stay tuned.”
That blind item prompted Reynolds to call the feds and local cops to see if he, in fact, was the politician being investigated.
Reynolds even called me, posing as one of his campaign managers, to testify to his innocence. The item also ended up being quoted in the police files on the Reynolds case — and gave then-Cook County State’s Attorney Jack O’Malley a migraine.
Later, while in jail, the feds hit Reynolds with campaign finance-related charges for improperly using his campaign fund.
In 2001, then-President Bill Clinton commuted Reynolds’ sentence to time served.
Wonder what Clinton thinks about his old pal now?
Guess what tony establishment for little girls has just re-applied for a liquor license for consumption on the premises?
◆ Answer: American Girl Place at 845 N. Michigan.
The ax cometh . . .
. . . again: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has been dusting and cleaning again with her pickax.
◆ To wit: Sneed is told Preckwinkle, who has been handing out “mysterious” pink slips to top staff lately, chose Valentine’s Day to fire Maureen O’Donnell, her bureau chief of Human Resources.
◆ Slapshot: “Preckwinkle called Maureen into her office on a day she had taken off from work and fired her on the spot without giving her a reason why,” said a source close to O’Donnell. “Maureen didn’t know what hit her, and she was escorted out of her office by the Sheriff’s police,” the source added. ”One of her assistants was also given the heave-ho.”
◆ Set shot: Preckwinkle’s office stated: “[O’Donnell] resigned her position as bureau chief of Human Resources. The administration is preparing for a transition within the department and we anticipate having a HR chief in place soon.”
◆Final shot: Were there problems with the labor unions?
Over & out . . .
Take ’em out!
Brit actor Damian Lewis is now telling the media how he found out his character was going to die on the hit TV show “Homeland.”
◆ To wit: During the show’s season three premiere, Lewis was foxy enough to ask a show exec if he should take out or leave in storage all the stuff he had in lockers where the show was being filmed.
◆ The response: Take it out.
Sneedlings . . .
Wednesday’s birthdays: Seal, 51; Jeff Daniels, 59, and Benicio del Toro, 47.