Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley on Thursday accused Gov. Pat Quinn of cronyism by appointing a pal to a transit board — but Daley, whose family name is so deeply embedded in Chicago’s culture of political back-scratching, ended up opening his own can of worms.
Daley held a news conference calling on Quinn to rescind his nomination of insider Frank Zuccarelli to the CTA Board, calling Zuccarelli a double dipper because he already holds a position as Thornton Township supervisor.
However, Bill Daley, the brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, refused to address the steady drumbeat of cronyism during his brother’s more than two decades as mayor, which included minority fraud contracts, the Hired Truck scandal and a patronage scandal to name a few. The former Mayor Daley had appointed both his patronage chief and his onetime chief of staff to the CTA board.
“I’m standing here as my own person,” Bill Daley responded. “You can make judgments about past administrations or relatives or whatever you want, but I’m telling you what I believe and how I will be a leader.”
When Bill Daley’s brother announced he was stepping down as Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel left his post as White House chief of staff to run for mayor of Chicago.
Bill Daley was then named White House chief of staff, a position he held for one year. Emanuel was later elected mayor.
Daley said he “wasn’t in a position” to raise concerns about corruption and patronage accusations during his brother’s tenure.
“I wasn’t in office,” Bill Daley said. “I wasn’t in a position to stand up and, you know, as a lawyer or as a banker. I was in the private sector, I was making a living in a very different way.”
Charges of corruption and cronyism were frequent at Richard M. Daley’s City Hall. For instance, the law firm of Daley & George — which once included the former mayor — emerged from relative obscurity to become the city’s preeminent zoning firm during Mayor Daley’s time in office.
Contributing: Fran Spielman