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Is Alvarez, State Police playing hot potato with Koschman case?

Cook County State's Attorney AnitAlvarez . | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez . | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 23, 2011 4:05PM

The Koschman Case . . .

Let’s back up.

Sneed smells the whiff of a hot potato toss.

† To wit: Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been reported as saying she is “surprised and disappointed” the Illinois State Police have done an about face — and decided NOT to investigate the 2004 homicide case of David Koschman, which involved Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, a nephew of Mayor Daley.


† To wit: Alvarez knew before she tossed the case to the Illinois State Police that within a short period of time (weeks) the new head of the Illinois State Police was going to be one of her top investigators, Hiram Grau, a highly respected former Chicago deputy police superintendent.

† To wit II: Alvarez also knew Grau intended to recuse himself from the Koschman case. Grau had been deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department’s bureau of investigative services, which oversees all detectives, when the Koschman case became a homicide probe in 2004. (Sneed hears, however, Grau may have been on furlough during the time of the initial Koschman police probe.)

† Sneed’s question: Why so surprised, Anita, at the Illinois State Police suddenly pulling out? Was this a case of a hot potato being tossed in someone else’s “in-basket” knowing Grau could not run an office effectively when his staff is investigating any role he may have played — or not have played — in the Koschman case?

“There is no smell of burnt potato,” said Dan Kirk, Alvarez’s chief of staff.

“Everything happened very quickly,” Kirk told Sneed. “We were not trying to pass the hard ball. We were just trying to push the ball down the court. And there is no logical reason the Illinois State Police are not proceeding with this investigation.

“Hiram [Grau] still is not in charge of the Illinois State Police — and they certainly had enough time during the past few weeks to re-interview witnesses and finish their probe before he [Grau] got there.”

† Hmmm. Is the real reason the Illinois State Police opted out of the Koschman probe because Gov. Quinn is trying his hand at the legendary political potato toss?

† Conclusion: Thank goodness city Inspector General Joe Ferguson has the guts to tackle this case — and has an oven mitt tough enough to withstand the heat of what has become one of the hottest political potatoes in town.

Evict ’em . . .

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office has evicted building tenants for unpaid tabs.

But dead bodies???

† Translation: Dart has been ordered to evict the operators of a funeral home in the western suburbs later this month, who have not paid the building’s owner more than $31,000 in back rent.

† Buckshot: “We never know what we will find in an eviction — this one included,” said a Dart source. “But we are working closely with the medical examiner to coordinate plans in advance [in case any bodies are still at the funeral home.]”


Gery & Rahm . . .

The epilogue: Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel met with his former opponent Gery Chico Tuesday morning at Rahm’s downtown office for the pair’s first face-to-face talk since the election. “They had a productive conversation about a broad range of things,” said a source.

† Translation: Chico requested the meeting.

This & That . . .

. . .from here and there.

The women’s room: Former first lady Laura Bush claims her favorite Democrat is Hillary Clinton — and the two stay in contact with each other.

Obamarama . . .

. . .and a Messina memo: Jim Messina, 41, who is running President Obama’s re-election campaign based in Chicago, has nearly 4,300 songs on his iPod.

Femme Fodder . . .

France’s first lady Carla Bruni, wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, has decided to put her husband’s career before her own by confirming that she will delay the launch of her new album until after next year’s French presidential election, according to the French press.

Isn’t that special.

Sneedlings . . .

Today’s birthdays: Candace Cameron Bure, 35; Zach Braff, 36; Paul Rudd, 42; Marilu Henner, 59; John Ratzenberger, 64; Merle Haggard, 74; Billy Dee Williams, 74 and Karen Stefani, ageless.

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