August 31, 2011. Channahon, Ill. Make no mistake about it, when Federal authorities swooped down and arrested Channahon Mayor Joe Cook yesterday, it was yet another grand example of how high and how far the power of the Chicago Democratic Machine goes. It was exactly one week ago that this column detailed how Chicago businesses were opening ‘front’ offices in Channahon and Kankakee just to avoid paying Chicago sales tax. Not only an outrage, but a major embarrassment to newly elected Mayor Emanuel, the vengeance of the Machine was swift and mighty.
With this being an ‘independent’ column, your author has no problem ignoring any chance of the timing of this bust being a mere coincidence. And the fact that it was Federal authorities using their might on behalf of the city of Chicago shouldn’t be a cause for disbelief either. Remember Miriam Santos, Soldier Field and a dozen other examples? And let’s not forget the recent Bill Daley – Rahm Emanuel White House switcheroo.
Today, Federal agents arrested Channahon Mayor Joe Cook for not filing Federal income taxes. In total, Cook was charged with six misdemeanors for failure to file between 2005 and 2008.
The Chicago Tribune quoted Steven Blanc, tax attorney and teacher at Northern Illinois University, suggesting political motivations as well, “This is a typical example of an individual, and there are zillions of them out there, who didn’t file returns. The only reason he’s being (criminally) charged is because he is a public official, and they get a lot of bang for their buck.”
Last week, Mayor Cook defended Channahon’s practice of taking Chicago sales tax and sometimes even kicking back some to the businesses that set up ‘front’ offices and storefront. By routing all sales from their Chicago locations through Channahon, they can charge Chicago residents Channahon’s much lower sales tax rate, even when the sale is taking place inside Chicago. Read the August 23 issue of this column titled, ‘Emanuel, RTA Target Corporate Tax Dodgers’ for more information.
In that column, Channahon Mayor Joe Cook is quoted defending their practice saying, “It built our village hall, which is not the Taj Mahal,but is very functional. And we’ve had some updates to our waste treatment plant and facilities. I don’t begrudge any community that’s going out to grab any dollar they can. When it all comes down to it, local government tends to be very parochial.”
Seven days later, Joe Cook was under arrest.