For the last few weeks, Frank Avila, the lawyer and political activist, has been bugging me to give him credit for being right about how Al Sanchez and the Hispanic Democratic Organization “pimped” other Latino leaders.

I said wait till he gets convicted.

Well, the jury’s in and the verdict is guilty. So, OK, Mr. Avila, you’ve been hammering Sanchez and the HDO for almost a decade, and I can say that you were right.

The most insulting part of Sanchez’s defense was his claim that he was somehow or other doing his political shenanigans to empower Latinos. Please–the Hispanic Democratic Organization was all about empowering Mayor Daley, even if it meant plowing over Hispanic politicians. If anything, Sanchez and the HDO undercut the community’s empowerment. They drove former state senator Jesus Garcia out of office and have pretty much rendered too many other Hispanic elected officials afraid to speak up.

Not that I’m picking on Hispanic politicians. You can say the same thing about black and white officials, and they didn’t even have HDO to worry about. So what’s their excuse?