A friend showed me the article, “Backstabbers,” in your April 13, 2001, edition. Ordinarily I just ignore such stories. However, the part in this one referring to me just isn’t true, and it doesn’t make sense. Therefore, my response:
(Parenthetically, the writer’s aside that I “didn’t return phone calls for this story,” is a typical half-truth. The fact is that one phone call was left on my answering machine, saying only that Paul Newey told the caller some (unexplained) story and said that I could verify it. A name and telephone number was left for me to call the next day. But, having learned from newspaper writers not to trust newspaper writers, I did not return the call.)
Back to the main story. I never went anywhere with Paul Newey, and the meeting described in the article as having included me never occurred.
Besides, I was an ardent supporter of Sam Shapiro and was opposed to Dick Ogilvie. Had I any reliable information that would have aided Sam Shapiro or further exposed the corruption of other political figures in Cook County, I wouldn’t have hesitated to make as much vociferous use of it as possible–especially if it might have helped elect Sam Shapiro, who I believe to have been an honest man.
I never knew Ben Adamowski personally, but consider him a cut above most of his contemporaries.
I’ve met Paul Newey several times, have never had any discussions with him, and don’t believe he, as a committed Republican then, would have contacted me, as a Democratic candidate for state’s attorney, to learn something that would likely have harmed the Republican candidate for governor, Ogilvie. I believe both Ben and Paul (who was right about Cain) were well-intentioned and did try to combat organized crime and corruption in Cook County. However, they, like I later, learned that Chicago and Cook County was really not ready for reform and that the two dominant newspapers (the Tribune and the Sun-Times) were more concerned with scoops, profits, and their privileges than with helping honest law enforcement–in my opinion, a situation not much changed today.
I realize this letter won’t get nearly the coverage of your featured story. That’s regrettable, but not surprising since your writer and editor, like most in my experience, were obviously more interested in rushing the story into print instead of spending more time (and more than one phone call) to obtain verification through a second source.
Ben Joravsky replies:
I left only one message, it’s true, but it’s safe to assume that when I said I was calling about a story Paul Newey had told me, Hanrahan had a good idea what I meant. A couple of years ago Newey wrote to Hanrahan reminding him of the meeting between them and the informant and inviting him to discuss it. Now that he’s seen Hanrahan’s letter Newey declares: “I’ll take a lie detector test anytime, anyplace.”