WBEZ | Mel Reynolds http://www.wbez.org/tags/mel-reynolds Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Ex-Illinois US Rep. Reynolds doesn't show for arraignment http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-illinois-us-rep-reynolds-doesnt-show-arraignment-112331 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mel reynolds AP_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds failed to appear for his arraignment on federal tax charges Monday, and his lawyer told reporters that the Illinois Democrat couldn&#39;t return from an overseas trip in time because of a daughter&#39;s health problems.</p><p>Failing to show up for a scheduled arraignment in federal court is rare, but there was no indication from prosecutors or the judge that they suspect anything was amiss in the 63-year-old&#39;s surprise absence.</p><p>The sides gathered for the hearing in a U.S. district courtroom in Chicago, but it never formally convened. An aide to U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Judge Valdez said the arraignment would be reset for July 30.</p><p>Defense attorney Theodore Poulos told reporters afterward that his client travelled abroad in early June &mdash; weeks before the unveiling of the indictment on June 26 &mdash; but was unable to get back because of &quot;medical issues involving his daughter.&quot;</p><p>Reynolds has ties to Africa. The onetime Rhodes Scholar said last year he went into hiding in South Africa out of fear for his life after threatening to expose illegal business dealings between American businessmen and Zimbabwe.</p><p>Reynolds&#39; lawyer declined to say what country Reynolds travelled to and where he is now. He also wouldn&#39;t elaborate about the nature of the medical problems faced by the daughter.</p><p>The former congressman is charged with failing to file federal income tax returns from 2009 to 2012, and he faces a maximum one-year prison term on each count.</p><p>&quot;I expect he will enter a plea of not guilty,&quot; his attorney told reporters. He added there were &quot;serious questions&quot; about whether the money at the heart of the case &quot;actually constitutes income.&quot;</p><p>The indictment makes no reference to sums and doesn&#39;t identify income sources. Poulos also didn&#39;t offer details.</p><p>This isn&#39;t Reynolds&#39; first legal predicament.</p><p>He resigned from his 2nd Congressional District seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape for having sex with an underage campaign worker and was found guilty in state court. Later, he was convicted in federal court for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign.</p></p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 23:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-illinois-us-rep-reynolds-doesnt-show-arraignment-112331 The purpose of the ballot http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/purpose-ballot-104137 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mel%20reynolds%20AP.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Mel Reynolds is running for Congress under the them of 'Redemption.' (AP/M. Spencer Green)" /></div><p>With the resignation of Jesse Jackson Jr. from his seat in the 2nd Congressional District, a growing number of potential candidates are lining up to take his place. It seems that each day the field gets a little larger. And unquestionably, one of the most surprising candidates to throw his hat in the ring is the person Rep. Jackson originally defeated to win the seat in 1995: Mel Reynolds.</p><p>In 1992 the young, photogenic Reynolds defeated the then controversial Gus Savage, who had for 12 years run the district as a personal fiefdom. Two years after Reynolds won the seat he was convicted of a series of sexual crimes with a minor; he was also convicted on federal financial and campaign fraud charges.</p><p>Now Reynolds wants back in. He says he wants another chance to do the job right. His campaign slogan is straight forward and right on point: Redemption. Reynolds argues that he&rsquo;s done the crime, he&rsquo;s done his time, and now it&rsquo;s time to move on. He maintains that he has the education, talent and experience to do the job. And, he&rsquo;s hoping that the constituents of the district will recognize that his past crimes shouldn&rsquo;t be a &ldquo;life sentence&rdquo; and vote for him.</p><p>I think Reynolds&rsquo; arrogance in this matter is stunning! Sexual misconduct with a minor, the solicitation of child pornography, campaign fraud &mdash; and he wants his job back! I guess what Reynolds is really hoping for is a case of &ldquo;total collective amnesia&rdquo; on the part of the voters of the&nbsp;2nd&nbsp;District. I applaud Mr. Reynolds attempt at &ldquo;redemption,&rdquo; but perhaps that process should be pursued in a more private manner and not in a public venue.</p><p>Legally, of course, Mr. Reynolds has the right to seek re-election. Here&rsquo;s where the &ldquo;beauty&rdquo; of our American political system comes into play. He has a right to run, and citizens of his district have a right to vote. So, if his constituents decide that his previous behavior and character are not acceptable to them &mdash; they simply don&rsquo;t have to vote for him. If they don&rsquo;t believe in his plea for redemption, he need not be publically ridiculed or reviled; he should simply not receive a person&rsquo;s vote. In voting against any one particular candidate, citizens are demonstrating yet another sacred tenant of our political system: &ldquo;Every person has a right to their say, but not every person is right.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 09:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/purpose-ballot-104137 More prison time for Blagojevich than Illinois' other convicted governors? http://www.wbez.org/story/more-prison-time-blagojevich-illinois-other-convicted-governors-94538 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/RS3056_AP090414013129-blago Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to be sentenced this week, following a hearing in federal court that begins on Tuesday. Blagojevich was convicted on 17 corruption counts this past summer, and another one in 2010 – totaling a maximum prison sentence of 305 years.</p><p>The ex-governor’s lawyers want Judge James Zagel to sentence him to no more than three to four years. The prosecution is asking for 15-20 years, pointing out that a Blagojevich co-conspirator who “held no elected office of trust,” Tony Rezko, recently got a 10½ year sentence. (Rezko’s case was not handled by Zagel.)</p><p>Another reason the government gives for a long sentence: deterrence. “Sadly, Illinois has a history of corruption in government,” the prosecution writes. “The sentences imposed on previous criminals for public corruption crimes were not sufficient to dissuade Blagojevich from engaging in a myriad of criminal acts.”</p><p>Let’s now review the sentences those “previous criminals” got. If the government gets its way, Blagojevich will spend far more time behind bars than any other member of the imprisoned governors’ club.</p><p><strong>Governors</strong></p><p><em>George Ryan:</em> Governor from 1999-2003, Illinois secretary of state from 1991 to 1999. Found guilty in 2006 on 18 federal counts regarding actions during time as secretary of state and as governor. Sentenced to 6½ years, imprisoned from 2007 to present, with an estimated release date of July 4, 2013.</p><p><em>Otto Kerner:</em> Governor from 1961-1968, federal appeals court judge from 1968 to 1974. Found guilty in 1973 on 17 federal counts regarding actions during time as governor. Sentenced to 3 years, but imprisoned for less than a year (from 1974 to 1975) because of poor health.</p><p><em>Dan Walker: </em>Governor from 1973 to 1977. Pleaded guilty in 1987 to three federal counts regarding actions occurring after he left office. Initially sentenced to seven years, but released after a year and a half (from 1988 to 1989) because of health concerns.</p><p><strong>Other Illinois politicians</strong></p><p><em>Dan Rostenkowski</em>: Congressman from 1959 to 1995. Pleaded guilty in 1996 to two federal counts regarding actions during time in Congress. Sentenced to 17 months, imprisoned for 15 months, from 1996 to 1997.</p><p><em>Mel Reynolds: </em>Congressman from 1993 to 1995. Found guilty in 1995 on state counts related to having sex with a minor. Sentenced to five years. Then found guilty in 1997 on 15 federal counts regarding actions during campaigns for Congress. Sentenced to six and a half years. President Clinton commuted his sentence in 2001.</p><p><em>Betty Loren Maltese</em>: Cicero town president from 1993 to 2002. Found guilty in 2002 on six federal counts regarding actions during time as town president. Sentenced to eight years, imprisoned for seven years, from 2003 to 2010.</p><p><em>Jim Laski: </em>Chicago city clerk from 1995 to 2006. Pleaded guilty in 2006 on one federal count regarding actions during time as alderman and city clerk. Sentenced to two years, imprisoned for less than a year, from 2007 to 2008.</p><p><em>Tom Keane:</em> Alderman from 1945 to 1974. Found guilty in 1974 on 18 federal counts regarding actions during his time as alderman. Sentenced to five years, imprisoned for less than two years, from 1976 to 1978.</p><p><strong>Sources: Archives from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, and “<a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=alderman%20tom%20keane%20bio&amp;source=web&amp;cd=8&amp;ved=0CEgQFjAH&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uic.edu%2Fdepts%2Fpols%2FChicagoPolitics%2FAnti-corruptionReport.pdf&amp;ei=-IjWTu_bB8To2AXs_IHjAQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNF_b8GUPVHInlxue8VYkTuFhvJ18A&amp;cad=rja">Curing Corruption in Illinois</a>” by Thomas J. Gradel, Dick Simpson and Andris Zimelis from the UIC Political Science Department (2009)</strong></p></p> Mon, 05 Dec 2011 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/more-prison-time-blagojevich-illinois-other-convicted-governors-94538