WBEZ | Richard Vanecko http://www.wbez.org/tags/richard-vanecko Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Booze in the news http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/booze-news-104185 <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/Old%20Town%20Ale%20House%20flickr.jpg" style="float: right; width: 422px; height: 316px;" title="(Flickr/Jenni Konrad)" />The bars of Division Street: where a man named Vanecko hit a man name Koschman. And in a Northwest Side bar, a policeman named Abbate beat a bartender named Karolina Obrycka.</div><p>Sorrowful, both, but the city has a rich and lengthy tradition of booze and taverns. It can be traced to early settler Marc Beaubien, who would enliven his Sauganash Inn with fine fiddle-playing in the 1830s.&nbsp;Ever since, the tavern has functioned as an important social focal point, though few have been willing to admit &mdash; or understand &mdash; its significance as a culturally enriching agent.&nbsp;</p><p>In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Drink-A-Social-History-America/dp/0786707437" target="_blank"><em>Drink: A Social History of America</em></a>, Andrew Barr writes about taverns in the early years of this century: &quot;In a saloon every man was equal. The saloon provided newspapers, billiards, card tables, bowling alleys, lavatories and washing facilities. It provided information and company.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Chicago was never thirstier than a few minutes before 4:32 p.m. on December 5, 1933, as thousands waited for the repeal of the 18th Amendment to end a drought that had lasted &mdash; but who was counting? &mdash; 13 years, 10 months and 19 days.</p><p>Though a number of neighborhood taverns &mdash; former speakeasies mostly &mdash; jumped the gun by a few hours, many of the large downtown drinking establishments kept packs of patrons waiting until the appointed legal minute. Huge crowds lined up five and six deep along the bars, and they had stamina, staying into the early morning hours.&nbsp;</p><p>The celebration was relatively sedate: Only 27 people were arrested for intoxication. The Congress Hotel, emptied 100 cases of champagne, 75 cases of whiskey, 75 cases of gin and 100 cases of wine. The Sherman House served more than 10,000 people at its three bars and grand ballroom. A number of older bartenders complained about the increase in female customers, one of them worrying that &quot;If the talk gets rough, we&#39;ll have to defend the ladies.&quot;</p><p>Flash forward a couple of decades and writer A.J. Liebling spent some time here and wrote a series of articles for the <em>New Yorke r</em>&mdash; later collected in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Second-City-J-Liebling/dp/0803280351/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1354653542&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=aj+the+second+city" target="_blank">book form</a> &mdash; that would become famous for giving the city its Second City moniker.&nbsp;</p><p>Liebling observed this: &quot;A thing about Chicago that impressed me from the hour I got there was the saloons. New York bars operate on the principle that you want a drink or you wouldn&#39;t be there. If you are civil and don&#39;t mind waiting, they will sell you one when they get around to it. Chicago bars assume that nobody likes liquor, and that to induce the customers to purchase even a minute quantity, they have to provide a show.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s nice (and true) but I still prefer the observation by the great late piano bar man Buddy Charles when he told me late one night at The Acorn on Oak: &ldquo;What makes taverns and saloons work is that people are inherently eager for intimacy.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 14:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/booze-news-104185 Daley’s nephew charged with involuntary manslaughter http://www.wbez.org/news/daley%E2%80%99s-nephew-charged-involuntary-manslaughter-104168 <p><p>A grand jury indicted Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s nephew Monday for his alleged role in the 2004 death of David Koschman. The 21-year-old victim was injured in a fight outside a bar on Rush Street and died in the hospital 11 days later.</p><p>Richard J. Vanecko, who is the the son of former Mayor Daley&rsquo;s sister, was charged with involuntary manslaughter Monday after a 6-month investigation. He allegedly punched Koschman in the face and departed the scene in a cab. The investigation, conducted by Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb, also includes an inquiry into how the case was initially&nbsp;handled and why no charges were filed.</p><p>Nanci Koschman, David Koschman&rsquo;s mother, said the police detective she spoke to in 2004 blamed the incident on her son.</p><p>&ldquo;When that detective came in and said it&rsquo;s all your son&rsquo;s fault, it&rsquo;s all his responsibility, that&rsquo;s like a knife through a mother&rsquo;s heart,&rdquo; she said, tearing up repeatedly in a press conference Monday. &ldquo;He told me I&rsquo;d be impressed by the names of the people that were involved with the case, and that if I tried to sue, they would keep me tied up in court for years.&rdquo;</p><p>Koschman said when she realized there would be no investigation, she threw up her hands.</p><p>&ldquo;My dad used to have a saying to my sister and me, you can&rsquo;t fight City Hall. I never really thought that I was gonna go anywhere,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>But in April of this year, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb to the case.</p><p>&ldquo;Now at least I see that with a lot of good people behind you, good things can happen,&rdquo; said Koschman. She was accompanied by Locke Bowman, legal director of the Solange and Roderick Macarthur Justice Center at Northwestern Law School, and two attorneys from the People&rsquo;s Law Office.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the reasons Mr. Bowman and myself got involved in this case was because of the, to put it kindly, the irregularities in this investigation over an eight-year period,&rdquo; said Flint Taylor, partner at the People&rsquo;s Law Office.</p><p>&ldquo;The failures to properly investigate and to indict eight years ago speak volumes about the inadequacies of that investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Mr. Vanecko&rsquo;s arraignment is set for December 10.</p></p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 17:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/daley%E2%80%99s-nephew-charged-involuntary-manslaughter-104168 Former U.S. Attorney takes on Koschman case http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/former-us-attorney-takes-koschman-case-98490 <p><p>Dan K. Webb, a former U.S. Attorney, was appointed Monday as special prosecutor to look into the death of David Koschman.</p><p>Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb to investigate the 2004 brawl involving Richard Venecko and that led to Koschman’s death a short time later.</p><p>Koschman's family asked for a special prosecutor alleging Venecko was not charged in the death because he is the nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.</p><p>Webb has been tasked with investigating if anyone should face criminal charges in the case. He will also look into any possible misconduct by the prosecutors and police that handled the initial investigation.</p><p>Webb said he would start working on the case immediately. He said the first step was “to gather all records to get up to speed on the facts and then the investigation will take us where the facts take us.”</p><p>In approving the request for a special prosecutor, Judge Toomin determined there was enough evidence of a conflict of interest in the original investigation to warrant a further look.</p><p>Asked by reporters whether he has any connections to former Mayor Daley, Webb said he was not connected with any of the parties involved in the case.</p><p>“I intend to fairly investigate it [the case] as I've done throughout my career,” said Webb.</p><p>Meanwhile, Locke Bowman, an attorney representing Koschman’s family, said he was satisfied with the selection of Webb as special prosecutor.</p><p>“We have said all along that we want a full, vigorous investigation of this matter,” said Bowman.</p><p>There is no date yet for when the investigation will be completed.</p></p> Mon, 23 Apr 2012 09:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/former-us-attorney-takes-koschman-case-98490