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Afternoon Edition: Feb. 25, 2022

Afternoon Edition: Feb. 25, 2022

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a chance of flurries and a high near 29 degrees. Tonight will also be mostly cloudy with a chance of flurries and a low around 16. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 35. Sunday will also be sunny with a high near 36 degrees.

Top story

Desperate for loans, Patrick Daley Thompson put hundreds of thousands in campaign cash in crooked Bridgeport bank

Disgraced former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson has lost his Chicago City Council seat and could go to prison over his dealings with a crooked bank in the Bridgeport neighborhood he represented.

But his ties to Washington Federal Bank for Savings go beyond the evidence presented to the jury that found him guilty Feb. 14 of cheating on his income taxes and lying to federal banking regulators.

The jury was read years of emails from Thompson to the bank in which he sounded increasingly desperate for money for himself.

What the jurors weren’t told was that, midway through seven years of pleading to get the bank to quadruple the amount of his personal loans, he started depositing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions there, a Chicago Sun-Times examination of bank and court records has found.

Thompson’s dealings with Washington Federal started 11 years ago, when he borrowed $110,000. Then, he got additional sums of $20,000 and $89,000.

But Thompson wanted more.

For seven years, in words that appeared to reflect his growing desperation, he repeatedly emailed John Gembara, the bank’s now-deceased chief executive officer, president and major shareholder, trying to boost the amount of his personal loans to more than $800,000.

The money would be for refinancing the mortgages on the Bridgeport bungalow where he lives — the home where his late grandfather, Mayor Richard J. Daley, raised his family — and a nearby two-flat as well as the loans he’d already gotten from Washington Federal, on which he’d made just one payment of $389.58.

Tim Novak and Jon Seidel have the latest in the Daley saga here.

More news you need

  1. The parks director for the city of Evanston resigned today, becoming the latest of several top officials in the north suburb to leave amid a sexual misconduct scandal involving lifeguards and other young, female beach workers. Lawrence Hemingway quit his $179,909-a-year job with the city, according to an internal email obtained by WBEZ.
  2. A 41-year-old man was stabbed to death this morning on a sidewalk in the Kenwood neighborhood, according to Chicago police. The stabbing happened in the 2nd police district, where reports of shootings, burglary and theft are all higher than they were in 2021.
  3. A Cook County judge will allow news cameras to broadcast the sentencing hearing for former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett next month after he previously rejected their presence in the courtroom. A judge ruled today that previous concerns about allowing cameras in the courtroom no longer exist following the conclusion of Smollett’s jury trial.
  4. Illinois will receive about $760 million from a nationwide settlement finalized today with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major drug distributors over their roles in the opioid addiction crisis. The money, which comes from a $26 billion legal settlement announced last year, will be distributed to local governments around the state to help battle the opioid crisis.
  5. A Chicago woman who says she was wrongfully pushed out of her Avondale apartment has filed a lawsuit as she tries to recover her security deposit. Sandra Diaz alleges that her former landlord withheld the $850 security deposit she paid when she moved into an apartment in 2009 and tried to wrongfully evict her.
  6. With city COVID mandates going away, we caught up with some businesses to learn more about what they plan to do starting Monday. The bottom line: Since the city will still allow individual businesses to implement their own rules, it’s probably best to keep a mask and proof of vaccination handy.
  7. A nun at a Near North Side convent is being asked to leave now that she’s the only one left at the order, which led the Episcopal Church to demand “immediate possession” of the building. But Sister Judith Mandrath’s has hired a lawyer who’s fighting the church to allow her to remain at the Order of St. Anne’s convent on North LaSalle Drive.
  8. Pope Francis yesterday met virtually with students from 58 universities at a historic event hosted by Loyola University in Chicago. The pope took notes as the students spoke honestly about their viewpoints, our Madeline Kenney reports.
  9. To write his new memoir “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama,” Bob Odenkirk says he had to reach out to people in his past — pals, colleagues, even an old girlfriend — to refresh his recollections because he was too busy to remember. But the actor-director promises he “doesn’t go too deep” in looking back at his Naperville childhood, his Second City stint and his adventures at “SNL,” “Breaking Bad” and more.

A bright one

What 50 gallons of paint on a Kennedy Expressway underpass looks like in Tony Passero’s hands

The Kennedy Expressway underpass at Belmont and Kedzie avenues was once called “a dark pit of concrete” and, because of its angles and design, “one of the most dangerous intersections in the city.”

Tony Passero is an artist, not an engineer or construction foreman. So he couldn’t do anything about the roadway layout. But Passero has spent a big part of his artistic career bringing creativity and color to stretches of Chicago, often viaducts, that are ignored or ugly.

So he was tapped by an Avondale group to do murals at Belmont and Kedzie in 2017.

A mural titled “Toro Totem” underneath the Kennedy Expressway at Belmont and Kedzie. It was painted in 2017 by artist Tony Passero.
A mural titled “Toro Totem” underneath the Kennedy Expressway at Belmont and Kedzie. It was painted in 2017 by artist Tony Passero.

A lot of paint went into the effort — about 50 gallons, including primer, brushed across the gritty surface over 12 days to create related murals that face each other across Kedzie Avenue.

One of the pair, titled “Toro Totem,” features four bulls and 13 totems.

The other, “RamZelle,” includes images of two rams, two gazelles and 15 totems.

For Passero, the bulls represent courage and justice. The gazelles are meant to convey grace.

Richie Requena has more on Pasero’s murals here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s your favorite novel by a Black author? Tell us why.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: Which Black Chicagoan do you think deserves their own statue here, if they don’t already have one?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Barack Obama , Jennifer Hudson, Redd Foxx, Bernie Mac, Rube Foster, Ida B. Wells.” — Omar Ramos

“Earth Wind & Fire. The entire band. And the Staples Family.” — Thomas Kluth

“Gwendolyn Brooks.” — Michael Manier

“Larry Hoover.” — Matthew Ross

“Muddy Waters.” — Christopher Magdaleno

“Fred Hampton.” — Kao Ra Zen

“Kanye West.” — Raff Dewberry

“Lou Rawls, Nat King Cole, Muddy Waters.” — Anthony Benson

“Sam Cooke — he went to Wendell Phillips!” — Rodney Lewis

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https://chicago.suntimes.com/afternoon-edition-newsletter/2022/2/25/22950728/afternoon-edition-feb-25-2022