Drawing the Map
Perry Mandera might not be a well-known name in most circles. But when he tried to get people a job in then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration, it seems his name carried weight, according to records kept by Blagojevich aides.
Hundreds of clout-heavy political sponsors turned to Blagojevich in the early days of his tenure as governor, asking him to give friends, family members and supporters state jobs, promotions and appointments, the secret hiring database obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows.
Most of the sponsors were politicians. But not Mandera. He's the president of a company that owns VIP's A Gentlemen's Club, a topless bar on the Near North Side.
"I talked to one person at one time, but that's drawn way out of proportion," Mandera said. "I believe I spoke to Mr. Kelly about one of those names, a minority individual. But that was it."
Mandera -- who is the ex-husband of state Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) -- declined to identify that person.
But any such talks would have had to have taken place at a point when Mandera was in hot water with the federal government. His Northlake trucking business -- called the Custom Companies -- was sued in May 2002 by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a sexual harassment case that resulted in a $1.1 million fine against the company in 2007.
The government proved that female sales representatives of Mandera's trucking business were required to entertain clients at his previous strip club, called Crazy Horse, Too.
Mandera also was busy in another legal venue, fighting the City of Chicago in a case that went to the Illinois Supreme Court after Crazy Horse, Too had its liquor license revoked for violating a city ordinance barring the sale of alcohol in adult-entertainment businesses that featured all-nude dancers.
That case exposed ties among the club, Mandera and a family linked to organized crime in Chicago.
The court's 2006 opinion noted that Mandera employed Fred Pascente, a reputed Chicago mobster, at Crazy Horse, Too between 1995 and 1999. Pascente's son was an assistant manager at the business who is quoted in court documents as having described Mandera as "a family friend."
Fred Pascente, a former Chicago cop, was convicted of mail fraud in 1995. He is listed in the Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board's Black Book, which bars him from entering any Nevada casino, based on his federal conviction and for being "an associate of the Chicago organized crime family."
McKinney and Kass ought to get together, break open any old boxes sitting in Royko's attic and write a book that links it all together. It would be a gripping tale.
Labels: city politics