- It’s been nearly three years since the Chicago Police Department seized a small arsenal of weapons — including four assault rifles — from the River North mansion of James B. Finkl, a steel company heir who owned a security business with two Chicago cops.
Finkl wasn’t charged. The case remained in limbo. And City Hall officials say they can’t explain why.
But now, after being asked about it, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has ordered the police internal affairs division to investigate what happened to the case against Finkl, who was in business with police Officer Daniel J. Shields.
Ten months after the raid, Shields’ brother, Michael Shields, also a police officer, was elected president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7, the union for Chicago cops.
Great. Just what we need. A gun case tied to a cop who happens to be the brother of the Union President. Not just any gun case though:
- The police raided Finkl’s home looking for an illegal, automatic assault rifle, which a tipster said he had fired in Finkl’s “basement firing range,” records show. Police reports don’t show whether officers found that gun — but they did confiscate 36 other weapons, including vintage handguns, several shotguns and four semi-automatic assault rifles, one with 40 live rounds of ammunition.
Thirty-six weapons. Resulting in what exactly?
- The police arrested Finkl at his home the following morning, May 19, 2010, on 36 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, the state crime. He also was accused of violating a city ordinance for failing to register the 36 weapons.
He was taken to the lockup at the 18th District police station — which is also where Dan Shields, his business partner at the time, worked. Fingerprinted there, Finkl was released about two hours later.
Thirty-six UUW charges and a two hour stay? Wow. The inventories alone must have taken twice that. And the rest of it?
- The arresting officer showed up in court that day, and a Cook County judge continued the case, according to Melissa Stratton, a police spokeswoman who referred additional questions to the city’s law department.
The law department responded with a written statement: “When the city was first alerted to this issue — that a court case might not have been filed or pursued after Finkl’s arrest in 2010 — the law department and Chicago Police Department immediately began to review the facts and disposition of the case.
“It appears that the circuit court clerk’s electronic database does not have on record a case corresponding to the May 19, 2010, arrest date. The city is still determining why the clerk did not receive this case in their database.
It's our experience that cases involving 36 guns don't just disappear from the Cook County databases without a reason. What could possibly make anyone think that this was even remotely possible?
- Finkl, 49, is founder and chief executive officer of Finkl Enterprises, whose holdings included Jetty Security, Radar Pictures and several other businesses. Radar has helped finance movies for Radar Productions, which is headed by former Chicago Sun-Times owner Ted Field. Some of those movie deals involved Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley who late last year was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman nearly nine years ago.
Are you fucking kidding us? R.J. Vanecko? Is involved with some dude with 36 unregistered weapons? Who employs a Chicago Police Officer? Who happens to be a union board member? And related to the president of the Chicago FOP? And we're about to enter the most contentious negotiations in our history with a sawed-off prick of a mayor who would gladly see each and every one of us starve while living in a cardboard box....as long as the box was still in the City of Chicago, mind you.
Someone has a shitload of explaining to do. The appearance of impropriety is a stink we don't need at this moment in time.
UPDATES: People are saying Dan was elected to his spot. Our error, post amended. Is he inside as a field rep?
McDonald v City of Chicago was handed down 28 Jun 2010, six weeks after this case broke. The charges for UUW seem to have been properly dismissed since then as Finkl had a valid FOID card, purchased the guns legally and did not have any "fully automatic weapons" as delineated in the Search warrant. That looks like a huge problem for someone down the line.
As to those accusing us of taking contradictory positions regarding firearm ownership, we ventured no opinion on the guns or charges. We weren't there. Unfortunately, we are obligated to enforce laws that we don't agree with politically at times. The weapons were unregistered, which was an Ordinance violation at the time of occurrence, so we kind of have to point that out. We aren't happy about it either. The bigger issue remains that those who are supposed to lead us, politicians, union reps, superintendents, etc., ought to comport themselves in a manner befitting the office. That means not associating with mobsters, not being photographed with made members of the Outfit, not making $11 million off a part time job. However, this is Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
Looking at this whole thing after 24 hours and tens of dozens of comments, it's a bit of a stretch to make the connections the Sun Times did. But the end result is that we, the boys and girls on the front lines, are being smeared by the Vanecko connection, a missing Cook County court file and still unexplained connections between the union leadership and a connected business.