Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, 77, was indicted on federal tax charges Thursday.
Federal prosecutors allege Beavers failed to report and pay taxes on all of his income.
Beavers was charged with one count of “corruptly endeavoring” to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service and three counts of filing false federal income tax returns, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The indictment alleges that over a course of three years, Commissioner Beavers repeatedly used his campaign accounts for personal use and then thwarted the Internal Revenue Service by causing his committees to create false records to cover it up,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.
The Chicago Citizen spoke to Beavers via telephone Monday regarding the indictment.
“My taxes are paid and it’s all about not cooperating with the government,” he said.
Beavers said he will issue a response to the charges once he consults with his attorney.
Beavers claimed he was indicted for refusing to wear a wire as part of an ongoing investigation of another county official. Fitzgerald refused to comment on that allegation or say whether the investigation that led to Beavers’ indictment was part of a broader political corruption probe.
According to prosecutors, between 2006 and 2008, Beavers allegedly paid himself more than $225,000 from campaign accounts. They would not say exactly how much of that total Beavers allegedly failed to report, but allege that he used more than $68,000 in 2006 to boost his city pension and between 2006 and 2008 spent his $1,200 monthly county contingency account for personal use.
Beavers is a longtime politician and former Chicago police officer. He was alderman of Chicago’s 7th Ward for over two decades before being elected to the county board in 2006. He represents the county’s 4th District.
U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn said via e-mail to the Chicago Citizen that said he could not discuss how long it took prosecutors to bring forth the charges against Beavers because it “is not a matter of public record.”
Samborn said Beavers will possibly be arraigned sometime this week.
“The court will set a date for arraignment and Mr. Beavers will be given notice when to appear for arraignment. No date has been set yet,” Samborn wrote in the e-mail.
If found guilty of all charges, Beavers could face up to 12 years in prison and a mandatory fine of $250,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
by Thelma Sardin
Carter Funeral Home owner Harry Carter III called a press conference Saturday to address allegations of mistreatment of human remains at his South Side facility, and to unabashedly explain his financial troubles.
On Feb. 20, police responded to a call near the funeral home and then discovered that a back door to the building at 2100 E. 75th St. was open and they entered. What police found led to health officials and building inspectors being called to the property and what Carter called a 16-hour “swarm” of his business.
Nine bodies were discovered at the property improperly stored, according to the citation Chicago police issued Carter. The building has been without heat and electricity for “months” Carter told the Chicago Citizen and all of the bodies were removed from the funeral home by last Tuesday, he said. Further, the building has been cited for numerous code violations that Carter said he is working to correct.
Concerned family members who thought their relative could be one of the nine, visited the funeral home with their attorneys immediately after news broke about the bodies being improperly held there, according to Carter and other published reports.
Carter and his supporters said Saturday they felt the funeral home had been unjustly maligned since the Feb. 20 event. Carter was flanked by friends, family, customers and faith leaders Saturday as he spoke out.
He said the allegations of mistreatment of bodies are a “falsehood without merit.”
“I’m not ashamed to have had a problem or two with finances,” he said. “I’ve had my share of financial difficulties, as everyone has had, in this (financial) climate. To vilify me because I’ve had a problem or two is not right.”
Carter explained that the bodies found at the funeral home had been there an extended period of time waiting the signing of death certificates so that the bodies could be cremated.
He claimed the bodies were in “perfect shape” and despite being without electricity, he was able to preserve them as his workers tried to track down doctors. The funeral director said his workers would often go on wild-goose chases trying to get the death certificates signed, a legal requirement for cremation.
“But yet I’m being dragged through the mud when it is not my fault that (the remains) were here; because the doctors don’t take this issue seriously,” said Carter. “The situation they create is horrific.”
Carter said disgruntled workers who had recently been terminated from the funeral home set off last Monday’s events. Even as the first lawsuit against the funeral home was filed Monday by a family the funeral home serviced, Carter said at the press conference that he would be exploring his own legal options against those former workers.
Supporters of the funeral home and Carter made passionate – even tearful – appeals for fairness, pointing to how flexible and accommodating he had been with families who struggled to pay for funeral expenses. They also pointed to a man and a business that support the community.
“I came to stand with him today to tell him he’s been a good man in the community and that this chapel has done good service in the community,” Rev. Harvey Richardson of Kingdom of Christ Baptist Church said at the press conference. “We want everybody to know that he has been a friend and the families he has helped will not let him down. The churches that he helped will not let him down. The pastors he has been a friend to will not let him down.”
Carter’s attorney, Cecil Lucy, called the funeral director “ethical.”
“We ask your patience as we discover exactly the actions on the others and the impact on the families,” Lucy said at the press conference.
The funeral home owes ComEd over $50,000. Carter said at one point he had the money to pay the utility but just didn’t do it. He explained that the balance accumulated over a six-year period of time and service was disconnected this past fall. There hasn’t been a service at the funeral home since October, Carter said. Instead he uses other sites, including chapels and churches.
Arlana E. Johnson would not give details about the utility company’s relationship with Carter Funeral Home but the ComEd spokeswoman said disconnection for any customer is a last choice.
“When customers don’t pay, those costs are shared by all customers. Service suspension always is a last resort,” ComEd spokeswoman Arlana E. Johnson told the Chicago Citizen.
More than reporting on the problems at his funeral home, Carter said he wants doctors to be pushed to sign death certificates in a timely fashion. He said usually it takes eight days after a person dies for the death certificate to be signed. But in some cases, he and workers said Saturday, some physicians take weeks.
Carter said the funeral home’s electricity should be restored in the coming days and services should resume at the location by mid-March. A series of fundraisers have been planned to help the funeral home financially. The events will be held weekly at a Dolton nigh club.
by Rhonda Gillespie
This fall, something “sweet” is coming to Hyde Park’s 53rd Street Corridor. Business partners and community residents Jackie Jackson and Kenneth Faulkner recently finalized leasing arrangements with the University of Chicago to bring a Kilwins ice cream and candy shop to the area.
The Hyde Park store is the second Kilwins location for the duo; they own another shop on the North Side in the Old Town neighborhood.
Kilwins is a national 64-year-old confectionary franchise known for its chocolates, truffles, caramels and fudge.
Jackson said one of the main reasons she wanted to open the store was because of the redevelopment that’s happening in the Hyde Park area.
“We see what’s going on with the redevelopment and revitalization of the community and we just thought it was very exciting and wanted to be a part of it,” Jackson told the Chicago Citizen.
The new location will be located 5226 S. Harper Ave. and is slated to open in late September or early October.
Those familiar with the Kilwins Old Town location will be happy to know that the new Hyde Park location will also make confections in the store window for public view.
“The key thing is we make just about everything right in the store right before your eyes on a marble table,” Jackson said.
The store will also bring jobs to the community. The owners anticipate hiring 15-18 people during the summer months. Depending on sales, the store may hire about 12 people for the winter.
Jackson said she plans to attract business by canvassing the neighborhood and through word of mouth.
“Already we’ve seen a surge of interest from residents, from students, from various people who’ve already been interested in Kilwins. People are very excited,” said Wendy Parks, University of Chicago spokeswoman.
Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns is also excited about the store opening.
“I welcome the opening of Kilwins on 53rd Street,” said Ald. Burns. “As a minority- and woman-owned business, Kilwins adds to the diversity of the retailers on 53rd Street. As we move forward with the continued redevelopment of the 53rd Street retail corridor, shops like Ms. Jackson’s, and others, will play an important role in the vitality of Hyde Park.”
Jackson is a former real estate agent and Faulkner is a licensed electrician.
The business duo opened the Old Town location October 2010 after noticing the dismal real estate market’s outlook. While vacationing, they stumbled upon a Kilwins store and knew that was their next entrepreneurial avenue.
“Immediately, I told Ken ‘This is what we want to do,’” said Jackson.
Jackson said watching Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah’s Lifeclass” show inspired her to aim for opening another Kilwins location.
The show’s theme of hope and perseverance resonated with her.
As a result, Jackson began having viewing parties for the show at the Old Town store and she received a surprise.
“I started having ‘Lifeclass’ viewing parties at my store and Oprah found out about it and she wanted to meet me and Ken,” she said.
Last October, Jackson and some of her employees appeared as guests via Skype on an episode of “Lifeclass.”
Since then, Jackson said she has received a tweet from Gayle King, Winfrey’s best friend and co-anchor of CBS’ “This Morning”. According to Jackson, King is interested in attending a viewing party at Jackson’s store. The business owner is excited to receive feedback from successful African American women such as Winfrey and King.
“That was very gratifying just to have these people reaching out to me,” Jackson said.
Jackson advises other African Americans interested in owning a business to follow their hearts.
“No matter how difficult it may seem, if you have the passion and faith, it can come to fruition. I say that because I am a living witness,” she said.’
by Thelma Sardin
The Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. presents Gallery D’Estee 2012: Art InTENsified and Art Demystified.
This weekend event begins will feature seminars covering the meaning of fine art and the importance of having art appraised and insured
The program will also honor Diane Dinkins-Carr, past president of South Side Community Art Center and Debra Hand, renowned sculptor.
Refreshments will be provided.
This is a two day event and runs from Friday, March 2 to Saturday, March 3.
Date: March 2, 2012
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., March 3: 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The Convert (Preview Week)
This moving new work explores the untold cultural and religious collisions caused by British colonialism in southern Africa, and the reverberating effects still felt in the region today.
Date: February 29, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 10:30pm
Location: Goodman Theatre, 170 North Dearborn Street, Chicago
Contact: 312- 443-3800
Black World Cinema: TBD
Black World Cinema, a showcase of seldom seen classic features and new films from around the world. Black World Cinema presents films by filmmakers with compelling content and human dimension seldom presented in mainstream cinema. All screenings are followed by lively discussions moderated by program director Floyd Webb or local filmmakers, writers and directors.
Date: March 7, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Jackie Wilson Story
The Jackie Wilson Story was first produced in 2000 and was an immediate smash hit. The highly popular national tour was launched in 2002, and culminated at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City, running a record of the most performances of a stage play at this historical New York City landmark. This contagious production chronicles the rise and fall of the admired musician and performer. Slightly different than the original version, the show will still include many of Wilson’s hits such as (Your Love Keeps Liftin’ Me) Higher & Higher, Danny Boy and Doggin’ Me Around. This time around the audience will also be treated to Frankie Lymons’ Goodie Goodie and the Crystals He’s A Rebel.
Date: March 1, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Governors State to Host Doctor of Physical Therapy Information Session
Governors State University’s Physical Therapy Department will host an information session for individuals interested in learning more about the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
Information will be presented about admission criteria and course curricula. Program attendees will have the opportunity to meet faculty members and tour classroom and laboratory spaces. Advisors will be available for individual consultation. Light refreshments will be provided.
Date: March 6, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Location: Governors State University, RM D34000, 1 University Parkway, University Park
Contact: Mary Tracy, 708-534-7290
Occupation: Retired Educator
Why does she stand out?
In 2008, Reverend Pamela Bates Porch retired after a 35 year teaching career.
Soon after, Porch found herself back in the classroom, not as a teacher, but as a mentor. She directs the “For Girls Only” group at Caldwell Academy located on Chicago’s Southeast Side. The group was created by the school’s principal, Danielle Spicer, to help at-risk young women.
“We focus on girls grade 3 to grade 6,” Porch told the Chicago Citizen. “They will stay with the group until [they] graduate from the school. The focus is on consistent impact over a long period of time. We hope to see the fruits of our labors by celebrating their school improvement, reducing and handling conflict, developing leadership skills, eliminating instances of bullying and to improve the quality of the school success.”
For Porch, an ordained minister, volunteering is an act of selflessness. She said volunteerism is critical in communities of color because it gives a “voice to the voiceless.”
Porch is also a member of several service organizations including Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.
“To be of service allows us to expand our lives and focus [on] the greatest need allowing those you serve to know that you care,” she said.
by Thelma Sardin
Bev L. Dunjill got choked up Monday as he talked about how times have changed since his days in the U.S. military. One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Dunjill was one of several people, including elected officials and state department heads, who addressed the overflow crowd that gathered in the south suburban Markham City Hall to pay tribute to the celebrated, historic Army pilots.
State Rep. Marlow Colvin and state Sen. Kwame Raoul, along with Gov. Pat Quinn and Ill. Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider, announced Monday that a stretch of Interstate 57 – from Saulk Trail to Wentworth Avenue – is now the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail. The corridor pays homage to men that many attending the dedication ceremony called “heroes.”
Colvin and Raoul were sponsors, with other legislators, of House Joint Resolution 28 which established the trail. Placards will be placed along the trail marking the honor to servicemen.
“The highway signs will be an everyday reminder of the sacrifices these men gave on behalf of our country. To show how grateful we are, this was an appropriate way for the Legislature to honor them,” Colvin told the Chicago Citizen. He explained that the roadway dedication in Illinois is the 13th in the country and part of a nationwide effort to have a stretch of federal highway in each state named for the Airmen.
In his remarks to the crowd that included community organizations, police and fire personnel, students and community residents, Raoul talked about the importance of preserving the history of the Airmen and making their valor known.
“Unless we preserve our history, unless we tell our history, unless we honor the contributions that men like these made so that we live the lives that we live today, somebody else is going to tell a different story. Unless somebody tells the story about how Black men stood up and made their contributions to protect this country, somebody is going to tell another story,” he said. “So what we do today is put something in permanency such that no one will tell another story and these men will be honored.”
Many eyes welled with tears as eight of the original Tuskegee Airmen were called by name and rose to their feet – most of them frail and aided by someone – for the official dedication. The men were members of the Chicago Dodo Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and Dunjill serves as president emeritus.
Segregation in the military during WWII kept Black pilots grounded or on non-combat missions. Before 1940, they weren’t allowed to fly for the U.S. military. But with pressure from such organizations as the NAACP and the National Urban League, among others, a pursuit squadron was created that was based in Tuskegee, Alabama. The men became the first Black pilots of the U.S. military and were known affectionately as Tuskegee Airmen – formally as the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps. They are credited with completing over 1500 missions over the course of the war, garnering 900-plus citations.
“Because this country was turned 180-degrees, we’re able to do the things that we do today. Thank God,” Dunjill said, his remarks cut off by rousing applause and his own tearful emotions.
Milton Williams compared the esteem of the roadway dedication to his reverence of being inducted into the Illinois Hall of Fame. Williams is an original Tuskegee Airmen who served in Italy.
“This is just so remarkable and we’re so honored,” said Williams, admitting that he struggled for words to describe how proud he felt Monday. “I can’t really express my feelings.”
Joan Taylor’s husband George died in 2008. The widow was at the dedication ceremony and was a bit “sentimental” that he didn’t live to personally receive the honor.
“I think it is a wonderful, wonderful tribute to the men,” she said. “I’m just sorry (George) is not here.
Getting the trail dedication was the second of three goals for the airmen, nationwide. Colvin and other officials in the fraternity said the first goal of being inducted into the aviation hall of fame had been completed last May. Now the celebrated retired servicemen are working to get placed on a U.S. postage stamp.
Quinn called them the “best of the best.”
“You are the pride of our nation,” Quinn said. “We don’t want the Tuskegee Airmen ever to be forgotten. It is very important to understand that their mission is our mission. … Each of us has been held in the arms of the Tuskegee Airmen. It’s very important that we honor their service. ”
By Rhonda Gillespie
Telecommunications giant AT&T is recognizing Black History Month with its “28 Days Speakers Series” nationally touring program that is making its way to the Chicago area. For the last four years, AT&T has put on the program, which features prominent African Americans speaking to audiences in major cities around the nation. The program is free and open to the public in each city on the tour.
According to the company, the speakers series “aims to motivate consumers to use their voice, share their vision and move into action” now and throughout the year. On Thursday, Johnson Publishing Company CEO Desiree Rogers will speak at the Park West.
But as AT&T takes its series on the road, before audiences in such cities as Dallas, Cleveland, Detroit, Raleigh, N.C., Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif., the company is also highlighting the leadership and diversity within it ranks.
Anthony J. Lewis serves as president of AT&T Capital Services. The certified public accountant and University of Arkansas at Fayetteville alum is responsible for daily operations of the customer financing division that serves over 5,000 business customers nationally. His years of service at AT&T, which began in 1984, include being president of finance and chief financial officer for the company’s Southwest Region, and other positions.
Lewis’ experience in telecommunications includes work in South Africa for six years where he helped to transform and privatize the continent’s largest telecommunications company, Telkom.
At a Jewel-Osco grocery store in south suburban Homewood Saturday, Eugene Blaylock offered shoppers a sample of his own barbecue sauce poured over smoked sausage.
“One lick and that’s it,” he said, pitching the sauce at a stand set up for a special Black History Month event put on annually by Jewel-Osco.
“Taste of Black History” is a month long recognition of the Black vendors whose products are available on the shelves at local Jewel stores. As many as 20 vendors travel to stores on the South Side and in the south suburbs giving shoppers a taste of the vendors’ products. This year’s event, which marked the 13th year for TOBH, started Feb. 2 at Jewel on 183rd Street and Kedzie Avenue in Homewood and will end Sunday after the program at the store on 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue.
Blaylock told the Chicago Citizen at the Jewel located at 17705 S. Halsted in Homewood that he had tried for a long time to get his proprietary, “no-fat, no-cholesterol” barbecue sauce in other grocery stores but to no avail. However, for the last six years he’s been stocked at Jewel. The entrepreneur is pleased that the grocer offers the special time for Black vendors to offer samples of their products.
“How would customers know that we’re African American vendors if we don’t get a chance to showcase our products?” he said.
Jacqueline Grant was at the Homewood store Saturday as well. She was offering samples of black beans and rice, black-eyed peas, sweet potato pie and seasoning from the Grandma Maud’s brand. She told the Chicago Citizen that the brand’s owner, Paul Freja, has had the products in Jewel for 15 years.
“For (Jewel) to present our products in all the stores, not just in our community, is wonderful,” said Grant. “It lets everyone know the products are here and to patronize us so (we) stay in business.”
In addition to numerous in-store sampling events featuring Black vendor products, Jewel-Osco hosted a private reception Thursday at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Guests there were treated to a variety of dishes that were prepared using Black vendors’ products.
Additionally, Jewel-Osco awarded $20,000 in grants to four community organizations:
Hunger Relief Awards were presented to Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church for its Spoonful of Hope Soup Kitchen and Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church for its Community Table Food Pantry; GreenNet Chicago was given the Environmental Stewardship Award; and Girls in the Game received the Nutrition Education Award.
Angelica’s Bakery picked up the Jewel-Osco 2012 “Vendor of the Year Award” for “its outstanding work in brand development and marketing.”
“Our African American vendors are important members of the Jewel-Osco family, and they are vital to our success,” said Brian Huff, president of Jewel-Osco. “We want to thank them for helping us meet the diverse needs of our customers every day, and we hope consumers recognize that by purchasing African American vendor products they are supporting these wonderful entrepreneurs.”
By Rhonda Gillespie
Access to contracting opportunities for business owners was at the top of the agenda at the Chatham Business Association’s monthly meeting last Tuesday morning.
Members were provided information on how to place bids to secure construction contracts for the build-out of two new charter schools in Chicago.
UNO Charter School Network (UNO) used the CBA meeting as a platform to invite minority business owners to apply for contracting opportunities. The organization manages nine charter schools in Chicago and is the largest direct-service charter school management firm in Illinois.
“Our approach to our project is to try to be as inclusive as we can,” said Andrew Alt, vice president of real estate and facilities for UNO. He added that the organization prides itself on ensuring there is a high level of participation among M/WBE enterprises and smaller corporations.
Representatives from architecture firms currently working with UNO on the project gave brief presentations of the schools’ floor plans and features. One of the new schools will be located on the city’s Northwest side while the other will be built on the Southwest side.
CBA President Marino Orlandi thanked UNO for sharing their business opportunities with its members.
“This is a very important first step in a partnership and we appreciate you coming out,” said Orlandi.
Ald. Michelle Harris, who gave opening remarks at the meeting, told the Chicago Citizen that business owners should also engage in building relationships with the surrounding residential community.
“When the residential community is in love with us and knows us on a personal basis, you’re more likely to get greater support,” said Harris. “It’s really important that as a business community, in CBA we start to embrace the residential component so they get to know who we are as businesses, what services and products we can deliver, [and] how that can start to support us and make us a more productive business community.”
CBA Vice Chairman Joseph Caldwell shared a special message for area business owners. “Those of you who are contractors, if you were called here this morning and asked to come in…it’s because we want you to take advantage of the opportunities.”
The vice chairman also emphasized the importance of jobs at the meeting’s closing.
“We talk about jobs in our community and how important they are and of course you’re here this morning because we want to create jobs,” said Caldwell. “We need jobs in our community, we need jobs in the City of Chicago, we need jobs in the United States of America.”
By Thelma Sardin
In honor of Black History Month, AT&T is proudly honoring high-ranking African Americans within the company.
Derrick F. Hamilton is Vice-President, U-Verse Field Operations and manages the installation and restoration of AT&T U-Verse product in several Midwestern states including Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
Hamilton assumed his current position in April 2008. Prior to his move to U-Verse Field Operations, he supervised Switched Telephone Service, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet, and U-Verse in Illinois and Lake County, Indiana. He also oversaw Network Dispatch Centers, POTS Provisioning Centers, and the Six Sigma Business Unit Program Management for the Midwest Region.
Hamilton came to AT&T in 1991 and has held numerous positions in network operations, network services staff, project reengineering and systems implementation.
The astute professional earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from California State University, Los Angeles and a MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Before coming to AT&T, Hamilton worked as an engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company.
Hamilton a quintessential executive, and his wife Joni, who is a pediatrician, reside in Chicago and have two children.