Least shocking headline of the year

Chicago tops list of most corrupt city in US

I have told the story many times, but it bears repeating. When one got to upper-middle management in a company I used to work for, one was required to read the “Code of Ethical Conduct,” then sign an acknowledgment of having read it.

The most infamous passage went something like this:

“No official of XYZ corporation may offer a bribe to a public official.

However, there may be from time to time certain places where normal operations cannot be conducted without bribery. In such cases, the situation must be reported to the Vice-President in charge of the legal department. Such places may include Russia, Mexico, Nigeria … yadda, yadda … and Chicago!”

So, congrats to Chi-Town for living up to your hard-earned reputation.

6 thoughts on “Least shocking headline of the year

  1. Bribing public officials is wrong, but at least there is a possibility of the officials being prosecuted if caught. But sometimes the corruption is built into the system and completely legal. Thirty years ago I was living in Albany, NY. I had a friend who had grown up in Albany and who had gotten charged with some minor offense where she would have to appear in the city “police court.” I was told that there were two police court judges, but that the positions were considered part time and so the judges also had private legal practices. There was nothing necessarily corrupt about that, except they were allowed to represent clients in each others courts. So if you found yourself up on a charge in Judge Smith’s court, hired Judge Jones as your lawyer. If you were up before Judge Jones you hired Judge Smith. Conflict of interest? What’s a conflict of interest?

  2. Look at it this way: in Texas the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Junior US Senator are all corrupt/evil as shit and none of them will be going to jail.

    1. That’s not the same level as Chicago. Everyone has to be bribed at every level, just like in Russia. You want a building permit? Bribe the proper official. You want a zoning change? Bribe the right person. In my particular field – front-line retailing – the problem is health inspectors. The reality of life is that any store or restaurant can be closed by a health inspector at any time. In the real world, it is impossible to “pass” every aspect of the inspection. Health inspectors know that, and in most cities, they are honest and will only give a closing notification if there is a true and systemic danger to public health. However in at least two American cities that I know of, the choices are very simple – bribe: stay open, no bribe: prepare to shut the doors. Texas is not like that. For all the problems in the upper echelons, day-to-day business is conducted with common sense, fairness, relative honesty, and reasonable transparency. That is not true in Chicago.

      People have told me that Louisiana is similarly corrupt, but I can’t attest to that from personal experience.

  3. This is incorrect. Chicago is the least corrupt city because it had 1800 convictions. The big cities where there’s a low conviction rate probably means that city (or state) has shitty corruption laws, weak enforcement or both.

    Illinois is the best state in the union. They threw George Ryan (R) in prison and followed that by tossing his successor Rod Blagojevich (D) in as well.

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