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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Chicago Story of the Week

Saul Bellow couldn't have written it better.
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Chicago Tribune | `I bet they're smiling': Marco Morales, who mastered the art of Chicago bribery before fleeing to Mexico, doesn't think City Hall is shedding any tears over the U.S.' failure to bring him back to testify about corruption

"'In my heart, I will always be a Chicago guy,' he said. 'I miss it so damn much, it's pitiful. But I'm here. So I have to go with the flow.'"

Going into business for himself, Morales called in favors and schmoozed city officials at places like the Old Neighborhood Italian American Club, the Crazy Sicilian Lounge and Bertucci's Corner. In 1995, Morales earned more than $930,000, records show.

"It was, hey, what the hell?" Morales said. "You get to kind of smell the power and get a little greedy. From being nothing, you're having somebody up there [in City Hall]. You say, `Hey, you're somebody now.'

"I never really thought about it ... Everybody was doing the same thing."

Born in Mexico, Morales moved to Chicago with his family when he was 11. Shy and speaking little English, he had trouble learning to read and dropped out in the 7th grade.


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