Friday, February 17, 2017

Another installment

Another installment

kenneth ditkowsky

7:20 PM (13 hours ago)
to Naomi, Ditkowsky, Ben, Deborah, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Elenna, Keith
Naomi - indeed, rebooting the computer cleared up the problem.  It looks like I got everything back   -  any way, your mother this morning got me thinking about the O'Leary case.    That case still ranks as one of the biggest fixes that I was ever involved in.   On the elevator of the Daley Center, after oral argument I met several of the Supreme Court justices that I argued the case before.   Justice Shaffer (sp) had some very laudatory comments to make concerning my brief and oral argument; however, I lost 7 - O on both Appeals before the Supreme Court of Illinois.    I knew in advance I was going to lose as my spy - Pearl F furnished me a copy of the decisions drafted by a staff attorney at the IDR well in advance of the decision being handed down.   Just co-incidence!  

The IRS closed down the manufacturer of the cigarette revenue stamps very quietly and sent some people to jail.   You of course know that Governor Walker went to Federal Prison (on charges unrelated to this scandal - maybe!)   Anyway - here is the next installment:

The men in my family were not wimps.       My material grandfather homestead land in North Dakota, and ran cattle from Texas to the stock yards in Chicago.    My paternal grandfather had the quiet manner that is associated with a man who had great confidence.    He had the aire of a man who looked meek, but if you stirred him up you had a hurricane to address.    His quiet accomplishments spoke to such a conclusion.    Ditto for my father’s older brother.    I learned of his reputation quite by accident.    
As a young man,  I was taught to defend myself.   To me an opponent’s nose was put on his face as an escape value.    Ergo, if someone wanted to test my pugilistic skills, the test was usually short lived as it was not too hard to deliver a blow to the nose, the solar plexus, or the genitals.    I preferred the nose, but, beggars cannot be choosers – and my violent streak was usually short lived.     It therefore follows that few of my colleagues desired to mess with me; however, from time to time I was required to demonstrate the lack of wisdom that such an endeavor entailed.
Senn High School a bad choice of schools for me.      I liked playing ball and had some ability.   Thus, it was not usual for me to desire to participate in the pick up games that always permeated the lunch hour.    As luck would have it, I drew a schedule that made my personal lunch period coincide with those of the upper classman.     Socialization required my participation in the pick up games and it was not long before I was a regular.     However, to become a regular I had to distinguish myself.    I was gifted with ‘speed’ and thus on offense I played a “half back” and on defense a “safety.”   
Within the First month of school familiarity set in and I became a fixture.    In one game,  I went out for pass and a much larger lad than I knocked me down.    On the next play he repeated the feat.    On the following play he collided with my elbow and broke his nose.     My elbow was not injured.    I also was not knocked down again but I remained a little pugnacious.      This attitude lead to some disagreements with others and a few altercations.    My parents learned of my social life and were not pleased.   Thus, I found myself a student at a quiet suburban school  = Niles Twp High School as a tuition student.  
At Niles, on day one I had a dispute with another student in a gym class and to my absolute delight the teacher suggested that we settle our dispute with the “gloves on.”     My style lacked something, but I made my point relatively quick and found a new friend.     
Once I married Judy, it occurred to me that laughing at an insult was a better approach than my adolescent approach to disputes.     Thus, as long as an adversary did not threaten me physically he was safe from testing his physical skills against mine.    However, this did not mean that I became Casmer Milktoast or I became meek.    My anger manifested itself in my voice becoming deep and my face reflecting my displeasure.    Few did not know that I was not happy.
Early on in my career, I ran across a situation in which the Judge was influenced by facts that were not in the record – i.e. the clout of the opposing party.    It did not take me long to know that I was a loser and no matter how the facts supported my case or how well they were presented – the Judge was going to rule against my client.    I was furious!    How dare anyone ‘fix’ a case against one of my clients.     As I was thinking terrible thoughts I heard the Judge say to me:
“Hy, calm down – I’m not going to ‘hurt’ your client!”
Indeed, he ruled against my client and afterwards explained his circumstance as if I would understand.   I did not understand, but I listened politely and then walked away listening to the words:
“Hy, I am sorry!’
Interestly I rarely lost a a motion, a hearing, or any other proceeding that required ruling.    My name was not Hy – though I did not correct the Judge.
The Era of the 1960’s was quite different from today and the Courts were no exception.    We had fun and we were almost all friends.    We ate together, socialized, travelled together, and literally enjoyed comradeship.       It was not unusual for the attorneys and the Judge to go out to lunch together or share a ride home.    There were exceptions.     The biggest group of exceptions were lawyers who were short knowledge of the law and got along by trying to intimidate an opponent.     I was raised in a Ditkowsky home so someone yelling and screaming at me was more the usual than an intimidation.     Suggesting in very nice words that I was dummer than a rock only encouraged me.     I called upon the court in such a circumstance accept by apology for being such a dunce and  to indulge me as I agreed with my opponent that I was challenged.     
The tactic usually worked; however, on occasion it induce the intimidator to act violently.     During one oral argument before a cafeteria court judge ( I believe it was a building court proceeding) my opponent got so angry with me because of the words and phrases of my apology to the Judge in relation to my stupidity, he took a swing at me.    I saw it coming, moved half a step back and threw a right.   I inadvertently missed driving my punch into his nose and carelessly hit him square on the jaw.   He collapsed like stone.    The sheriff held up my hand as a signal of victory and the Judge laughing remarked  - “he missed – you did not!”    My opponent did not take me out to lunch – or even supper.
Violence was frowned upon in the Courtroom, and fisticuffs between lawyes was rare.    However, lay people sometimes got very angry, especially during cross examination.     In one instance, I infuriated a witness when I asked him a particular question and he literally jumped out of the witness box and made for me.    My opponent, screamed at him – “get back in the box!” and to my absolute surprise he did.   I judge looked at me to see if there was anything I wanted – I said nothing, and then demanded an answer to the question as if nothing had occurred.    The case was over.
During a hearing on a juvenile manner, a witness became agitated by a question during my cross, pulled out a knife and came after me.    I do not remember what happened from the millisecond of my seeing the knife until the altercation occurred.   The bailiff told me he never saw anyone react so fast.     The altercation ended with me hold the knife and my assailant pinned against the wall – my arm pushing against his throat.    
In the 1970’s with the Court rooms moved to the 30 floor Daley Center (Civil Center) two changes occurred.     We had air conditioning and a flood of female attorneys.     Physical disputes amongst the male attorneys became very rare.    Impolite verbiage might occur, but nothing beyond that.    During the O’Leary case, tensions ran very high.     The Chicago Tribune referred the case to me and paid my fees.     The Attorney General’s office was informed by the Department of Revenue and the Governor’s office that this was a MUST CASE and all the stops were to be called out.      I knew that there was a problem when a routine appearance in Federal court was interrupted by my opponent – an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Illinois telling Judge Lynch that I swore at him!
You cannot make this stuff up – he told the Judge that I swore at him.     Judge Lynch tried to put on a stern face – but could not – he was having too much trouble keeping from laughing.     Finally, the judge turned to me and said:
“ Mr. Ditkowsky – did you swear at Mr  M***?
I answered in the affirmative, and the Judge further inquired:
“did you finish saying what you wished to say to Mr. M***?
I answered in the negative and the Judge ordered me to take Mr. M*** into the hallway and finish my conversation with him.     I did exactly that.   The words and phrases I used would have removed the paint from the walls.    We then returned to the Court room, the Judge asked me if I had said everything I wanted to Mr. M**** and I answered in the affirmative.   Thereupon, the Judge granted the relief that I had previously requested and continued the case until the disposition of the Circuit Court Action I filed was adjudicated.    Mr. M**** never appeared in against my client in any other case.    I had the distinct impression that he did not enjoy my company.
The O’leary case was an experience for me that I never anticipated.     I believed the all that stuff that I was taught in law school and literally believed that law enforcement was not corrupt.    I got a civics lesson for the ages.     Of course I heard all about corruption in Chicago and the influence of the Mafia.    I even knew people who were “Mafia!”     This stuff happened to other people.    I knew that ordinary people sometimes ran into difficulties and injustice occurred.     I knew all about the ‘fix’ and corrupt judges.     I had even been approached several times by Judges soliciting extra circular compensation.    One Judge even told me how much a judgment for my client was going to cost me/my client.    Indeed, I was aware that in Cook County if you were not a good Democratic Party member you were not going to be successful in the practice of law and I was also aware that the mafia rule applied – if you asked for a favor (or something) you were a debtor and you owed the organization   Once you made the compromise, you were IN and on the horizon stood a clear path.   
I was an observer as many of my law school classmates sold out principles in an effort to “move up the ladder.” .     It was not lost on me that T.B was working the “wards” paying alcoholics to go to the polls and vote, WS was essentially a bag man for Judge L*** (who would go to jail in  Operation Greylord), *****.       Opportunities abounded, but, I was married to the love of my life and her vision of life did not include the initiation fee that my classmates and others were paying.     With my clout, derived from my father’s family, I had a clear path.     Indeed, it was not an accident that I was surviving as a lawyer and I my caseload was unique.
In the O’Leary case I was confronted with a clear conflict with the ‘establishment!’     Cigarette taxation was a massive fund raiser for certain political elements who operated in what was a hybrid relationship between organized crime and the political establishment.     It funded both.     The cigarette habit created a multi billion dollar cash flow in cigarette taxes and a virtual monopoly for the unsavory elements of society.     Foreign States such as Indiana had independent political operations and their funding was also independent.    Thus, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, and other surrounding States had taxes on cigarettes were substantially less than that Illinois.    As the political and “outfit” greed reached a critical mass, ordinary Illinois citizens started to make purchasers in Interstate Commerce.     This event caused political and outfit coffers to have a lesser yield.    Thus, revenue agents were sent to the border to deliver a message.    This message was made clear when on Labor Day 1973 the agents watched sundry shops along Indianapolis Blvd at the Indiana/Illinois border.    The agents seized “likely examples” expecting the mainstream media to set up a hue and cry concerning TAX CHEATS!    
Every deed is properly punished.    A Chicago Tribune employee was caught in the sweep.    He and his young family were actually left stranded as “Revenue Agents” seized his vehicle, his luggage, and the couple of cartons of cigarettes that he had purchased in Indiana.    There were no ILLINOIS STAMPS on the cigarettes!      Fortuitously,  Tom O’Leary, called his friend and Tribune columnist **** and asked for help.    (At this point in time the Tribune was a ‘big family’ or a fraternity – being a Tribune employee meant that the organization and its other employees went the extra mile for you).    I received the call for help and I responded.   
My response was unexpected.    As Tom and his family were back home in Elmhurst,  I was outraged at the tactic and was not going to meekly negotiate a fine for my client and retreat into the hills.    This high=handedness needed to be addressed.    Thus, I filed a Civil Rights lawsuit in the Federal Court and a separate lawsuit in Circuit Court to challenge the enforcement effort.    The Tribune brass apparently “loved it!”    The Establishment became livid.   The judges  enjoyed the effort and were more than sympatric.      My examination of Investigator Jeffery K was a classic.
Mr. K***,  did you observe the O’Leary vehicle breaking any laws when first saw it cross the Illinois border from Indiana?
Ans:  No Sir
Why did you stop the vehicle?
Ans:  I saw some suspicious people in the vehicle.
Were all the people in the vehicle suspicious?
Ans:  Yes, all of them.
I thereupon picked up five year old Mary, who was wearing a red dress, placed her on my arm, walked to the front of the courtroom and asked:
                Mr. K*** what did you see suspicious concerning this young lady?
The Courtroom erupted with laughter.    The Judge lead the chorus.    The gallery rolled in the aisles.     More was to come.     The enforcers of the public morals were literally being laughed out of the Court house.      
The Director of Revenue and the Governor were beyond livid.    The political establishment was rocked by defections and was the butt of many jokes.     
A day later the Daley Center foundations were again shaken with laughter.     The State was putting on its defense and trying to justify its enforcement procedure.      Investigators were groomed by Assistant Attorney Generals to give cogent and precise testimony as to the enforcement procedure and the urgent need of the State of Illinois.    To bolster their testimony the investigators spent much of the night rewriting their reports and in particular their reports that related to the Labor Day massacre.      
One investigator was so outraged by the subordination of perjury that was being promulgated that she called had a message delivered to me to inform me of the events that were transpiring at the Offices of the Illinois Department of Revenue.   She also furnished me with copies of the original reports that she clandestinely obtained.    Thus, the next morning commenced with the lead investigator testifying according to his script.    On cross-examination I pulled out a copy of the incident report that was furnished that morning by the Attorney General and matched it with the report that my “spy” at the IDR had provided.     
My cross was benign as I led him through his report and the “undercover” investigation that led to the mass arrests of labor day travelers such as Tom O’Leary and his family.        To the uninitiated observer it appeared that I was frustrated by the detail and clarity of the report, until,  I stopped dead in my tracks, looked at the witness and asked:  “When did you write this report?”   The answer was:
“last night”
The Judge exploded!     He screamed  “LAST NIGHT!!!!!”     Morrie Bromberg, the assistant AG jumped from his chair, knocked over the pitcher of water sitting on the counsel table, looked at the irate judge literally screaming and froze!   
As If turning a page, the Judge turned to me and said, Mr. Ditkowsky prepare a Petition for a Rule as to Why the Director of Revenue ought not be held in criminal contempt of Court.
The Establishment having been caught trying to maneuver the Justice System did not take their being caught in a criminal enterprise quietly.    
1.       A special form suggesting that I was a tax cheat was delivered to the Department of the Treasury (IRS).      I received that usual gut cleaning audit, but,  I honestly reported my income and expenses and passed.    The IRS was not deaf, dumb or blind and after the audit was complete I had conversations with the public corruption unit.
2.        a criminal investigation was commenced by the DuPage County Sheriff as to something or other.    It was fortuitous that I except for a previous run-in with a bigwig in the Republican Party and a major shopping center developer that had all be resolved,  I had no contacts with DuPage County.    They could investigate till the cows came home.
3.       A break in occurred at my office.  What was unusual about this event was the fact that nothing (except of light blub) was stolen, and
4.       I discovered that my older daughter was a radio personality – her telephone conversations were being broadcast at the far end of the radio dial.     In fact a sweep revealed that a target of the KGB investigation had more privacy that my family had.   
5.       It appeared that a “mail cover” was also imposed as communications took an extra day and ½. To reach the office.

Having H H as a friend proved very helpful.     On one of our weekend bike rides I disclosed to him the events that we occurring and the options I was considering.     After I unburdened myself, he looked me square in the eye and said:  “Ruby Andrews!”    The Achilles heel had been revealed.    A few days later another explosion erupted!       One of my Sauganash neighbors suggested that it would be nice if I would put my name in to be appointed a Judge by the Supreme Court of Illinois.     He suggested that there were some important people who felt that it would be very nice if I was elevated to the bench and he could arrange it.
What he did not tell me, but I knew from the IRS unit was that Illinois tax stamps were mass produced at a Chicago plant.    This plant just happened to be owned and operated by another neighbor of mine.    The State purchased a certain number of tax revenue stamps and out a back door the outfit purchased the balance.    Thus, in Illinois we had three levels of cigarettes sold at your local store.    Cartons of cigarettes for which the 14% cigarette sales tax was actually paid,  Cartons of cigarettes that were furnished by an outfit related distributor, and those that bore either no stamps or those bearing stamps from a foreign State – such as Indiana.     The IDR brass were in essence protecting the outfit product from competition from foreign States such as Indiana merchants.
A few days after two plus two (i.e. the relationship between the enforcement efforts and the government) several of the investigators resigned, Investigator Bill Benson was fired, and hell was burning.     The Governor ordered that all revenue stamps have serial number on them and the IRS agents swarmed over the plant producing the stamps.    Tina L*** looked out her kitchen window and noticed that for several days a vehicle with a man sitting in it was parked behind my garage.    She called the Police.     My cousin and another police commander  assigned to the local police station paid a visit to the man in the parked vehicle.    They were hostile to my visitor and he confessed that he was waiting for me and had been commissioned to make me repent for my meanness to his employer -= the Director of Revenue of the State of Illinois.
He was persuaded to seek another type of employment, and a Chicago Tribune reporter was contacted.   This reporter delivered a message.     The Director of the IDR promptly sought employment in another State.      He was advised by the reporter that he (the director) was to be henceforth a health insurance policy for me.     I was grateful.     The Director accepted employment in Pennsylvania.       We had lunch several times thereafter.       The O’Leary case was “fixed” in the Supreme Court of Illinois.   Willard Ice, an attorney for the IDR was careless and his drafts of the Supreme Court decision found their way to me.   The Court in entering its decision did not change a word.    

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