CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Ald. Ed Vrdolyak has plead guilty to a tax charge tied to a tobacco settlement scheme.
The 81-year-old told the judge “I help out when I’m needed” referring to his law firm. The charge come from an indictment accusing him of tax evasion charges tied to money he allegedly collected from a tobacco lawsuit settlement he never actually worked on.
“It’s a relatively simple tax case. That’s all it’s about,” said Michael Monico, Vrdolyak’s attorney. “We appreciate that the government was fair in dealing with us and resolving the case. We’re happy that it’s over.”
The ex-alderman is expected to be sentenced in July.
Vrdolyak pleaded not guilty in 2016 to an indictment accusing him of tax evasion charges. The federal charge alleged he obstructed an IRS investigation into the tobacco settlement by hiding payments with Daniel P. Soso’s assistance.
Soso, 67, an attorney, pleaded guilty last month to one count of tax evasion in a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Dow. He was ordered to pay about $1.8 million in restitution to the IRS, and faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Vrdolyak — who earned the nickname “Fast Eddie” for his reputation for working backroom political deals while steering clear of criminal charges while he was a four-term alderman from 1971 to 1986 — allegedly worked out a deal to collect up to $65 million in legal fees from the tobacco case, although the charges do not specify how much money he actually was paid, or how much income tax he failed to pay.
In 2011, Vrdolyak went to federal prison for mail fraud.