John Christopher, Chicago, FBI discussed on American on the Line
Center for investigative reporting in p r x this is reveal I'm L. Listen, we've been hearing about a major FBI investigation in Chicago in the mid nineties caused a stir nationwide in Chicago today federal officials announced charges in what they call operation silver, shovel a wide ranging probe of public corruption. Operation silver, shovel lasted three and a half years at the heart of it all was John Christopher a man with an extensive criminal record a man who are working as an FBI informant. Dump six stories of construction debris in the west side neighborhood, north longdale residents there called the large and unsightly dumpsite the mountain, and they accused the federal government of allowing Christopher to continue dumping and poor and minority neighborhoods while using him to target public officials US attorney burnt denies the charge Robin Amer's been our God telling the story, she's the host of the new podcast from USA today called the city. And it looks at how power wielded in American cities. Hey, robin. Hey, al. So I guess the feds were happy with how operation silver shovel went down. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I mean by the time this wrapped up the feds would refer to operation silver shovel as one of the biggest and most successful corruption probes in Chicago history. They had investigated more than forty targets. Indicted a dozen politicians on corruption charges most of whom went to prison, and they had also used John Christopher to launder millions of dollars in old mob cash really hitting the outfit the Chicago, mafia where it hurt and even folded in a drug bust along the way. So this investigation was by their account, very successful. What about the people of Chicago where they happy to see all these corrupt politicians get jail time. Yes. And no the investigation did not play out in Chicago's neighborhoods. The way it played out on the nightly news. I almost all the targets of this investigation or black or. Latino. There was a lot of criticism of this and the government justified their results by saying, well, look, this is just how the operation unfolded one alderman would introduce us to another to another to another. It was all about their personal connections. And a lot of other people felt the trade not just by their elected officials who taken bribes. But by the investigation itself how so well in north Lonsdale. John Christopher's mountain was still standing by the time the takedown actually happened. This giant illegal construction, debris dump had loomed over the neighborhood for almost six years, and the FBI and the US attorney's office had no intention of removing it it wasn't part of the investigation or part of the take down. This is what Jim Davis who was the agent in charge of the investigation told me about this. I don't think that we had any obligation to clean up. Mount Henry because first of all it's not what we do. And we didn't create it. I mean, there are agencies that are responsible for cleaning up stuff like that. That's not our business. What about that? I mean, couldn't be EPA brought in to help clean up the dump well in theory, but the EPA looked at the situation and said, you know, there's no hazardous waste here. This is a municipal waste problem. It's not our job to clean this up. And so really the city was left holding the bell here. Of course, the city had already sued John, Christopher and one. But instead of forcing him to clean it up. He had just declared bankruptcy and had effectively disappeared and the FBI in giving John Christopher cover while he was an informant for them made. This problem worse for all the people who had been fighting him. We they said about him being a mole the something that we never even anticipated on one of my visits to north Lonsdale Rita, and Michelle Ashford told me that they were shocked to.