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With Daley Thompson Guilty Verdict, Clock Begins Ticking To Appoint New 11th Ward Alderman

The Bridgeport official was found guilty Monday on federal tax fraud charges. State law requires the two-term alderman to step down from City Council.

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) at a City Council meeting in February 2020.
Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has approximately two months to choose a new alderman of the 11th Ward after a federal jury on Monday decided Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) is guilty of lying to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and undervaluing his income on tax returns. 

The jury announced its decision Monday, the same day federal prosecutors and Thompson’s defense attorneys presented their closing arguments in the trial that began last week. The trial was marked by prosecutors and defense attorneys attempting to paint different pictures of Thompson, the grandson of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and the first sitting alderman to go before a jury in more than 20 years.  

Related: Defense in Daley Thompson case rests its case with closing arguments expected Monday 

Related: Prosecutors argue Daley Thompson knowingly lied to feds, underreported income while attorney paints him as ‘frazzled,’ forgetful  

Illinois law requires Thompson, who was elected alderman in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, to resign his position as alderman since a felony conviction is considered a “disqualifying crime.” 

Once Thompson resigns, Lightfoot has 60 days to fill the aldermanic vacancy in the 11th Ward. Lightfoot will be required to appoint a new alderman with the consent of the City Council, and the new alderman’s term will last until Thompson’s current term is up in 2023.  

“Alderman Patrick Thompson has been judged by a jury of his peers and found guilty,” Lightfoot wrote in a statement emailed to The Daily Line Monday evening. “This week, we will be outlining an open and transparent process to fill the vacancy with a qualified public servant that represents the values of the residents of the 11th Ward and the City of Chicago.”

The felony conviction also disqualifies Thompson from running for elected office again unless he is pardoned. 

The 10-page indictment handed up last April by a grand jury alleged that in 2018, Thompson lied twice to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) when he understated the outstanding loans he took out from Washington Federal Bank for Savings. Additionally, Thompson knowingly undervalued his income on each annual tax return he filed between 2014 and 2018, the indictment alleges.   

Related: Thompson slams ‘false’ indictment, blames ‘incorrect memory’ for fudged income reporting   

Between 2011 and 2014, when he was a commissioner on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Thompson took out $219,000 in loans from the Washington Federal Bank for Savings, according to the indictment. But the bank failed in 2017, and when the FDIC sought to reimburse account holders, Thompson reported that he “owed $100,000 or $110,000,” which was less than half of his actual debt burden.   

Additionally, the indictment alleges that Thompson lied on his 2013 income tax returns when he claimed a $32,259 home mortgage interest deduction and he “knew he did not pay mortgage interest in the amount reported on the return.” Thompson claimed the deduction each of the next four years, ultimately reporting less taxable income than he actually earned, according to the indictment.  

Thompson’s defense rested its case on Friday without testimony from Thompson. His attorneys attempted to paint Thompson as a “frazzled” and over-scheduled man who wasn’t aware of what was going on.  

Thompson sits on seven City Council committees, including many of the most prominent committees that meet regularly and often rule on controversial proposals. He is a member of the City Council’s Committee on Ethics and Government OversightCommittee on Workforce DevelopmentCommittee on Committees and RulesCommittee on FinanceCommittee on Transportation and Public WayCommittee on Public Safety and Committee on Budget and Government Operations

During his trial, Thompson already missed a key committee vote last week when members of the public safety committee for the second time this year met to consider Lightfoot’s appointment (A2021-172) of Andrea Kersten to serve as chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Aldermen ultimately voted 9-6 to approve Kersten’s nomination, sending the proposal for a vote during this month’s City Council meeting. 

Committee approval followed a contentious meeting in January when several aldermen cited concerns about a report Kersten oversaw recommending discipline for the late Officer Ella French even though she had been killed in the line of duty.  

RelatedLightfoot’s pick to lead COPA stalls as aldermen cite concerns with report including slain officer’s name  

Spokespeople for Thompson and Lightfoot did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.