Cook County Commissioner William Beavers pleaded not guilty Friday to
federal tax charges alleging he failed to pay taxes and used campaign
dollars for personal use.
Appearing in court for the first time on the charges, Beavers, who represents the 4th District, told reporters U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is using “Gestapo-like tactics” so elected officials will “tell on their friends.”
In 2009, the FBI asked him to wear a wire, Beavers said.
When Beavers denied speaking with the FBI without his attorney, Fitzgerald sent a letter to Beavers saying he was being investigated regarding his taxes, said his attorney Sam Adam Jr., who, along with his father Sam Adams Sr., represented former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during his first corruption trial.
Victor Henderson, another Beavers attorney, showed reporters the letter, which was dated April 24, 2009.
“The investigation started in 2009, this is 2012,” Beavers said. “What was (Fitzgerald) looking for? He thought I took some money from somebody, but he never did find it.”
“The IRS stepped off of this -- this is him.”
Beavers, who served as Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman from 1983 until 2006 when he was elected commissioner, is alleged to have paid himself more than $220,000 over a three-year period from his campaign funds for personal use. He is alleged to have used $68,000 in campaign funds to increase his council pension, according to the indictment.
Beavers, 77, said after his arraignment that he did no wrong because he loaned himself the money.
”The statue says you can loan yourself the money and put it back” he said, adding that he has the canceled checks that prove he paid back the money.
He didn’t report taxes on the loans, he said, because that’s not a federal law.
But after about five minutes of questions from reporters, Beavers left the press area. While walking out of the press area, he said, “I’m going to kick his ass,” referring to Fitzgerald.
“You can report that,” he said.
Adam Jr. said his client doesn’t owe a “dime in taxes.”
“The truth is like a burning torch,” Adams Jr. said in remarks after court. “The more you shake it, the brighter that flame gets, and he is out here telling the truth and he will be vindicated.”
A reporter asked Adam Jr. if he’s considered a plea deal for Beavers.
“I would rather take on the Iraqi army than suggest to my father that we plea anybody,” Adam Jr. responded. “Are you kidding me?”
Adam Jr. said he’d never plea a man that didn’t do anything wrong.
“I’m never going to plea a man that’s been a commissioner and been an alderman in this county, in this state and a police officer protecting babies out here in the streets,” he said.
“Plea him? Plea you.”
Beavers faces three counts of filing false tax returns for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Each count could come with a three-year maximum prison service in addition to a $250,000 fine, according to a release from the U.S. States Attorney Northern District of Illinois.
A status hearing will be held on April 6 at 10 a.m. Beavers is not required to attend, Judge James Zagel said.