When Springfield State Journal Register columnist Bernard Schoenburg quoted Gov. Blagojevich's administration aide Julie Curry on Dec. 1 saying she believed omni-connected lobbyist and River Forest resident Alfred Ronan had been bought out by partner John Potts and was retiring, we waited for reaction in the major media. Yet three weeks after the fact, only one other news outlet has picked up the story?#34;the conservative website Illinois Leader.
Since Ronan, 56, lost his 12th District House seat in 1992 after 14 years in office, he has grown wealthy and powerful as a well-connected and aggressive lobbyist. Together with partner John Potts, Ronan grew Ronan Potts L.L.C. into what many considered the most powerful lobbying firm in Illinois. Along the way, Ronan and his wife, Catherine Adduci, 46, Unisys vice president and fellow registered lobbyist, moved into a lovely and spacious River Forest home overlooking the Dominican Priory fields. The couple rubbed elbows with a long list of powerful and notable people over the years.
But in February, Cicero terminated a $96,000/year lobbying contract as federal investigators increased their scrutiny of Ronan Potts LLC. While neither Ronan nor Potts were criminally charged, last month the firm pled guilty last month to one count of mail fraud, part of the "McPier" bid rigging. They were ordered to pay a total of $417,000 in fines and forfeitures, and placed it on two years probation.
Investigators from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office are now looking into a $42-million water project in Melrose Park. That project employed the consulting services of both longtime "consultant" Anthony Bruno and Ronan Potts LLC. According to public records, Ronan Potts gave Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico's campaign or his political party $5,300 between October, 1999 and January, 2002.
Correct that chart
In our Dec. 8 issue, we incorrectly identified the right-hand column of a chart reflecting the "approximate yearly financial impact to taxpayers" of a park district referendum. The top of the column should have read "per one-cent tax rate increase," not per 25-cent tax rate increase. We regret the error.