I have seen over the last few months an attempt to link Steve Hoke to John Burge by claims that his brother, Michael Hoke, was a partner of Burge. I do not understand what bearing this has on politics in River Forest.

I do know Michael Hoke, and I have no doubt that he was a great detective when he worked for the Chicago Police Department. I am aware of his commitment to giving the people of Chicago the best he could. He demonstrated this commitment when he led the investigation into corrupt police officers in the Austin district in 1996.

I also am aware that in 1984 he was responsible for the first successful civil rights investigation in federal court in Chicago. The facts are that a black family moved into a house on the East Side of Chicago, Vrdolyak’s home neighborhood, and they were fire-bombed several days later. The FBI investigated and could not determine the culprits. Peter Wacks, a FBI special agent, approached then-Sgt. Hoke and requested his assistance. Hoke readily agreed and within a week had identified all of the offenders and obtained a confession from the ringleader. He provided this information to the FBI and all of the offenders were arrested and entered guilty pleas.

I am aware that then-Sgt. Hoke declined the opportunity to have the media make him a star regarding this matter. This is the man I know that he is. He would never condone anyone acting improperly. I also do not believe that he had any knowledge of any misconduct by John Burge or anyone else because he would have immediately taken steps to report that misconduct.

John Putney

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