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Chicago Official Accused of File Shredding

April 11, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) _ Mayor Richard M. Daley’s former patronage chief was accused by federal prosecutors Monday of ordering files to be shredded to keep them from investigators looking into corruption at City Hall.

The claim was made in a document filed in advance of the May 10 mail fraud trial of former patronage chief Robert Sorich and three other men.

``At some point in the past few years, Sorich told his secretary to shred the contents of the political hiring files in her file cabinets,″ according to court papers. ``She did so on Sorich’s instruction.″

Sorich, 43, and the three other defendants are charged with rigging job interviews and faking scores to camouflage the use of political clout as the basis for deciding who got on the city payroll. The four have pleaded not guilty. A fifth defendant, Daniel Katalinic, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors say the alleged fraud was designed to dodge a 30-year-old court order that bars using patronage to fill most city jobs.

Sorich attorney Thomas Anthony Durkin shrugged off the allegations in the 91-page document: ``If it takes them 91 pages it’s going to be fun to see them try to explain it to a jury.″

Prosecutors say that in March 1997 a grand jury investigating corruption at City Hall subpoenaed the mayor’s office of intergovernmental affairs, where Sorich was patronage chief, to get records of how 10 individuals were selected for jobs in the water department.

Within days of being interviewed by the FBI, Sorich told a computer worker that he ``wanted to erase everything on his computer,″ according to the papers.

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