Ex-con Al Sanchez seeks William Beaver`s old County Board seat - KMSP-TV

Ex-con Al Sanchez seeking William Beaver`s old County Board seat

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Al Sanchez served 2 1/2 years for his part in the hired trucks scandal, convicted of fixing promotions and hiring at City Hall to benefit the HDO -- a powerful Hispanic political organization that worked for Mayor Daley.

But, even after that bitter experience, Sanchez says he's eager to get back in the political arena.

"What I did, I was a scapegoat for a system that's been in place as long as time and it still goes on," Sanchez said in an interview with FOX 32's Dane Placko.

Al Sanchez looks good these days. He lost 50 pounds during his time in federal lockup and at 65, it'll help him as he prepares for the political fight of his life.

"I've been in public service for over 30 years," he said. "I know we did a phenomenal job with the city. We had great people working there and I think we can do the same thing as representative of this area for the county."

For years, Sanchez was a familiar TV presence during storms and blizzards, leading Chicago's massive Department of Streets and Sanitation. But federal prosecutors say he also led a patronage army of political workers for the Daley administration, which resulted in his conviction as part of the hired trucks scandal.

Sanchez says he never did the hiring; he only gave recommendations.

"And I don't think there's nothing wrong with recommending someone who does politics," Sanchez said. "I think that's your constitutional right."

"If he wants to run, he has the right to run," Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore said of Sanchez's decision to seek a County Board seat. "It's up to the people to decide whether or not they want him."

Moore currently holds the seat Sanchez is running for. Moore himself was appointed just last April, following the conviction of former Commissioner William Beavers on federal tax fraud charges. Beavers reported to prison this week.

Moore won't criticize Sanchez's decision to run--except to say this: "A lot of people feel that if you've been convicted of a felony, you shouldn't be able to interview or get a job, but still you can hold public office. It doesn't seem right."

When asked how he's going to handle the possibility of his opponents using his past against him, Sanchez said: "Well, I'm going to take it back to the people. The people know I got a bad deal here. I should not have gone to prison, especially two years in prison for what I did. There wasn't a penny, there wasn't a dime, There wasn't any money involved."

Sanchez isn't the only ex-con running for the County Board. Former Alderman Ike Carrothers did prison time for taking bribes. He's running for the seat held by retiring Commissioner Erlean Collins.

Under the law, neither man could run a city office, like alderman, mayor or clerk, but the ban does not apply to county, state or federal offices.

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