[Vito Marzullo raw #9]

Raw tape #9 for Vito Marzullo documentary - "Checkbook journalism." Continuation of previous footage of Marzullo and one of his precinct captains in the ward office. Also contains footage of director Tom Weinberg and Vito Marzullo looking through the 25th Ward Democratic Organization's checkbook and ad book, as well as an explanation of the ward's finances.

00:00Copy video clip URL The precinct captain (introduced in raw tape #8) tells how Marzullo unified business people, politicians, and clergy since becoming alderman of the 25th ward. “He’s on the job 24 hours,” he says. “You talk to any businessman on Cermak Road or in the area, or talk to any civic organization, and they all have the highest regard for him for the simple reason that he performs.”

01:49Copy video clip URL The two men discuss the disrepair of sidewalks, a city-wide problem exacerbated by a lack of funding. Though the alderman says that he can occasionally secure temporary repairs, the city council is loath to repair one ward without fixing sidewalks everywhere, a multi-million dollar venture. “Where the sidewalk caves in, it looks like a bomb hit there,” said the precinct captain, hoping that the city council can find a solution. “It’s a problem that no individual can do much about,” Marzullo concludes.

05:55Copy video clip URL The precinct captain thanks Marzullo for a recent street sweeping project, one of the alderman’s latest actions to improve the neighborhood. The man also thanks Marzullo for advocating in court for the demolition of abandoned or fire-damaged buildings, which he did at the request of concerned citizens. The precinct captain and another citizen (off-camera) discuss issues surrounding the demolition of hazardous buildings at length.

12:16Copy video clip URL Tape cuts out, then resumes to find director Tom Weinberg and Marzullo looking through the alderman’s ad book, which they explain later in more detail. Marzullo states that operating expenses for the ward run about $50,000 to $60,000 per year before bringing out the 25th Ward Democratic Organization’s checkbook. Entries in the checkbook include expenses for services, donations to community groups, and donations that fund re-election campaigns for candidates in Marzullo’s organization. Weinberg asks about a check written for $100 for a man’s “defense fund dinner,” to which Marzullo replies, “Because he’s gotta go to court and he’s out of money, and he was a friend of mine when I was in the legislature with him.”

17:56Copy video clip URL Weinberg again turns his attention to the ad book. Marzullo explains the relationship between campaign contributions and the ad book, which contains advertisements from businessmen and politicians both inside and outside of the 25th ward. Marzullo also insinuates that revenue from the ad book, largely donated by his friends, supports his organization. Marzullo pages through the book, pausing to explain how he knows many of the donors. Tape ends mid-conversation.

 

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