Carol Marin Reports: Cicero Legal Bills, Rural Heroin, Rape, PTSD

Four NBC 5 News special reports presented by Carol Marin on the legal bills of Cicero, IL, the heroin problem in rural IL, The Voices and Faces Project, and American soldiers with PTSD.

00:03Copy video clip URL Camera fades into NBC 5 News anchors Allison Rosati and Warner Saunders who introduce Carol Marin’s special report on former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak and various law firms profiting heavily as legal consultants to the town of Cicero, IL.

00:17Copy video clip URL Marin introduces the story and says she was “amazed” by the money paid to Vrdolyak’s law firm by taxpayers in Cicero and that “some of Chicago’s top law firms” profit from it as well.

00:36Copy video clip URL Footage of Cicero town buildings and picketers. A man says: “we were told that because of a budget we were laid off and no longer needed.” 

00:58Copy video clip URL Close up of Vrdolyak. Marin says that Vrdolyak makes almost $250/hr in legal fees from the town of Cicero. 

01:06Copy video clip URL Marin walks alongside a long line of paper bills laid on the floor of a hallway. Marin says these are all the legal fees for Cicero since 1998, which “reads like a who’s who of Chicago law firms.” Marin says the total $19,731,000 was paid to outside lawyers by Cicero tax payers. 

01:38Copy video clip URL Marin says the list of legal fees contains “non-legal” items, such as those paid to the lobbying firm of Ronan Potts, as well as special counsel fees for former Chicago Alderman Ray Frias. Intercut with footage of the Kluczynski Federal Building as well as news footage of Frias. 

02:20Copy video clip URL Footage of the outside of the office of Cicero Town President Ramiro Gonzalez. Marin says Gonzalez declined to be interviewed, but his political opponent State Senator Martin Sandoval says the “quality of life” of people in Cicero is not better under the current leadership. 

02:40Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin says Frias gave a statement by phone that his Cicero work was done “outside of his state job” and that his work is finished. Marin discusses the stated reasons for Cicero’s legal fees with the anchors, relaying that Cicero leadership says they “get sued a lot.” 

03:20Copy video clip URL Cut to static. 

03:23Copy video clip URL Rosati introduces Marin for a story on heroin in rural Illinois. 

04:02Copy video clip URL Camera pans up on a water tower displaying the words “Spring Valley.” A woman says: “We had what other people would look at as a dream family…but what went on inside those walls was not a dream family.” The woman is introduced as Julie.

04:14Copy video clip URL A still image of a young man smiling, who Marin says is Julie’s son Stephen that was arrested for heroin possession. Julie says the first picture she saw of Stephen after he was arrested “didn’t even resemble the child that I knew.” 

04:36Copy video clip URL Footage of an Illinois undercover officer driving a truck. According to the officer, Spring Valley “is a small town with a big heroin problem.”

04:52Copy video clip URL Footage of Marin and Julie walking outside. Julie says Stephen “got hooked” in high school, and would later make several trips a day to the west side of Chicago to “feed his addiction” until he was arrested. Mugshot of Stephen. Julie says she “slept so well” because she knew her son wouldn’t die that night.  

05:29Copy video clip URL Marin interviews Illinois State Representative Frank Mautino, who talks about the rise in heroin related deaths and quotes an 18-year-old who says heroin is easier to find than alcohol for someone underage. 

05:50Copy video clip URL Footage of Marin walking outside. Marin says heroin users supply their habit by selling to others. Inside a State Police building, an Assistant State’s Attorney for LaSalle county says heroin is “far worse than any other drug we’ve seen” and that there is a direct correlation between heroin and a rise in theft. 

06:19Copy video clip URL Footage of a for sale sign outside Julie’s farm. Marin says the heroin problem was “impossible to ignore” for Julie, whose son and now divorced husband are both serving time for possession. Julie describes them as “no longer father and son” but as “drug buddies.” Intercut with mugshots. Marin says people listening might think this “can’t happen to their family,” to which Julie replies “baloney.” Julie says she will “move on” after selling her house. Marin says Stephen becomes eligible for parole soon, and Julie says she “prays everyday” that her “son’s bottom is not death.” 

07:14Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin says Julie’s problem “is not isolated” and that authorities are “fighting as hard as they can.” 

07:41Copy video clip URL Cut to static. 

07:46Copy video clip URL Saunders and Rosati introduce Marin for a story on four women who are “trying to put a face” on rape. 

08:16Copy video clip URL Sequence of shots of the founding members of The Voices and Faces Project, Anne Ream, Christa Desir, Sasha Walters, and Katie Feifer, who each describe the circumstances of their individual sexual assaults. 

09:18Copy video clip URL Footage of Ream and photographer Patsy Evans looking at photo negatives. Marin says Ream began asking rape survivors to tell their stories and Evans would photograph them, which started the project. Intercut with black and white photo portraits. 

09:41Copy video clip URL Feifer says while there is less shame now for things such as therapy and addiction, “we still are not talking about rape.” 

09:55Copy video clip URL Panning shot of Chicago skyline. Marin says the number of reported rapes across the country is declining according to law enforcement. Walters says the numbers at the rape crisis center she works at have risen 10% each of the last three years. Feifer says only 1 in 10 survivors of sexual assault report it to police. Ream says “you have to be pretty courageous” to come forward, and she hopes the project will take away some barriers to this. 

10:38Copy video clip URL Marin describes how Feifer was asked to testify at a murder trial of her convicted rapist. Feifer describes the decision to testify as “hard” and “traumatic” but “worth all the pain that it caused” her and “was absolutely the right thing to do.” Feifer describes being “completely open” about what happened to her, and how other survivors were comforted by her sharing her story.

11:29Copy video clip URL Sequence of slow zooms on the faces of Feifer, Walters, Ream, and Desir as Marin describes each of their professions.

11:45Copy video clip URL Marin asks the women if rape survivors ever “get over it.” Feifer says: “I didn’t ask for this to happen. I would not want…this to be a part of my life.”

12:00Copy video clip URL Marin asks how many women have been raped while they’ve been talking for about two hours. Ream replies: “One every two minutes…so, sixty.”

12:17Copy video clip URL Desir says: “If we don’t say something, then it keeps going, it keeps happening.”

12:22Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin says The Voices and Faces Project launched their own website and plans to publish a book. 

12:41Copy video clip URL Cut to static. 

12:44Copy video clip URL Saunders and Rosati introduce Marin for a story on American Soldiers with PTSD. Marin warns viewers that “some of the images are very graphic.”

13:15Copy video clip URL Footage of soldiers firing weapons. Army Reserve Sergeant Mike Johnson on a farm, who says: “I think that it’s an accumulation of everything…I think that it builds up, and builds up, and builds up.” Intercut with footage of large explosions. Johnson says: “Whether you’re in war one day or a hundred days, I think that that sticks with you.”

13:35Copy video clip URL Marin sits on a wagon with Johnson, and asks him about PTSD. Johnson talks about being an outgoing person, but that his wife Sherry Johnson noticed him withdrawing. 

13:47Copy video clip URL Sequence of still images of Johnson and his wife, whom he met while they were both training to be nurses for the armed forces. Marin says that between deployments in the first Gulf War and Afghanistan Johnson was diagnosed with PTSD.

14:11Copy video clip URL Johnson says: “After we came back from Afghanistan, it really hit me hard seeing all the children over there.” Sequence of still images of severely injured children in medical tents. 

14:36Copy video clip URL Still image of PFC Adam Thomas. Marin says Johnson didn’t know Thomas, but when his body was brought to him to prepare to return home he was struck by him and wears his name on a bracelet. 

14:58Copy video clip URL Panning shot of multiple pill bottles. Johnson says: “I take a lot of medications so that I’m able to sleep.” Johnson discusses nightmares and panic attacks with Marin, and that he’s “always looking for a safe place.” 

15:13Copy video clip URL Sequence of shots of Johnson’s farm, animals, and wife outside Chicago. Marin says the farm is his “safe place,” and quips people might wonder how he could have trouble sleeping there as it’s “so restful,” to which Johnson says: “because I have a war going on in my mind.” 

15:30Copy video clip URL Footage outside of the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. Marin says Johnson drives here every Friday to be part of a veteran’s support group. The psychiatrist who runs the clinic says “these guys have seen death happen all around them, and when they come back here, that importance of life is sometimes lost.” 

15:50Copy video clip URL Sequence of graphics showing stylized footage of soldiers in Iraq complete with PTSD related statistics. 

16:07Copy video clip URL Still image of the Johnsons. Marin and Sherry Johnson talk on a porch. Johnson said she knew she had PTSD six months after returning home from deployment. She said she was “crying all the time” and just wanted to “hide out.” Marin asks how she’d feel if she got called back, and Johnson says: “I’d have to go, but I don’t know if I’m ready.” 

16:53Copy video clip URL Footage of an American Flag flying over the Johnson farm. Marin and Mike Johnson walking. Marin says he’s expecting a medical discharge, but Johnson adds if called back he’d go “in a heartbeat.” 

17:14Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin says the US government expects 18% of soldiers in Iraq and 11% in Afghanistan will be diagnosed with PTSD. 

17:39Copy video clip URL Cut to static.

18:10Copy video clip URL Tape ends. 




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