A Pair For The Ages
To say the political landscape of Illinois of Tony Cermak’s day was corrupt is an understatement. Len Small, elected Treasurer of the state in the early 1900’s, embezzled more than $1 million from state funds, created a ghost bank and sold loans out at 8%. As Governor of Illinois in the 1920’s, Small ran a ‘pardon mill’ for the Mob that enabled gangsters, murderers, white slavers, and even cop killers to escape the law once convicted. His partner in malfeasance and crime was the legendary Mayor of Chicago, ‘Big Bill’ Thompson. In the chapters of American history, ‘Big Bill the Builder’ has few rivals in regard to unchecked graft, moronic buffoonery and barbaric crime. Put into office as a young ex-athlete of family means, Thompson did what he was told to do, by Republican bosses, by crooked businessmen, and finally, by Al Capone himself.