Ike Carothers joins 28 former alderman, including his own father, convicted of wrongdoing since 1972. Carothers was sentenced to 28 months in prison for accepting bribes and underreporting his income to the IRS. It is a sentence that was mutually agreed to between Carothers and prosecutors.
The once boisterous and powerful alderman of the 29th Ward is about to go to federal prison for over two years. Ike Carothers, who on the City Council floor was never shy about talking, let his attorney do the talking for him Thursday.
"I believe that Ike will emerge from this a better person, stronger person, a wiser person, and I fully expect that when he has completed his time he's gonna come back out and find ways to serve the community," said Jeff Steinbeck, Carothers' attorney.
Carothers, who resigned from his City Council post, pleaded guilty to corruption charges in February 2009. He led an effort to rezone a largely West Side manufacturing area, Galewood Yards, into new condos. In return, real estate developer Calvin Boender, paid for $40,000 in improvements including painting, new windows and central air conditioning for the alderman's home starting in 2004.
"As the judge recognized, this was a serious crime based on greed. The only reason why he didn't receive a stiffer sentence is because he agreed to come forward and cooperate with the government," said Brandon Fox, assistant U.S. attorney.
And cooperate he did. Carothers worked undercover for the feds by wearing a wire. Conversations with other public officials and businessman were secretly recorded. For his good work, prosecutors asked for Carothers' sentence to be reduced by half. The judge agreed.
"We don't want to discuss any specifics about his cooperation, but based on the extent of his cooperation, we thought 50 percent was appropriate," said Fox.
In the courtroom, Ike Carothers made a brief statement to the judge. Carothers apologized, and said, "I feel such a deep sense of regret for my terrible judgment."
Carothers will report to an undetermined federal prison on August 23. As for his cooperation with the federal government, Carothers attorney said the feds are not asking for anything further for Carothers reduced sentence.
Developer Calvin Boender was convicted at a trial. He is expected to be sentenced Friday.