Vrdolyak re-sentenced to 10 months in prison

October 15, 2010 (CHICAGO)

He was resentenced Friday for his conviction linked to a real estate kickback scheme.

Vrdolyak was resentenced after an appeals court tossed out his original sentence of five years probation.

Prosecutors said they were "appreciative" of the sentence.

Vrdolyak left court without speaking to reporters. Earlier Friday, he sat stone-faced as Judge Matthew Kennelly handed down the sentence: 10 months of prison time, following by five months of work release and five months of home confinement. Vrdolyak was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.

"Judge Kennelly has ratified what we said in this case - this was a sophisticated crime with an active, sophisticated participant by Mr. Vrdolyak," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner.

Vrydolyak pleaded guilty to fraud in 2008 for his role in a million-and-a-half dollar real estate kickback scheme.

His initial sentence included no prison time: only five years probation, a fine, and community service, but a federal appeals court overturned it, saying the sentence was too light.

On Friday, Vrdolyak told the judge he was sorry, calling his crime "dumb", "stupid", and "wrong".

"This has been a very long and difficult ordeal for Mr. Vrdolyak and his family, and he is very happy that it is over and that he can get on with his life," said Vrdolyak attorney Michael Monico.

Vrdolyak, a former 10th Ward alderman who mounted two failed bids for mayor, is synonymous with Chicago's racially-charged "Council Wars" of the 1980s, when he led the opposition in the city council to then-Mayor Harold Washington. He was known as a deal-maker with sharp elbows and an even-sharper tongue.

"I didn't think the government would have been this harsh in their pleadings, and in their argument, if his name wasn't Vrdolyak," saud Monico.

On Friday, his attorneys urged the judge to consider Vrdolyak the man, not the politician, citing hundreds of hours of community service that he has completed, including his work in organizing a fundraiser last year for needy children that was attended by political and sports heavyweights.

Before the sentence was handed down, defense attorneys presented several letters written on Vrdolyak's behalf by friends and associates emphasizing his work for the benefit of the public and charities.

Judge Kennelly said he considered the letters as well as Vrdolyak's age, 72 years old, in determining the punishment.

Vrdolyak is expected to surrender January 19th at an undisclosed prison location.

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