Former Chicago Ald. Ed Vrdolyak sentenced to 18 months on tax evasion conviction

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of the most recognized and notorious members of the Chicago City Council of the 1970s and 80s was sentenced to prison again Friday

Former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak was given an 18-month sentence Friday for an income tax evasion conviction.

Vrdolyak earned the nickname "Fast Eddie" for his back-room deal-making skills, and, once again, the law caught up to him.

"To be convicted twice, for really three different sets of crimes, is most unusual," said UIC Political Science Professor Dick Simpson.

Vrdolyak was once a man so powerful in City Hall that he confidently claimed the gavel and called the shots on his own terms.

"Maybe I got too much of the 10th Ward in me," Vrdolyak confidently said in his heyday. "Maybe when someone always told me something I didn't like and they were wrong, I picked up the phone, or if I could grab them, I'd tell them what I thought of 'em."

"He was known as 'Fast Eddie' because he cut corners, but he always seemed to be able to stay ahead of the law," Simpson said.

That was, until federal law caught up with him.

"He's liked money. He is a millionaire and he got some of that money in some pretty shady ways," Simpson added.

For the second time in the past decade, the former alderman and mayoral candidate has been convicted of financial crimes. This time in relation to millions of dollars he and a fellow lawyer took in from the state's settlement with tobacco companies in the 90s.

In 2010 he was sentenced to 10 months in a federal prison for his role in a real estate kickback scheme, making him part of a storied dirty side of Chicago's history.

"We have had more aldermen than any city in America go to prison," Simpson said.

For "Fast Eddie," it will be a slow walk back to federal prison. The judge said he's not about to send a very ill 82-year-old convicted criminal to serve prison time during a pandemic and recommended a medical center in Rochester for Vrdolyak to serve his sentence.

Vrdolyak was also given two years supervised release and a $40,000 fine for the tax evasion conviction.

The court will reconvene on a reporting date in three months.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.