Former Chicago alderman pleads not guilty to tax charges

edwardvrdolyak

CHICAGO — Former Chicago Alderman Edward Vrdolyak has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the state of Illinois’ $9 billion tobacco settlement.

An indictment says Vrdolyak offered tens of millions of dollars in legal fees even though he did no legal work on the landmark civil case. He’s charged with breaking federal tax laws.

The 78-year-old appeared in Chicago federal court Tuesday, entering the not guilty plea before a judge who ordered him released on his own recognizance. His defense attorney, Michael Monico, spoke to reporters in the courthouse lobby, calling the case “disturbing.” Monico said Vrdolyak plans to “vigorously” contest the charges.

Vrdolyak is a prominent figure in the often-corrupt history of Chicago politics. He served a 10-month term in federal prison in 2011 in a $1.5 million real estate kickback scheme.