800 thousand dollars in shoe boxes

Authors Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson document many colorful and dubious characters in their book Corrupt Illinois.

An example (on page 1 of the book, even) would be former Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell, who left nearly a million dollars of cash bribes stuffed into shoe boxes to be found after his death.

“He had an estate worth millions and he did it all with a 30 thousand dollar a year salary,” Dick Simpson told Fox 32’s Mike Flannery. “I was very impressed with his thriftiness.”

Corrupt Illinois is about more than just grifting legislators and incarcerated ex-Governors, however. Gradel and Simpson examine the environment of “patronage, cronyism and criminality” to show why Illinois politics are corrupt and how a change in the system is possible and desirable.

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