City Hall in the dock

Chi Trib has a story about City Hall hiring practices that promises a lot -- "Politics, jobs linked by ex-top city aides: 2 say mayor's office involved in decisions" -- but gets so complicated that by the end you not only are ambivalent about the promise but aren't quite sure who's on first, to use an old Abbott & Costello expression.  The story has a triple byline and reads as if all three took a crack at it, splitting the middle when they disagreed. 
The lead,

Political job recommendations were funneled through Mayor Richard Daley's office in a widely known and long-accepted practice at City Hall, two former Daley aides contend in court papers filed Wednesday

is straightforward enough.  The prosecuting Feds say it's "massive fraud" meant to circumvent a longstanding injunction vs. political hiring -- "the Shakman decree," we read. 

Then there's something about "an attempt by the defendants" to pry loose from a court-appointed monitor materials she says she needs to stop political hiring. 

And then there's why the defendants want the materials. 

And then something about "federal authorities" not having interviewed any of the presumably relevant ex-Daley aides. 

And then a concession by defendants about a hiring "clearinghouse" at the Hall and their lawyer's disavowing any attempt to slime Daley to save his clients -- here paraphrased to make sense of what the story has or spell out what it hints at. 

And then their lawyer's arguing why he should get the materials based on others' previously getting similar materials.  (But he got them this time, didn't he?  [See below]  How else would the Trib know about it?) 

The U.S. prosecutor who got them in 1997, now in private practice and not available.  For what?  To bolster the defense contention that they should get materials they already have?  [See below]

And finally the city's law dept. saying they don't know nothing about nothing in 1997 and furthermore do not consider the mayor guilty of nothing.

There's some good stuff here, I think, but if I have to go back over it, translating into English, as Daily News' Bill Mooney used to say, then either I'm losing it from too much blood pressure medicine, a distinct possibility, or somebody in the Trib who knows how to write did not show up for work yesterday.  (Dock him.)

(OK.  Just re-read lead.  It's about what defendants "contend."  OK.  They don't have the papers yet.  I get it, I get it.  Finally.)

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