Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a high near 38 degrees. Tonight will also be mostly cloudy, with a low around 27 degrees. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow and rain and a high near 35 degrees.
The president of a Bridgeport bank for years directed a longtime employee to alter its books as part of a larger criminal conspiracy to falsely make it look like now-Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) made payments on a loan there, court records allege.
Now that worker, Alicia Mandujano, has become the first person to plead guilty as a result of the massive investigation that has swirled for years since the failure of Washington Federal Bank for Savings and the death of its president, John Gembara, both in 2017.
Mandujano pleaded guilty during a virtual court hearing today to a conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. She admitted that, at Gembara’s direction, she helped cover up the embezzlement of $66 million from the bank founded in 1913.
The new allegations concerning Thompson are included in Mandjuano’s 27-page plea agreement. It alleges that Thompson received three loan distribution checks from the bank between 2011 and 2014. Twice, at Gembara’s direction, it said Mandujano gave Thompson checks “that were in excess of the principal amount on Thompson’s note.”
On all three occasions, it said, Thompson picked up the checks from Gembara at the bank.
Then, between 2012 and 2017, when Thompson did not make monthly loan payments, Gembara instructed Mandujano to alter records to make it appear as though he had, “including by advancing interest payments and then adding those amounts to the principal balance of his loan,” according to the plea agreement.
More news you need
- An off-duty Chicago police officer shot three people last night during an argument at a bowling alley in Blue Island, according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. The conditions of the victims weren’t known at the time of publishing, but COPA says no fatalities were reported.
- Three people were wounded in a shooting this morning in Parkway Gardens. A group of people were on a sidewalk when someone wearing a red jogging suit approached and started firing, Chicago police said.
- Concern mixed with optimism as thousands of Chicago students returned to school today after five days of canceled classes. The return was the result of a bitter fight between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools over COVID-19 safety protocols.
- The Joffrey Ballet and Court Theatre are postponing two highly anticipated winter productions due to the COVID-19 surge. For the Joffrey, “Don Quixote” will be pushed to June 2-12 and for the Court, “The Lady From the Sea” will run Feb. 25 through March 27.
- Nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced today and Sun-Times media critic Richard Roeper has some thoughts. Roeper breaks down the nominations and reveals his picks here.
A bright one
Activist, suffragist, journalist — Ida B. Wells was one who fought injustices throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, more than 90 years after her death, the NAACP co-founder will be honored by Mattel with her own Barbie doll.
The doll, which is set to hit stores Monday, features Wells in a dark, navy blue dress with a high collar, low-heeled boots with buttons along the side and her natural hair swept back from her face.
The doll, according to Barbie’s Twitter account, is part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series, “spotlighting heroes who inspire us to dream big.”
Wells joins a host of other historical, trailblazing Black women Mattel has highlighted over the years, including Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou and Ella Fitzgerald.
Wells’ life of activism began at age 22, when she was thrown off a train for refusing to sit in the African American designated seats.
Her activism included leading a crusade against the barbaric lynching of African Americans by racist whites across the Jim Crow South in the 1890s. In 2020, her work was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in Special Citations and Awards.
From the press box
- Former Cubs left-hander Jon Lester announced his retirement from professional baseball today after 200 big league wins and three World Series titles.
- What does George McCaskey want in a coach, anyway? Patrick Finley tries to figure it out.
- Midway through the college basketball season, Steve Greenberg takes tabs on Illinois, Loyola, Northwestern and DePaul.
- Public League basketball’s biggest game in roughly two years saw Simeon take down Kenwood last night. Michael O’Brien has more from the Wolverines’ win.
Your daily question ☕
CPS parents — how are you feeling about the return to in-person learning this week?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday we asked you: Would you ever quit being a Bears fan? Tell us why or why not.
Here’s what some of you said…
“Quit being a Bears fan? Only if ownership took no accountability, had a poor track record, and bad-mouthed former players. But that’ll never happen — oh wait.” — Matt Gorecki
“I’ll always be a Bears fan. You don’t abandon your loyalty because they’re not winning. It’s like kicking a friend when they’re down.” — Sandra Barber
“Not in this lifetime or the next. My Veins bleed blue and orange! I may be mad at the decisions of management sometimes, but this is still my team no matter where they go or what they do. Bear Fanatic Lifer. #34forever.” — Ric Dorrough
“I’m past my breaking point with the team. They obviously do not care about how the team is run why should I care about the lack of product they put on the field. The only way they will take notice is if we hit them where it hurts, in their pocketbook and bottom line.” — Dennis Kollpainter
“No, but they make it really hard to be a fan sometimes!” — Beth Pawlowski
“I did about seven years ago. This entire organization is a joke. They are still living off of the ‘85 Bears and they should move on. Along with those players and coaches. Until this franchise gets a complete overhaul, you can keep them.” — Harry Smith
“I would never quit being a Bears fan. Everything goes through cycles. I wish they were a better ran franchise with a sustainable winning record. You take the ups with the downs, just like in life.” — Jeff Stebel
“Why not” They quit being a football team.” — Erica Salem
“I’m a fan-in-exile. I’m not watching them, listening to them, buying anything, or anything that knowingly gives them money until they get their act together.” — Nick Cincotti
“No, because I will always be from Chicago and the Bears have been in my family all of my life — win or lose!” — Jennifer Lawson
“Yes, I’m now a Packers fan and I’m happy.” — Adam Firks
Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.