Audit Notes: Sun-Times Daley Probe, CanadaCare Myths, Off the News

The Chicago Sun-Times has a dandy investigation today reporting that the son of former Mayor Richard Daley made skads of money when the city signed a deal for wifi service in the city’s airports. To make matters worse, the Daley administration denied for years that Patrick Daley had any financial stake in the deal.

Unfortunately for them, the Sun-Times’s Tim Novak and Chris Fusco have documents that show Daley the Younger was paid more than $700,000 several months later by the company that inked the deal after it sold out to Boingo. So the Daley Administration did deals that benefited the mayor’s son big time and then misled reporters about whether he profited.

There’s all kinds of other shadiness here too:

Patrick Daley’s Wi-Fi windfall was part of $1.2 million he was paid as a result of deals he had with Cardinal Growth, a Chicago venture-capital firm that invested in Concourse and other businesses. Among those businesses was a sewer-inspection company that got millions of dollars in no-bid city-contract extensions.

In addition to Patrick Daley, Cardinal Growth also has had business dealings in which it made payments to two of his cousins, Robert G. Vanecko and Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko.

Patrick Daley’s payments from the sale of Concourse Communications ended in March 2009 — four months before Cardinal Growth received a subpoena from a federal grand jury investigating his and Robert Vanecko’s roles in the sewer-inspection business.

The sewer company’s president has since been indicted on federal charges that accuse him of minority-contracting fraud. Patrick Daley and Robert Vanecko haven’t been charged with any crime. Nor have Cardinal Growth or its owners been charged with any wrongdoing.

Great work by the Sun-Times.

— Aaron Carroll of The Incidental Economist shoots down some of the horror stories you’ve heard about Canada’s single-payer health care system.

Here he takes on the fact that wait times for things like hip replacements are much longer in Canada than in the U.S. First he notes that virtually all hip replacements in the U.S. are paid for by our single-payer system known as Medicare. But also:

Canada isn’t some dictatorship. They aren’t oppressed. In 1966, the democratically elected government enacted their single-payer health care system (also known as Medicare). Since then, as a country, they have made a conscious decision to hold down costs. One of the ways they do that is by limiting supply, mostly for elective things, which can create wait times. Their outcomes are otherwise comparable to ours.

Please understand, the wait times could be overcome. They could spend more. They don’t want to. We can choose to dislike wait times in principle, but they are a byproduct of Canada’s choice to be fiscally conservative.

Several zombie lies get taken out in this post.

(h/t Krugman)

— It was something like old times to see The Wall Street Journal lead the paper with an off-the-news story on Monday.

The Journal reports on changes in cancer drug development and treatment:

New research is signaling a major shift in how cancer drugs are developed and patients are treated—offering the promise of personalized therapies that reach patients faster and are more effective than other medicines.

At the heart of the change: an emerging ability for researchers to use genetic information to match drugs to the biological drivers of tumors in individuals.

It’s not a world-shattering effort or anything, but it’s good to see non-commodity news lead the paper like it used to.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,