Jagoffs of the Week: Jesse Jr. and Sandi Jackson

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The Jacksons: Jesse, Jr. and Sandi
by Bill Savage

 

Once Chicago’s African American royalty, the Jacksons have become exemplary jagoffs.

 

It’s not just that the U.S. Representative from Illinois’s Second District and his Seventh Ward Alderman wife were corrupt, embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from their campaign funds to bankroll their everyday living. Mere corruption does not a jagoff make. Their jagoffery comes from the spectacularly stupid and inane form their corruption took.

 

They didn’t spend their money getting allies elected, buying off judges, influencing politics. They spent it on spectacularly ugly and stupid home décor. A fedora that once belonged to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Bruce Lee memorabilia. Two stuffed elk heads. Cigars, dry cleaning, appliances for their kitchen.

 

Elk heads? Bear heads, ok, but elk? Neither of them ever represented Elk Grove Village, what’s the connection?

 

Jagoffery is the connection. Unlike the scions of white political dynasties—Daley, Madigan, Burke, Mell come to mind—the Jacksons never learned from Jesse, Sr. how electoral politics should be played, since Jesse, Sr. himself was never elected to anything.

 

Great corrupt Chicago politicians die after serving some time in jail, with shoeboxes full of cash to cushion their twilight years. The Jacksons’ impossibly venal corruption got them some jail time, endless embarrassment, and should remind Chicago’s political class of the one rule that successful political jagoffs never forget: Don’t Get Caught.

 

This originally ran in our special Lumpen Field Guide to Chicago Jagoffs.

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