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Scott Lee Cohen Was Dream Scandal Newspapers Missed

February 5, 2010

Newspapers serve a most important role in our democracy.  One of  the vital jobs they undertake is  in-depth and investigative pieces. It is, and should be, a  priority. However, in Chicago these past months the investigative ball was dropped over a real peach of a story. As a result there is plenty of egg for everyone’s face.  I understand that newspapers have faced severe cutbacks in staff and column inches, and therefore there are less feet on the pavement.  Still,  I am puzzled how this most juicy story concerning Scott Lee Cohen, the Democratic winner on Tuesday for lieutenant governor, slipped by the radar of leading newspaper reporters in Illinois.  How this slipped by opposition research of the other candidates is an equally fascinating question.

But new disclosures showed that even as Cohen was spending more than $2 million of his own money to run TV and radio ads for his campaign, his ex-wife in December was accusing him in court of being $54,000 behind in child support payments. Cohen and his ex-wife declined to discuss the ongoing case.

The latest details came after the Tribune reported Wednesday that police and court records from an October 2005 incident show that Cohen’s then-girlfriend alleged he put a knife to her throat and pushed her head against a wall. Public records show that the woman, his 24-year-old girlfriend at the time, pleaded guilty to prostitution that same month.

The misdemeanor charges against Cohen were later dropped when the woman did not show up for court. Cohen also denied allegations he physically assaulted her and used a knife.

Cohen said Thursday he didn’t know the woman was a prostitute and met her when he got a “straight massage” at the Eden Spa.

But a Glenview police report indicates his ex-girlfriend freely told an undercover officer posing as a massage customer that women there performed sex acts for money. The April 2005 report detailed a sexual act that Cohen’s ex-girlfriend performed for $150, then told the undercover officer that the spa operator “is well-aware of what the girls are doing.”

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2010 8:10 PM

    You seem to think he was out to do damage to others in a political sense. I do not feel that was his motive. His private life was awful to be sure, but he ran and won anway. There was no way he could win in November. While he would have proved to be a negative on Democrats had he stayed in the race, I do not think he wanted that to be the case. He exited. I just do not see much more than that.

  2. February 8, 2010 7:28 PM

    Yes, they could make his life more difficult. But if he stayed in the race, he could have ruined several political dreams in one election. I believe there is more to this story than a threat to hurt his business. This guy could find a way to eek out a good living threat or no threat.

  3. February 8, 2010 7:15 PM

    Scott Lee Cohen is a businessman. A shady one perhaps, but at the end of the day, still a businessman. He knew that there were ways the state and agencies could make his life more ‘interesting’ if he did not get out of the race. No one had to push him, he knew there was nothing else to do but exit. No one had to get their hands dirty with this one.

  4. February 8, 2010 6:21 PM

    You are absolutely right. The press failed to do their job. Perhaps this is where the cozy relationship between politicians and the press gets in the way of objective reporting. Has anyone asked why a former or current “pawn broker” would simply get out of the race for nothing in return: but for the good of the Democratic party and the State of Illinois? If it was really about that, he wouldn’t have run. So what did Michael Madigan and other Dems offer him to step down? Just asking

  5. February 8, 2010 12:41 PM

    Thanks.

    I had to laugh last night when the news was made….during half-time of the Super Bowl. (As if there would be a good time for him to slip in the news of his pull-out.)

  6. Ferrell Gummitt permalink
    February 8, 2010 10:19 AM

    Mr. Cohen dropped out last night:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/2034827,cohen-dropping-out-020710.article

  7. Patrick permalink
    February 5, 2010 10:46 AM

    Putting a knife to someones throat is no misdemeanor. That should be raising red flags, not the fact that he has a DV conviction. It tells me that most probably wasn’t what happened. In fact, it all looks like it came right out of a playbook, one that has been well documented by the very first person that ever opened a DV shelter.

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