Arenda Troutman (born 1957) was the Democratic alderman of the 20th Ward in Chicago. She was appointed to her position by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1990, to fill a vacancy after the death of Alderman Ernest Jones. Troutman was the 16th woman to serve as a Chicago alderman. Despite her arrest and indictment on bribery charges, Troutman ran for alderman in 2007; she lost.
On August 6, 2008, Troutman pleaded guilty to two federal counts, including admitting to taking bribes as an alderman. She was sentenced to four years in prison on February 17, 2009, and ordered to begin serving the sentence June 1, 2009.
Troutman attended Calumet High School and Southern Illinois University. After graduating she became a supervisor in the Office of Secretary of State. In 1978, she was arrested for shop-lifting. Information about the arrest was made public by her opponents. Troutman is the mother of three sons.
Career as alderman
As alderman, she increased the number of financial institutions in her ward, sponsored the Affordable Housing and Job Training ordinances and fought for improvements for all Chicago Public Schools. She was chairman of the Historical Landmark Preservation Committee, and co-chair of Housing and Real Estate. Additionally she served on the Budget and Government Operations; Buildings; Committees, Rules and Ethics; Education; Police and Fire; Zoning; and Finance Committees.
In 2006, Troutman was active in fundraising for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and, in 2002, was a campaign advisor for Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards.
Troutman had also come under scrutiny on numerous occasions for ethical lapses in her career as alderman. In 2004, it was revealed she may have been dating Donnell "Scandalous" Jehan, the second-in-command of the Black Disciples street gang, who had fled the FBI after being indicated in a $350,000+/week drug operation in Troutman's ward. Jehan had been seen driving Troutman's car. A letter from Chicago Police Patrol Chief James Maurer to Troutman on police letterhead was found in the FBI raid on Jehan's home. Troutman commented that she thought he was "a businessman" and that she let "everybody" drive her car.
Around the time her relationship with Jehan ended, Troutman reported several break-ins at her home and requested 24-hour police presence. This action was noticed by several firearms advocacy groups including the Second Amendment Foundation and the website Women & Guns.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that Troutman had helped to start a hired-truck company for her family to own and profit from. The Hired Truck Program was credited with being the scandal that opened the doors for current federal investigations into city hiring, a part of which led to the recent conviction of patronage chief Robert Sorich. Troutman's family business reportedly earned $1.1 million from the program.
Federal bribery conviction
On Monday, January 8, 2007, Troutman was arrested and charged with accepting a bribe from a federal informant as part of an undercover investigation. After 30 minutes of the FBI knocking on the door of Troutman's house, with Troutman inside refusing to open the door, FBI agents broke a window to gain entry. Troutman was the first female alderman to be charged while in office. She was released on $10,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday, January 13, 2007. An affidavit filed by an FBI agent in the case alleged that Troutman accepted a $5,000 bribe, and expected another $10,000, in exchange for preferential treatment for a real estate developer co-operating with the FBI. Troutman asked an undercover FBI informant
"What do I get out of it?"
and was recorded on an FBI tape saying
“Most aldermen, most politicians, are hos.”
The property involved was not part of Troutman's own 20th Ward, but on the opposite side of the street from it, in the 16th Ward, limiting the influence that Troutman could have had in any zoning changes. A city zoning administrator told Troutman that the development could be accommodated under the zoning status at that time. The developer had two felony convictions and had been sued on several occasions for mortgage fraud and identity theft. The FBI claimed to have been unaware of their co-operating witness' criminal record until it was informed by a reporter from the Chicago Tribune.
On April 8, 2008, a federal grand jury in Chicago returned a 15-count second superseding indictment against Troutman and co-defendants Steven Boone, a Chicago government employee, and Vincent Gilbert, an acquaintance of Troutman. On August 6, 2008, Troutman pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax fraud for filing a false return. On February 17, 2009, she was sentenced to four years in prison, stating, "With God as my witness, I am not a monster". She began serving her sentence on June 1, 2009. She was released to a halfway house in June, 2013.
Despite her arrest and indictment on bribery charges, Troutman was a candidate in the February 27, 2007, election. She was defeated by Willie B. Cochran, a former police sergeant and laundry owner. [permanent dead link]
- Spielman, Fran (2007-01-09). "Troutman was known to strut when others kept low profile". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- Kogan, Rick (December 17, 2006). "Bloodied but unbowed; 20th Ward Alderman Says Bad Press Has Only Made Her Stronger". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- "Alderman had romantic relationship with gang leader". ABC 7 Chicago. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- "Brother of Alderman Troutman arrested". ABC 7 Chicago. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- "SAF Blasts Elitist Chicago Alderman; 'Where's Protection for Other Citizens?'" (Press release). Second Amendment Foundation. 2004-05-10. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- Tartaro, Peggy (2004). "From The Editor..." Women & Guns. Archived from the original on November 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- Novak, Tim (2005-06-24). "Alderman's family tied to truck firm". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2006-01-08.
- Bellandi, Deanna (2006). "Chicago alderman dramatically arrested". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- "City Council Reacts To Troutman Corruption Charges". CBS Chicago. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-10. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- "Criminal complaint: Alderman accepted bribe". Chicago Tribune. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-10. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- "Troutman sentenced; Despite tearful plea, ex-alderwoman gets 4 years for mail, tax fraud". Chicago Tribune. February 18, 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Marin, Carol (August 21, 2012). "Prisons, pols and coming-out parties". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Ray Gibson; Gary Washburn (2007-01-10). "Details don't get in way of FBI sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- David Jackson; Jeff Coen; Ray Gibson (2007-01-11). "FBI mole had long history of fraud--but looked great". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-11.[permanent dead link]
- "Troutman sentenced to 4 years for payoffs". Crain's Chicago Business News. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman Arrested on Federal Bribery Charges, US Department of Justice, Northern District of Illinois Press Release, January 8, 2007
- US v. Arenda Troutman Indictment, US Department of Justice, Northern District of Illinois, January 8, 2007
- Arenda Troutman in the article archive at the Chicago Tribune
- Arenda Troutman in the article archive at Chicago Breaking News