Wednesday, June 10, 2015

J. Dennis Hastert's Prairie Parkway: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

 By Katie Annie Oakley

Part II

We all learned in my last post that J. Dennis Hastert, The Accidental Speaker of ‘Murikuh’s House of Representatives during the 106th through the 109th Sessions of Congress loves to bring home the bacon to his constituents (but not nearly as much bacon as good ole Don Young (R-Thug/AK). We followed his educational path to Billy Graham’s Alma Mater, the bible-thumpin’ Wheaton College, where Denny received his undergraduate B.A. in Economics in 1964 (and that’s mighty important for what we’ll be discussing today) to his Graduate Degree at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois in 1967 (an M.S. in Philosophy of Education).

Denny also managed to avoid The Draft in the 1960’s due to a wrestling injury while attending Oswego High School. He not only wrestled, but also played football too. Denny really enjoyed contact sports.

Back to the college years: they were very pleased with Denny at those two schools. At Wheaton College, they were so pleased with Denny that they renamed the College Center for Economics, Big Gubmint and such to the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy. They were mighty proud of him – until they weren’t (like early this week, when that sign came down and the building and program were instantaneously renamed The Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy. Denny also resigned from their Board of Advisers because, baby Jesus (and a firestorm of negative publicity). In the Wheaton College Official Throwing Denny Under The Bus Statement, they pulled The Christian Card. Of course they did - cause that’s what Good Christians do: abandon you when they’re embarrassed to admit you’re one of their own:

It is with sadness and shock that the Wheaton College community learned
of the indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice of alumnus and former
speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives J. Dennis Hastert, and of his
resignation from the Board of Advisors of the J. Dennis Hastert Center for
Economics, Government, and Public Policy at Wheaton College. In light of
the charges and allegations that have emerged, the College has re-designated
the Center as the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and
Public Policy at this time.

The Center will continue in its mission “to advance the training of Wheaton
College students and the greater community in the understanding of market
economies, representative democracies, limited government, and the redeeming
effects of the Christian worldview on the practice of business, government and

Wheaton College serves Jesus Christ and advances His Kingdom through
excellence in liberal arts and graduate programs that educate the whole person
to build the church and benefit society worldwide. The College has not been
implicated in or associated with any of the allegations in this matter.

And blah, blah, blah… in this lengthy, self-serving, hypocritical CYA statement. 


Read that again: he has a B.A. in Economics; M.S. in Philosophy of Education; had a Political Policy Center named after him; a seat on the Wheaton College Advisory Board AND an Honorary Doctorate of LAWS - but apparently neither school was able to teach him to keep his pants up.

But, I don’t want to talk about that pesky SEX scandal. Nooo! I want to talk about another of Denny’s other self-serving scandals. One of many. You’d think that a guy like Denny, educated in the Fine Points of Economics and as a School Teacher might give A Second Thought to cheat his way into his riches. Nope! The outrage regarding The Prairie Parkway ( generic wiki description) here in Denny’s district, where I happen to live was palpable. There was real anger. Denny got rich, QUICK on a shady land deal. Bacon is one thing – but a Congress Critter porking at the trough via a Secret Trust to make himself filthy rich? Ah, HELL NO! People all over the district were crying FOUL. Turns out, what’s good for constituents turned into something else entirely when our Congress Critter took a dip in the sea of political enrichment. That self-serving POS bastard!


Denny Hastert and his business partner’s properties are shown in yellow; the path of the proposed Prairie Parkway is in green, and an on/off ramp is only 5.5 miles away (per Hastert’s rep.) or 2.6 miles away. It depends who’s telling the tale.

The Prairie Parkway project was a proposed interstate highway path that connected Interstates 80 and 88 in semi-rural Kendall and Kane Counties in Illinois – aka Denny Hastert’s district (and mine). Nuthin’ but cornfields and soybeans. And housing developments. Lots of those. Corn. Soybeans. Housing developments. Wash, rinse, repeat. For miles and miles. Denny and his lucky partners became millionaires almost overnight because as a Congress Critter AND Speaker of the House, he had a hell of a lot of brass input into its proposed path – imagine that. Loooong before the project became public, he and his partners purchased great blocks of land in 2002 and 2004; a portion of an excellent timeline of this farce financed with taxpayer dollars can be read below AND in full HERE. This is required reading. Have a barf bucket and something handy to wipe with. 

August 2005: Hastert secures $207 million in federal dollars to build the “Prairie Parkway” through his district. The Chicago Tribune describes it as a “pet project” of Hastert’s that will “cut through valuable farmland and increase suburban sprawl.” President Bush comes to IL-14 to sign the bill.

The proposed Prairie Parkway transforms Hastert and his partner’s properties isolated parcels to ones with convenient access to major cities.

In December 2005, Hastert and his partners sell property to the Robert Arthur Land Company, who plans to builds 1500 homes on the property. Hastert earns at least $1.5 million in profit in his portion on the deal alone; His two partners makes another 1.5 million.

The Kendall County Board votes in May of 2006 “in favor of putting an interchange on Galena Road, giving residents of the new development “easy access to the highway” – Approximately 2.6 miles.

Today, Hastert’s spokesman claims, “None of the properties purchased by the speaker are near enough to the Prairie Parkway to be affected by the proposed highway.”

Around here in the outermost ring of suburbia, driving ~3 miles to a store for milk is SSDD business as usual. In fact, it is for most Americans. The fury over the proposed Prairie Parkway, particularly who had suggested its path and the not so coincidental enrichment Hastert enjoyed from it got so bad that in 2012 the federal government rescinded the approval for the Prairie Parkway. What the media missed was this: nobody in the area NEEDED that thoroughfare through their sleepy farmlands, and they went to court to stop it from being built. I guess that information just wasn’t sexy enough (HA! made you look). This money-grab of Denny’s was so transparent, so shady that it would make Casper the Friendly Ghost blush with embarrassment.

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