January 29, Chicago,IL
The once legendary Niles mayor Nicholas Blase served his community for nearly five decades — but he also shook down businesses in that town for decades, a federal judge said Friday as he denied the 81-year-old’s bid to escape prison time for his crimes.
Blase was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after he admitted to pocketing $421,000 in kickbacks from Niles businesses.
“I can’t sit here and see a crime of this amount of money, over that amount of time and say that a public official shouldn’t go to jail,” U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen said.
Prosecutors had asked for a prison term of up to 4 1/2 years, but Andersen said he didn’t want to impose a death sentence.
“I do not want to see Nick Blase die in jail,” he said.
Andersen noted that, with good behavior, Blase could be out of prison in 10 months. If the judge had sentenced Blase to exactly one year, he would have had to serve the entire term in prison.
Blase is to report to prison March 1.
Right now all I can hear is the theme from Baretta, "Keep Your Eyes on the Sparrow". No the irony of that particular show and actor are not lost on me.