Who sent me The Rahmfather? I want to know. Please.
This is the question of Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. If you know the answer, let him or us know.
The mysterious portrait was in his office when he showed up for work one recent morning – a large framed movie-style poster of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as some Jewish Al Pacino – and the words, “JOHN FRANCIS KASS’S The Rahmfather.” (sic). Then follows the phrase “All the power on Earth can’t change Chicago.”
It is a strikingly handsome Rahmfather, thoughtful, pensive, his chin propped on his left hand, a hawk at rest. The Rahmfather is in a dark suit, conservative tie, his Chicago flag lapel pin right where it belongs, and that steel-gray hair slightly spiky, just like Pacino’s in “The Godfather: Part III.”
Oh yeah, and the eyes. The eyes follow you wherever you go.
John said that over the years his readers have sent him some amazing treasures but nothing is as cool as The Rahmfather.
“Oh, my God,” said an aide of Rahm’s when he sent a photo. “He’s really going to want this.”
“Yeah, I know he’s going to want it. He’s going to want it bad. But tell him he can’t have it. He can send his buddy Jimmy DeLeo over with a box of cannoli and I’d say no. Rahm could put my head in a vise and still I wouldn’t give it to him.”
“This is really good work,” said Scott Stantis, the Tribune’s editorial cartoonist and John’s friend. Scott did a little “Antiques Roadshow” for John. “This was done by a pro,” said Stantis.
But who? All John knew was that a few weeks ago, it was dropped off by a nondescript person at the Tribune Tower.
Even stranger is the painting was addressed to: “JKFC John Kass Fan Club, 211 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 4250.”
But there is no fan club at this address. There is also no Suite 4250 in that building. There are only 41 floors in the building.
“Maybe it was a joke?” asked another. The Rahmfather may be many things, but he’s not a jester. An editor reminded John of what a wise columnist often says: In Chicago, when it comes to City Hall or the Outfit, there are no such things as coincidences.
John asked the editor, “Should I sweep it for bugs? Could this be a Trojan Rahm? The editor replied, “It’s up to you, but I would.”
That’s all Kass had to hear. Having the Rahmfather hanging on the wall behind him, peering over his shoulder as he is talking on the phone, he couldn’t take the chance.
So he drove the painting over to the U-Spy Store, 2406 W. Fullerton, to have it examined by counterintelligence experts.
Kass writes: Waiting for him were Emil Pressman, the experienced operations boss, white-haired, pale, thin, hard eyes, every inch the seasoned pro, and Theresa Cheriachangel, a young investigator brandishing a radio frequency wand.
Emil’s eyes widened when he saw the Rahmfather, but quickly he got down to work, running his fingers over the frame, looking for faults, cracks, someplace to hide a recording device. Theresa ran her electronic wand over it, searching for radio signals. She ran other tests as well.
Theresa handles the countermeasure services for MSI Detective Services, which owns the U-Spy Store.
The following conversation then took place between John Kass and Emil:
“You care for this poster, no?” asked Emil, sounding like Sir Laurence Olivier playing an Eastern European spymaster. “You like it, yes? You will keep it in your office, yes?” Yes, Emil. Where are you from? “Chicago,” said Emil. No. Before. “Odessa,” said Emil. KGB? He laughed without sound.
“There are no recording devices in this,” he said. “But it is nice work.”
John Kass ended his article with:
Yes, it’s nice work. Excellent work. But who did it? Rahm? Someone else? Who?
One of you knows the answer. And when I learn who did it, you know what’ll happen. I’ll just have to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
I hope John Kass learns one day who sent him this mysterious painting. Until then, it will be hanging over him – literally and figuratively.
Read story@ chicagotribune