Almost 18 years after the deed was done, someone fessed up to Monday to what was long suspected: that the fix was in for the White Sox to get the state of Illinois to underwrite a new stadium for the team.
What better place to clinch the story than in the White House, just after President Bush finishing honoring the White Sox, the 2005 World Series champions.
In a White House ceremony, nobody who is a nobody gets in the East Room without a connection.
That's why when I saw Gary LaPaille, a well-connected Democrat, my first question to him was, "how did you get here?"
LaPaille smiled. And he told me a story.
LaPaille runs a government consulting business and moved to Washington from Chicago's Southwest Side a few years ago. LaPaille is a former state senator, a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, a former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and, important to this report, the former chief of staff to state House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago).
It took legislative sleight-of-hand in Springfield to create the authority that built the White Sox a new park in 1988.
I was covering the Illinois House on June 30, 1988, the last day of the session, and the White Sox bill came up near midnight. On July 1, the rules mandated a supermajority vote for any measure to be immediately effective - and the White Sox had no chance of gettng that many votes. As the clock slipped past midnight, Madigan simply
kept the roll call open until one more arm was twisted.
Until Monday, no one ever acknowledged on the record what happened.
In the East Room with his son, Sam, LaPaille let on that the White Sox owed him one.
He told me, ``It's a little known secret,'' but one he would tell ``now that the statute is over. When the roll call came out, I made sure that the time was not on the roll call.''
Now we know.