22 May 2006

judicial activist sherman skolnick dies at chicago

sherman skolnick 1930 - 2006

we are very saddened to learn of mr. skolnick's passing. we first learned of him several years ago probably through rense.com and became fans right away. skolnick had a straight forward, machine gun style of writing that we found mesmerizing. how can you not love a guy that coined such phrases as: "oil-soaked, spy-riddled monopoly press" "press whores" & "press fakers?"
Sherman Skolnick, activist and political gadfly, dies at 75

By Josh Noel
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 22, 2006, 7:09 PM CDT

Never one to trust an obvious explanation, Sherman Skolnick found hidden motive in many of Chicago's biggest events during the last 40 years-from Harold Washington's death (the mayor was murdered, he said) to the Chicago 7 trial (which he claimed was orchestrated by the CIA to justify increased government repression.)

Sometimes proven right, often mocked for being so far out of the mainstream, Mr. Skolnick bristled at being called a conspiracy theorist. Especially when he had successes that included driving two members of the Illinois Supreme Court to resignations in 1969.

"There's a stigma to being called a conspiracy theorist," Mr. Skolnick told the Tribune in 1988. "It's a polite way of calling someone a nut. These things I uncover aren't conspiracies. They're simply the way powerful people conduct business."

The indefatigable Mr. Skolnick, 75, who chased scoops until the end, died Sunday of a likely heart attack at his South Side home, family said.

Paralyzed below the waist by polio since the age of 6, Mr. Skolnick was close to a household name in Chicago in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when he was chairman of the Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, a public interest group he founded. Largely self-educated with used law books he bought for as cheaply as 50 cents each, Mr. Skolnick's allegations and activities were chronicled routinely by local media.

During a second burst of fame, when Mr. Skolnick insisted that Washington had been murdered with an overdose of cocaine in the 1980s, a Tribune profile called him "something of a heroic figure in this town, albeit an eccentric and irritating champion, more odd than dashing."

"He wore thick glasses, had buck teeth, dressed forgettably and showed absolutely no respect for authority," the 1988 story says. "Skolnick rode his rusting, squeaky wheelchair as if he were a brave knight on a fine steed, finding and avenging wrongdoing at the highest levels of government, jousting with the mighty on behalf of the weak."

When he decided to cut out the middleman-the press-and bring his news straight to the people, Mr. Skolnick began with "Hotline News" in the early 1970s, a recorded news phone message he updated from his South Side home.

He later worked in radio and cable television and then started an Internet site (www.skolnicksreport.com), where he opined endlessly. Among his recent posts are "The Overthrow of the American Republic, Part 81" and "Coca-Cola, the CIA, and the Courts, Part 16."

"Sometimes, he was a real eccentric, and sometimes I didn't believe a lot of these things he said," said his brother, Seymour Skolnick. "But a lot of it was true. He had just found a calling."

Mr. Skolnick was born in Chicago in 1930 to a homemaker mother and father who worked as a tailor, both Jewish European immigrants. The family lived in an apartment on the West Side until moving in 1950 to a South Side home, where Mr. Skolnick lived until his death.

The youngest of three brothers, Mr. Skolnick contracted polio in 1936 during a family vacation to Benton Harbor, Mich. He had 16 operations, that, at best, allowed him as a young man to walk 100 feet with crutches. He took inspiration from President Franklin Roosevelt, who also had polio. In response to letters and poems he wrote to the president, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt would write him back, he said in the Tribune story.

Skolnick attended a school for physically disabled people, Spalding School, at Washington Street and Ashland Avenue, but his parents encouraged his independence.

"I didn't associate with other disabled people," he once said. "They were usually very shy and quiet."

In high school, he developed his taste for investigative work, looking into the past of a wood shop teacher with a quick temper.

"He used to bug me," Mr. Skolnick recounted in 1988. "I found out he'd been transferred from another school for throwing a kid down some stairs and was in trouble with the school board. The next time he got mad at me, I told him I knew his secret, and he left me alone."

Mr. Skolnick's most spectacular victory came in 1969, when he found that two judges on the state Supreme Court accepted a gift of stock in a Chicago bank from a defendant whose case they were to decide-and for whom they ruled favorably.

Skolnick's findings led to a blue-ribbon investigative commission and finally to the resignations from the court of Chief Justice Roy J. Solfisburg Jr. and Justice Ray Klingbiel. The day they resigned, the crush of neighborhood traffic and people was so great, he said, that six police cars were stationed in front of his house. Inside, photographers rolled up his rugs and moved furniture to get photos of him from different perspectives.

By the 1980s and 1990s, even as technology allowed him to reach more people, Mr. Skolnick was mostly a public and media afterthought. Of course, he said, that was a conspiracy, too. In 1971, he accused the Tribune of being a tool of military intelligence and the Chicago Sun-Times of being a conduit for the CIA.

"I made some statements in 1971 that some members of the press had ties to espionage agencies, and I just became blotted out," he said in 1988.

After falling down the stairs at his home about three years ago, he became a recluse, his brother said, never leaving his home again, except to go to the hospital for about a month earlier this years. He hired someone to live with and care for him.

"He said, `I've got my computer and telephones, and I'm hooked up around the world and this is what I want to do,' " Mr. Skolnick's brother said. "I said OK. It wasn't my choice, but he lived a good, full life."

Graveside services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park.

www.cloakanddagger.de sadly reports:

For 48 years, a key focus of Sherman Skolnick’s investigative reporting was the rampant judicial corruption in the courts of law in U.S.A., specifically in Chicago and in the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D. C.

Judges on the take, some of them termed "banksters” or "banker-judges”, drew the attention not only of Skolnick’s seasoned Jewish humor but also of his relentless and feared public exposure mechanisms. The robed mafiosi had him in jail eight times during his long life but could never stick anything of substance on him. Twenty judges and over forty attorneys went behind bars, from 1969 to 1993 alone, through America’s leading judge-buster who has now passed on.

Skolnick started in his late twenties using his superb mental powers and writing skills as reflected in his reporting on judicial and political corruption. Since 1958 he was a court reformer. In 1963 he founded the Citizen’s Committee to Clean Up the Courts, a public interest group researching and disclosing certain instances of judicial bribery and political murders. Starting in 1971 his comments were on a recorded phone message that he called Hotline News. Since 1991 he was a regular participant and producer, and since 1995 he was producer/moderator of „BROADSIDES“, a one hour weekly taped public access Cable TV Show on in Chicago Monday evening, 9 p.m., Channel 21 Cable, reaching an audience of 400,000 viewers.

Sherman H. Skolnick was elevated to national prominence when a mafia of corrupt Illinois judges swindled his parents out of their lifetime savings. Time Magazine reported on the scandal in August 1969 and depicted Skolnick in his wheelchair on the cover. Law school professor Kenneth A. Manaster reviews this judicial bribery scandal in his 2001 book "Illinois Justice, The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens”,


Since 2003, the learned Sherman H. Skolnick found a home for the last years of his investigative reporting in the Toronto-based internet talk radio and magazine



He also contributed to

http://www.rense.com and his reports appeared on many other sites. The great series of his last years was the ongoing "Overthrow of the American Republic” series. Together with Cloak and Dagger host Lenny Bloom, Sherman Skolnick further penned the "Middle Finger News” series. Some of the hot trails of his last years were the judicial corruption of five judges of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore in December 2000, election frauds, the 9-11 inside attacks, theft of trillions of $$ through the Bush-Clinton crime syndicate, the infiltration of the American government by gangsters and foreign agents (mainly British, Chinese, Israeli, Jesuit), and the overthrow of the Republic. Every one of his words was a considered appeal to avoid the temptation of the Big Lie.

Now, the scrutinous eye of Sherman H. Skolnick no longer peers through the magnifying glass. That was his chosen symbol on his web site,


like a Sherlock Holmes of American investigative journalism. A paraplegic since childhood, this militating dove passed on peacefully during sleep in his 75th year to a higher perch. He helped his students, readers and listeners to find clarity of perception in a world of confusion and deception.

We will keep our deceased friend a loving memory.
sherman skolnick memorial at find a grave