Michael Kenna

American politician who served as alderman of Chicago's 1st Ward from 1897 to 1923 and again from 1939 to 1943.

Michael Kenna (August 20, 1857 – October 9, 1946), also known as "Hinky Dink", was an American politician who served as alderman of Chicago's 1st Ward from 1897 to 1923 and again from 1939 to 1943. In addition to his position as alderman, he was a committeeman of the 1st Ward for the Democratic Party from 1893 to 1944. Representing the Chicago Loop and later its environs in such capacities, he led what was often called the "world's richest ward". He and his partner, fellow 1st Ward alderman "Bathhouse John" Coughlin, controlled the ward for most of the first half of the 20th century.

A part of 1st Ward politics for more than 60 years, Kenna possessed great influence on the municipal affairs of Chicago, being able to make or break the prospects of Democratic candidates for the mayoralty. In large part with Kenna's help, Coughlin would serve as alderman of the ward for 46 years. Possessing such influence despite his short stature and unassuming presence, he and Coughlin constructed a political machine that would last for the better part of the 20th century.

Kenna was notoriously corrupt; he, Coughlin, and several other aldermen led what was known as the "Gray Wolves", a group that attracted much scorn from reformers. He and Coughlin in particular were infamous across the nation and globe. Of particular note were his tactics involving bribing homeless people to vote as desired and performing voter fraud for his candidates. He was also intimate with several figures of organized crime in the city; he and Coughlin were known as the "Lords of the Levee" after the Levee vice district in the 1st Ward which provided them with the financial and political support of sex workers, pimps, tavern owners, and gamblers in exchange for protection from law enforcement.

source
Adapted from content published on wikipedia.org
Last modified on July 24, 2020, 4:21 pm (1 Month ago)
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