Meigs Field Butcher Arrested in Blagojevich Scandal

 - December 23, 2008, 8:20 AM

One of the chief architects of the 2003 demolition of Chicago’s Meigs Field has been arrested on federal bribery, corruption and fraud charges that include trying to sell the vacated U.S. Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama. John Harris, 46, was taken into FBI custody on December 9 along with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Harris joined Blagojevich in 2005 as chief-of-staff after working nine years for Chicago mayor Richard Daley in a variety of positions that included deputy commissioner of aviation. Harris was widely seen throughout Illinois as the state’s acting governor as Blagojevich became increasingly preoccupied with federal authorities investigating him since 2004. While deputy commissioner of aviation, Harris was the top city official overseeing the secret midnight demolition of Chicago’s Meigs Field on March 30, 2003, and was present when the bulldozers rolled onto the runway. A framed photo of himself at Meigs that night hung in Harris’s office and was said to be one of his prized possessions.