Stroger and tax hike
I saw the same interview and, believe you me, not that I am defending Todd, but he did say he would bring it up to the board. OK, so I know he has done a lot of things that, he has not brought up to the Board, but wait and see.
Alderman Munoz's Father arrested in FBI raid of Little Village Mall, for allegidly taking pictures for illegal ID's
22nd Ward Alderman's Dad
Munoz is mentioned frequently as a possible candidate for the congressional seat now held by Luis Guiterrez, who says he not run for re-election in 2008.
Elias Munoz will appear in federal court Wednesday morning.
Chicago Bears update, Tank Johnson out of Jail. Also White Sox update, we still have the team with the cutiest baseball players!
Couldn't Tom Dart Take care of his Star Prisoner better?
Ex-Chicago Alderman Bob Shaw, Ex-Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review
Bob was deposed as alderman of Chicago's 9th Ward, dumped as a commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review (but not before voting to reduce his brother's property taxes), and defeated in a run for mayor of South Holland. Bill, meanwhile, only narrowly won a third term as Dolton mayor a couple of years ago after being clobbered by state Sen. James Meeks, who ejected him from his legislative seat in 2002.
So why be worried that these guys could get the cash windfall of a casino along the Little Calumet River in their south suburb?
Because, people, this is Illinois.
And the Shaws still have powerful friends in high places, not the least of whom is Senate President Emil Jones, an ardent fan of gaming, a 30-year friend of the twins, and a ferocious supporter of a south suburban casino location.
There is plenty of concern down in Springfield that the Brothers Shaw might be holding a fistful of aces on this deal.
Meeks, no fan of gambling and no friend of Bill and Bob, said he put the question of a Dolton casino directly to the Senate
Labels: Emil Jones
Labels: Memorial Day
Todd Stroger was interviewed this morning on Fox News in Chicago.
He was asked about the violations the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health care Organization. He responded that hospitals are being looked at more closely after the Walter Reed incidents. Todd went on to say that all the violations are small and are easily corrected, and will be. Todd was asked if these problems will show up again, and his response was there is always a small amount of human error.
When asked about the pharmacy situation where people wait days for their medications, he went on to say that they are going to start another pharmacy that will serve the main hospital as well as Fantus Clinic that will be a Robotic System.
OK, so I thought how much is this going to cost? Also at the last Cook County Board meeting it was brought up that over one million dollars of medications on the mail order prescriptions was being delivered to addresses outside of Cook County? The more I listen to Todd the more questions I have.
When Todd Stroger was asked if he would be able to pass a budget next year without raising taxes, he replied he will have to bring this in front of the Board. Todd Stroger went on to say that for the last five years the County has been spending more than it was bringing in.
When Todd Stroger was asked if he felt the last management was incompetent, and the interviewer said, well maybe that is too strong of a word. Todd Stroger replyed it is not too strong of a word, and yes they were, because they found bills stuffed in drawers at the Stroger Hospital. And I think, Todd's Dad was the one who had office the last, and those last five years of spending more than receiving were during Daddy John's tenure, also the incompetence of management.
JCAH on Stroger Hospital
Does Todd Stroger have enough handlers?
Todd Stroger has Mike Quigley upset again. How many dozens of yellow roses will be sent to Mike?
On paper, he works for the Cook County agency that represents those too poor to hire a lawyer.
But in reality, attorney Richard Velazquez is being paid to give legal advice to county board President Todd Stroger.
The move has stunned some county commissioners and some in the public defender's office, but Stroger said Wednesday there's nothing wrong with his decision to place Velazquez in the public defender's budget.
"It's totally inappropriate," Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) said. "It makes the budget an illusion, and it's not good government."
Velazquez, an attorney since 2003, is being paid $108,000 a year. He's the poorly prepared staffer that Stroger sent to the media last week to defend financial moves Stroger has made since the county board approved a $3 billion budget.
Stroger has since struggled to answer allegations that more than $20 million has been spent on items other than what the board intended.
Asked about Velazquez's position, new Stroger spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi said he was hired to assist Stroger, and there were never any plans to put him in a courtroom. The job is one of hundreds filled at Stroger's discretion, and Antongiorgi said "it's not unusual" for people in such jobs to work on multiple tasks.
Public Defender Ed Burnette, who serves at Stroger's pleasure, said he can't explain why Velazquez is in his budget.
"I know he's not working within the parameters of our office," Burnette said.
Velazquez, who did not return calls, is filling in for Stroger's $123,000-a-year legal adviser, Laura Lechowicz-Felicione, who's splitting her time at the county hospital.
Velazquez's salary is coming from an office where 13 lawyers were recently laid off and 65 to 70 employees are being forced to take unpaid days off, all because of budget cuts.
"They're very short-staffed and extremely overburdened," said Roberta Lynch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents public defenders. "We think it's very inappropriate to be spending money from that office, that's supposed to be defending the indigent, for some other purpose
Is Todd Stroger serious?
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has another high-level adviser: Sean Howard, who a few months ago resigned from the Stroger campaign in embarrassment after being arrested for allegedly stalking a girlfriend.
Howard, 39, is the new director of public affairs for the county hospital system. He's the longtime spokesman for Bishop Larry Trotter, a spiritual adviser to the Stroger family who has been a vocal political supporter of Stroger.
Howard, of Crete, will make $85,000 a year. He resigned as spokesman for the village of Dolton and the Shaw political family.
His hiring comes as county health clinics are closing and medical staff is being laid off because of budget cuts.
"At what point will Todd Stroger invest in the frontline workers who make the system run?" asked Sheilah Garland-Olaniran of the National Nurses Organizing Committee. "Has he looked at what the mission of the county hospital says? Who are we supposed to serve?"
But county spokesman Andre Garner said Howard is filling an existing job and will "be working on broad policy issues" with county health bureau chief Robert Simon.
Stroger insisted last year that Howard would have no role with his campaign after his arrest. The charges were dropped after the victim, a county jail guard, refused to pursue them.
Howard also was named in a recent lawsuit filed by a developer, who says he was pressured to hire Howard at $150,000 a year if he wanted to do business in Dolton.
Howard did not return calls on Tuesday for comment.
I could hardly, nor could anyone else see why Steve Mayberry resigned as Todd Stroger's Spokesman. Steve is still a spokesman, only without all that you have to deal with being a Spokesman for the Toddler.
Labels: Steve Mayberry
A news conference Thursday with Stroger's chief of staff, Lance Tyson, and chief financial officer Donna Dunnings was scheduled for 1 p.m. then moved to 2:30 p.m. and finally canceled.
"The president wants to be there, and he was simply unavailable today," Stroger spokeswoman Christine Geovanis said. "We stand by our statement yesterday that there is no legal violation."
Garner declined to answer who in Stroger's office originally wanted to call the news conference. And he deflected questions about why Stroger has, more than once, seemed unaware of decisions made by his top staff.
"I haven't heard any of that (criticism)," Garner said. "The president is just settling in on his complete team."
Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), who allied with Stroger on the budget, said Tuesday that Stroger's office has made at least $20 million in changes to the budget that were never approved by the board, a process Quigley contends is illegal.
Stroger's office put the president's new legal assistant in front of the cameras Tuesday to respond. Richard Velazquez said he had no idea of the specifics of Quigley's accusations or the budget process but nonetheless was sure all of the administration's actions were legal.
Garner promised "answers to specific questions" later that day but did not return a message. He said Thursday he had not received the message because he was tied up in meetings.
Stroger skipped his customary post-meeting news conference that day, pleading a tight schedule.
Stuart Levine living by, always know a bigger fish, this fish is fast Eddie Vrodolyk, previous fish, Bill Cellini and Chris Kelley
Former Chicago alderman pleads innocent, gets $500,000 bond
The former Chicago alderman known for leading critics of the city's first black mayor pleaded innocent Thursday to scheming to get a $1.5 million kickback in a real estate deal.
Edward Vrdolyak, 69, is charged with fraud and bribery for allegedly plotting with millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine on the deal in which Vrdolyak was to be a middleman in delivering the money. Prosecutors say the money never changed hands.
U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur set bond at $500,000 for Vrdolyak, a powerful force in the so-called Council Wars that raged at city hall in the 1980s. During Thursday's hearing, he largely was silent.
Levine already has admitted that he used his membership on two state boards to pressure contractors for kickbacks and pleaded guilty to fraud. He has been helping federal prosecutors in corruption investigations in hopes of obtaining a lighter sentence.
The hint that the tapes made by Levine may be extensive came when prosecutors said that some of the recordings still have not been transcribed and that it may take several more days to do so.
They promised to hand over partial transcripts to defense attorneys quickly and Shadur urged them to turn over the tapes by June 8.
According to the indictment, Vrdolyak and Levine planned to get the money from a developer that wanted to be assured of buying a building on the city's North Side that was owned by the Chicago Medical School.
Levine, who was the chairman of the medical school's board at the time but has not been associated with the school for several years, sought to freeze out rival buyers in the $15 million sale in favor of Smithfield Properties. The company wanted to redevelop the building for condos, the indictment said.
Also, Vrdolyak was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and alderman of the 10th Ward on Chicago's Southeast Side.
As an attorney, Vrdolyak represented corruption-plagued, west suburban Cicero in the era when now imprisoned Betty Loren-Maltese was town president. He also was a radio talk-show host.
Yellow bannanas being slipped on at Stroger Hospital, and Todd will have to send yellow roses to Commissioner Mike Quigley again because, Mike is really upset with Todd.
County worker slips on peel, taxpayers owe $4,110
May 16, 2007
STNG News Service
A banana peel has caused grief for the likes of Daffy Duck and Tom and Jerry.
Now, it has caused taxpayers to cough up thousands of dollars to a Cook County employee who says she was severely injured and missed months of work because she slipped on a banana peel.
Joyce Walker, a 27-year clerk at Stroger Hospital, said she slipped on a banana outside a bathroom in 2003. She missed 12 weeks of work and endured injections in her knee. On Tuesday, the county board approved paying her $4,110.
Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno called it "the first time in 12 years I’ve ever seen anybody injured" by slipping on a banana peel.
Commissioner Liz Gorman said "for as pathetic as it seems, it’s the cost of doing business."
Walker couldn’t be reached and her attorney, Barry Silver, declined comment.
So far this year, county taxpayers have paid $2.1 million for worker injuries.
Todd Stroger how does he get away with it?
Todd Stroger's office has made at least $20 million in changes to the 2007 Cook County budget without consulting the board, usurping its right to set spending priorities, a group of opposition commissioners said.
"This is an intrusion upon the legislative process. It is a violation of our rules and our laws," Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) said. "I think this is a hijacking of the county budget."
Among the changes were a $3.2 million cut in Stroger Hospital's budget and a $170,466 boost for the chief administrative officer's budget, said Commissioners Quigley, Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) and Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston).
The 2007 budget was one of the most fiercely negotiated county budgets in memory, with the final vote coming Feb. 24 at 2:30 a.m. after marathon back-room trading. Quigley angered several of his usual board allies by siding with Stroger on the budget vote.
The final document avoided a tax increase by closing some county health clinics, restricting county health services and laying off 1,700 county workers.
The Daily Southtown reported in March that Stroger's office was restoring some of the eliminated positions by moving funding into jobs that were budgeted at $1. A full list of such positions never has been provided, despite repeated requests.
Quigley said Tuesday the changes to the negotiated budget went even further, according to the final budget document released in recent weeks.
Stroger's budget team, led by newly confirmed chief financial officer Donna Dunnings, ignored some of the amendments passed by the board while making additional changes never approved by commissioners.
"A cursory analysis of the budget ... details at least $20 million worth of alterations that took place without any authority or discussion with the board of Cook County," Quigley said. "If the president is allowed to do this ... he can rewrite the whole thing."
Quigley handed out a five-page list of what he said were discrepancies between what the board voted on and what Stroger's office now says is in the budget.
At Quigley's request, the state's attorney's office issued a legal opinion saying the president's office cannot make "substantive changes" to the budget after it passes.
Stroger's office did not dispute the legal opinion but said any changes made were not substantive, just cleanup from the chaotic budget process.
"There existed 127 amendments," Velazquez said. "The annual appropriation bills have always included language which allowed the budget director and the budget department to fix any mathematical errors, any inconsistencies in the amendments."
The last Cook County Board meeting started out honoring Fantus, the doctor who started the first blood bank in the World
and at Cook County Hospital. Fantus clinic which is the ASC, Abulatory Screening Clinic was named after Fantus.
The next part of the meeting was honoring the recently passing of Mayor Stephens of Rosemont. Mayor
Stephens was the first and only Mayor for 51 years. Rosemont is next to O'Hare airport and has all the Hotels. It is said that Mayor
Stephens gave up some land which is now O'Hare in exchange for water from Chicago. Mayor Richard J. Daley, the first Daley mayor
made this deal with him. Todd Stroger had a moment of silence for his honor. Commissioner Tony Peraica shared his memory of
Mayor Stephens kicking him out of a meeting. Commissioner Gorman remembered him and his endorsement of her.
Commisioner Gorman asked Mayor Daley, and it got a laugh, because she was talking to Commissioner John Daley, why Crain's
Chicago Business gets the finacial report ahead of the Commissioners? He did not seem to have an answer but let her know that
they will all get theirs next week.
Again Commissioner Earlean Collins always thinking when they were going over litigation fees, by outside attorney's for each
department for compliance with the Shakman decree for hiring. She asked why can't one team of attorneys handle all the departments?
Yes, Peraica agreed with her, so did Silvestri. Commissioner Collins was told that they must get permission from the Judge for one
litigation team. Commisioner Silvestri will call a meeting of all elected officials and invite the Board to discuss this. Commissioner Collins was
was on a roll with outside litigation fees when the juvenille cases came up that were 5 to 10 years old. She also said most of them
are adults now and they need to look into that as well.
Seqouia voting system came up as the last payment was due. Commissioner Mike Quigley was worried if this is like a car payment
will they still service the system after it's paid for? Alson he was told that 60-65% were using the touchscreen and only 30% were using
Dr. Simon was there answering health questions, mostly in regards to WGN's series on the orthopoedic patients who had to wait
over a year for surgery before they were all eliminated at Providence Hospital. Dr. Simon said that they can go to ER Ortho and that Stroger Hospital
was taking all the orthopeodic cases and that hip replacements people generally have to wait. He said that they were not letting
people be in pain. But the Board asked him if WGN news is running this special and Dr. Simon says they are wrong then Dr. Simon
needs to contact them.
Todd says we are a little short on auditors that is why this is going on
Cook County's juvenile jail has been spending money and ordering supplies with almost no oversight or control, an audit released Wednesday said.
But auditors didn't -- and won't -- look into whether anyone took advantage of those lax controls to steal from the county taxpayers, county officials said.
Wow, they finally got Eddie Vrdolyak, unbelievable. He is also good buddies with Judy Barr Topinka, Tony Peraica, former Mayor of Cicero the convicted Betty Loren Maltese, and I am wondering if there are some really nervous politicians around? Now that Stuart Levine is talking because of his involvement with Cellini and Kelley in the Governors campaign fundraising issues, or are they going by Official A and Official B?
Vrdolyak indicted on fraud, bribery charges
May 10, 2007
My Mike Robinson
Former Chicago Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak, who headed Chicago Machine forces in the so-called Council Wars that raged at city hall in the 1980s, was indicted today on federal fraud and bribery charges.
Vrdolyak, 69, an attorney, was accused in the four-count indictment of scheming with millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine to obtain a kickback for Levine in the sale of a building.
Levine already has pleaded guilty to scheming to pressure financial companies for payoffs in exchange for state business and other charges and now is cooperating with federal prosecutors in corruption investigations.
According to the indictment, Vrdolyak was involved in a plot to defraud a suburban medical school in the sale of the North Side building to a private developer.
The indictment said Vrdolyak was to receive a $1.5 million kickback after acting as a middleman in the sale of the property by Chicago Medical School to the developer, Smithfield Properties. He then would split the money with Levine, according to the indictment.
Neither the school nor Smithfield were charged with any wrongdoing.
"This case exposes the behind-the-scenes manipulation that the defendant and Levine allegedly engaged in to reap financial windfalls," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the indictment.
Vrdolyak was the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and leader of Chicago Machine forces that battled Harold Washington after he became the first black mayor of Chicago in 1983.
He also served as the alderman of Chicago's 10th Ward.
After Washington won a majority in the city council, Vrdolyak switched parties and became an unsuccessful Republican candidate for mayor.
Prosecutors said Vrdolyak would be summoned to appear in court later to answer the charges.
Vrdolyak attorney Michael Monico could not be reached for comment.
Mail fraud and wire fraud counts in the indictment each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bribery carries a maximum of 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
Peraica, Beavers pointing fingers over ethics
May 9, 2007
By Jonathan Lipman Staff writer
Tony Peraica's expected counter-punch landed Tuesday in what has become an escalating political tiff over ethics violations with Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers and Board President Todd Stroger.
Contributors to both Beavers' and Stroger's political campaigns violated the county's ethics ordinance, Peraica alleged in a statement Tuesday.
Peraica (R-Riverside) is due up Thursday in the county finance committee to answer Beavers' allegation that he has done the same. Peraica has acknowledged he accepted donations that violated the policy and has promised to give them back.
"I will hold myself accountable for any mistakes that were made," Peraica said in the statement. "But I will also hold accountable any of my fellow commissioners who repeatedly flout the ethics rules and insult the very taxpayers they purport to represent."
Stroger promised Tuesday to also return contributions that violated the ordinance, but hit back at Peraica.
"Commissioner Peraica has the nerve to issue a press release accusing the president of violating the ethics ordinance when he was just caught violating it," Stroger spokesman Steve Mayberry said. "It's hilarious. -- He should get his own house in order."
A message left for Beavers (D-Chicago) was not returned.
At issue for all three politicians is an oft-flouted provision of the county ethics code that forbids anyone who does business with the county or forest preserve government from donating more than $3,000 to a county official.
The ordinance is written so the violation is the donor's fault -- the politician who got the money faces no consequences.
Peraica ran afoul of the ordinance when he accepted $2,000-per-month worth of free campaign office space from the same man, Asif Yusuf, who Peraica pays for his district commissioner's office.
Stroger's campaign accepted $15,500 last year from John Sterling. Sterling's company, Synch-Solutions, has
How much do radio and TV commercials cost ComEd to tell us they will go bankrupt if they don't raise rates?5 comments Posted by Third Generation Chicago Native at 5/08/2007
As things heat up in Springfield with Lt. Governor Quinn, State Senate President Emil Jones, State House Speaker Michael Madigan, the commercials that ComEd is airing increase. I don't care if it is local radio and TV, this is getting ridiculous. I can't believe these commercials aren't cheap. Who is paying for them? Yes the people who now are paying much higher electric rates as the parent company Excelon makes record profits, and shares keep going up.
Feeling conflicted? Jones says no
May 6, 2007
BY CAROL MARIN email@example.com
I like Emil Jones a lot, but these days he's pretty angry at reporters like me.
The same Illinois Senate president I watched glide on the dance floor at the inauguration of Gov. Blagojevich in January, the same Emil Jones who just a few days later wrapped his arms like a proud political papa around Barack Obama when he announced for president, is mad enough to spit nails. And I think I can name his likely targets.
"You fabricate," he told Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney Thursday.
Jones is referring to our stories last week about the incredible good fortune that has befallen his family during the reign of Rod Blagojevich and at a time when public utilities need formidable friends in the Legislature.
In a joint investigation, NBC5 News and the Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that at the same time Jones was engaged in legislative guerrilla warfare to guarantee that his campaign benefactor, Commonwealth Edison, wasn't stuck with a rate freeze, Jones' own stepson was making money working for Exelon, ComEd's parent company.
Not the Senate president.
"He doesn't check with me on what business he's doing," said Jones. "So I have no way of knowing what he's doing."
As it turns out, Jones' stepson, John Sterling, is apparently doing a lot of business his stepfather doesn't know about. Sterling, the CEO of Synch-Solutions, a computer technology firm and minority business enterprise, has loads and loads of contracts. In addition to the deal he has with Exelon, he has computer technology contracts with 12 governmental agencies including the City Colleges of Chicago, which just last month handed him another $45 million no-bid contract in addition to the $55 million they paid him for past work. Do the math. A hundred million dollars is a tidy chunk of change.
Does it matter that the Senate president's daughter, Rene Rose, does lobbying work in Springfield on behalf of the City Colleges? Or that the powerhouse law firm that hired her as a lobbyist, Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP, also has Exelon as one of its clients?
Maybe it's just all a crazy coincidence. Illinois, after all, is not only the Land of Lincoln, it's also the Land of Coincidence.
And there are more coincidences in this saga.
In addition to Jones' stepson and daughter, his son Emil III just got a new and higher-paying state job last month working for the Blagojevich administration's Commerce Department at a salary of $57,360. His new title and 7 percent raise came right around the same time that Jones emerged as one of the governor's only outspoken advocates for a controversial new gross receipts tax that just about everyone else hates.
And finally, there is Jones' wife, Lorrie Stone. Under the Blagojevich administration, her salary has jumped $70,000 when she was promoted to state mental health chief. She makes $186,000 now.
"I'm proud of my son. I'm proud of my wife," said the Senate president on Thursday, pointing out that his family is filled with well-educated, highly qualified professionals.
Does he feel that he has any conflicts at all?
"I don't have a conflict," said the Senate president.
But that doesn't end the discussion.
While we were busy last week reporting on the giant no-bid contracts to Jones' stepson, we almost failed to notice a little bill that was passed out of the Senate last week. It's a doozy.
Senate Bill 1381, now in the Rules Committee of the House, would pave the way for even more no-bid contracts in Illinois. It would allow the state to circumvent the bidding process and hire computer technology firms or other minority businesses just as long as -- get this -- those companies had previously had contracts with other units of government or community colleges.
We don't need any more no-bid contracts in Illinois. And I would respectfully disagree with my friend, the Senate president.
When coincidences look like conflicts, they usually are.
Keep Libraries safe
If enacted, Illinois would join 21 other states with filter laws for libraries or schools.
Children at the Midlothian library must have written permission from their parents to use the Internet alone, according to Mary Beth Sharples, director of the Midlothian Public Library. Otherwise, they must be accompanied by an adult while on the computer.
"We do not have filters," Sharples said. "The reasoning was to make people responsible for their own actions."
Previous incarnations of the library bill would have required librarians to take an oath that they would filter Internet content. Criminal charges and fines of $100 a day for violators would have been imposed. And libraries and librarians would have been vulnerable to lawsuits if they weren't in compliance.
The bill adopted by the House still calls for an oath, but librarians would not be subject to criminal charges or fines. They must promise their libraries are in compliance, however.
The punitive aspects of the bill are gone, but library funding is tied to enforcement. Only libraries in compliance with the act would be eligible for state grants.
Public libraries rely on the property taxes for 85 percent to 95 percent of their revenue, Berggren said.
Berggren anticipates the bill could bring an increase in operating costs for libraries because they would have to pay for the filters and, potentially, more staff.
The bill requires that if a filter is turned off for a child then they must be supervised by someone 21 or older. Some librarians say they will need more librarians for this supervision.
Joyce said the bill will make it easier for librarians who don't want to monitor patrons computer use.
"We make it so much easier for the librarians if we pass the bill," he said. 'They don't have to monitor it. They don't have to police it."
He hopes filters also will keep people interested in pornography out of the library.
"If it protects children and keeps some of these people from the library, it's a good thing," he said.
"Senators and representative don't want to vote against it and have people say they're for pornography," she said. "We're not for pornography either. I think you'll find librarians are very much First Amendment people but it's not like we publicize, 'Come to the library and see dirty pictures.' "
Blagojevich donor hit with formal indictment
May 4, 2007
The Associated Press
Two months after she was arrested, a woman with close ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife has been indicted on charges of bilking the state of more than $2 million, Cook County prosecutors said today.
Anita K. Mahajan, 56, owns K.K. Bioscience Inc., which has had a contract since the 1990s to conduct drug screenings for clients of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Prosecutors claim the company billed the state for screenings that were never performed.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Smith said Mahajan was indicted for the theft of more than $100,000 from a government entity, continuing financial crimes enterprise and false certification. If convicted, Mahajan faces 6 to 30 years in prison.
Mahajan did not speak during a brief court hearing today and would not comment afterward. A judge scheduled her arraignment for May 24.
Mahajan and her banker husband, Amrish, paid first lady Patti Blagojevich more than $113,000 in commissions from real estate deals last year. Amrish Mahajan is also a contributor to Blagojevich's political campaigns.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
You can't turn on news radio, watch local news or read a local paper without knowing Obama has secret service protection2 comments Posted by Third Generation Chicago Native at 5/04/2007
Some towns have car henge such as Alliance Nebraska. We have this, in Commissioner Tony Peraica's district. What is it shish ka bob cars?
Obamamania in Illinois
Emil Jones, President of the State Senate, in deep with ComEd, Excelon
Senate President Emil Jones on Thursday defended his stepson's financial deal with a utility company and accused reporters of fabricating stories about his family.
The South Side Democrat attempted to quash a political revolt from within his own party after the Chicago Sun-Times reported his stepson's computer firm was on the payroll of Commonwealth Edison's corporate parent at the same time Jones shielded ComEd from rate cuts.
"I don't have a conflict," Jones told reporters after a 45-minute, closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats.
Jones reiterated he had no knowledge that Synch-Solutions, owned by his stepson John Sterling, was on Exelon's information-technology payroll since 2004.
"No. 1, he doesn't check with me on what business he's doing business with, so I have no way of knowing what he's doing. He doesn't get involved in policy," Jones said.
The revelation about Sterling's deal followed a move by Jones to kill a rate rollback for ComEd customers two weeks ago by using a rare parliamentary step.
The story about Sterling comes after reports about how Jones' wife, a psychologist, boosted her state government salary by more than $70,000 through a 2005 promotion, and a son, Emil Jones III, landed a $57,360-a-year state commerce job last month despite lacking a college degree.
"You fabricate," Jones told reporters. "My wife was a professional. . . . They're paying her the same salary that her predecessor made."
"I'm proud of my son," Jones continued, referring to Sterling. "We sent him to college. He did well."
Some in Jones' caucus have questioned his credibility in the wake of his family profiting during his tenure as the state Senate's top Democrat. None have been willing to state such concerns publicly, fearing political retribution.
Jones' daughter added to mix
In Thursday's editions, the Sun-Times and NBC5 disclosed Sterling's business relationships with both Exelon and the City Colleges of Chicago -- the latter of which awarded Sterling's firm a $45 million no-bid technology deal on April 12.
Besides Sterling, Jones' daughter, lobbyist Renee Rose, derives income linked to the City Colleges. She began lobbying members of the General Assembly on the college system's behalf during the last year and a half, Jones spokeswoman Cindy Davidsmeyer said.
Davidsmeyer did not know the nature of the lobbying work, including whether any of it involved securing state computer grants that could have benefitted her stepbrother.
Rose's work for the City Colleges was funneled to her through the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, which she represents in Springfield. Mayer, Brown also lists Exelon as one of its clients, but both Davidsmeyer and an Exelon spokeswoman said Rose has done no lobbying work for the utility.
Todd's getting his people on board
Stroger's cousin Donna Dunnings gets CFO by 10 to 6 vote.
Commissioner Mike Quigley conveniently out of town on this vote. He was one of two Democratic Democratic Commissioners who would vote against this, Forrest Claypool was the other
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's embattled choice as the county's chief financial officer, his cousin Donna Dunnings, won board approval on Wednesday.
Although Dunnings' nomination appeared to be in trouble since Stroger announced it in February, the board's legislative committee, which includes all commissioners, OK'd it by a 10-to-6 vote.
Only the five Republican commissioners and Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) opposed it. Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), who had promised to vote against Dunnings, was out of town.
After the vote, a defiant Dunnings had a curt response to her critics: "Get a life."
She voluntarily has agreed to forego the $10,000 bump in pay she would get to her $142,000 annual salary.
In similar split votes, the county board also approved Stroger's three other nominations:
• Mark Kilgallon, the director of human resources when the county department was raided by the FBI last year, was approved as chief administrative officer. Kilgallon said federal prosecutors have told him he's not a target of their investigation.
• Carmen Triche -- former purchasing agent for the county forest preserve district and the wife of Stroger's childhood friend, state Rep. Marlow Colvin -- becomes the county's purchasing agent. Triche pointed out that she married Colvin only recently and has worked for the county since 1990.
• Joseph Fratto, the former Chicago Park District pension fund director who was Stroger's boss when Stroger worked at the park district, now is the county comptroller.
Dr. Simons says patients can wait, what other choice do they have? How many are in pain while they are waiting?
SW side condo boom, really? OK so this is the far South, Southwest side. Hardly a boom considering what is going on the near south side just south of the Loop.
And Cook County is doing business with Rezko, who is/was involved with a company headed by a dead woman.
Rezko's name keeps coming up, this time with Cook County, and Todd Stroger's office found this problem, that was started under Daddy John Stroger's tenure. Sure if John Stroger can run Cook County after a debilitating stroke, why can't a dead woman run a business?
Four years after a company with ties to indicted political insider Tony Rezko landed a lucrative no-bid Cook County contract, there's no evidence the firm has done any work for the millions of dollars it has made.
Crucial Communications is a minority-owned subcontractor on AT&T's pact to provide phone services at the county jail. But a recent audit shows the company has not submitted any documents showing what it has done for the more than $2 million it has received, other than help AT&T meet its minority contracting requirement.
Crucial Communications is headed by Jabir Muhammad, son of former Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. In 2005, the City of Chicago accused Muhammad of serving as a minority front for Rezko on an O'Hare Airport contract.
Records also show Cook County government did not receive more than $1 million it was owed on that contract, which commissioners have called an insider deal from the start.
The findings by the county's own auditors have prompted County Board President Todd Stroger to shake up leadership, as "we're very troubled by it," chief of staff Lance Tyson said. "It's not going to be tolerated."
Headed by a dead woman
When the contract was awarded, Commissioner Mike Quigley called it "incestuous as hell."
Rezko, indicted for allegedly demanding kickbacks on state contracts, shares office space with the firm, is close to Muhammad and has a brother on the firm's payroll. Rezko denies he has anything to do with Crucial Communications, even though he is part owner of a separate firm in the same office, Crucial Inc., which provided the startup money for Crucial Communications.
For almost a year, Crucial Communications was nominally headed by a dead woman, and John Stroger's personal assistant notarized documents confirming her continued involvement.
A person who answered the phone at Crucial Communications twice replied "who?" when asked for Muhammad. When Crucial was mentioned, she referred the call to a Cook County government number.
A message left at that county number was not returned.
An attorney for Muhammad, who has been seriously ill for years, also did not return a call.
County: Some patients waiting a year
May 1, 2007
Staff writer Jonathan Lipman
County health officials acknowledged today some patients are waiting up to a year for orthopedic medical procedures at Stroger Hospital, but said the problems predate recent budget cuts.
"The orthopedic hip replacements, there’s been a backlog of a year or more all along," health bureau chief Robert Simon told the county board. "This is before the budget you guys passed was implemented.
"We just never have had the resources to do all the hip replacements that need to be done."
All people who need emergency orthopedic procedures -- which deal with bone and joint problems -- are getting them, Simon said. The backlog is in hip replacement and other things that are "not critical, that could wait," Simon said.
He was responding to questions from commissioners after a report in the Daily Southtown last month.
The Southtown reported patients being transferred from Provident Hospital’s shuttered orthopedic unit to Stroger Hospital were getting appointments a year away. The county eliminated 260 doctors in the 2007 budget.
County workers don't need receipts to get repaid?
May 1, 2007
By Steve Patterson
It apparently doesn't take much for a Cook County government employee to get reimbursed for an expense.
Sometimes employees provide no proof of their actual expense, while other times they produce handwritten notes instead of receipts, according to findings of an internal county audit.
It's not known how much that lax oversight has cost the county over the years, but Board President Todd Stroger says it's ending.
"All departments will be audited moving forward," said his chief of staff, Lance Tyson. "Accountability is really one of the major elements of this year."
Auditors pointed out problems with proof of expenses and other petty cash withdrawals from the county's information technology department.
Gasoline is also being reimbursed to employees, the audit says, without receipts or explanations for use.
The county's now-ousted IT director, Catherine Maras-O'Leary, said new reimbursement policies are in the works.
Bill Beavers also lives in a glass house so he had better watch who he is throwing stones at
Peraica accepted $2,000 per month of in-kind campaign contributions by accepting free office space for his campaign from the same man who also rents Peraica space for his Cook County commissioner’s office in Westchester.
The county ethics ordinance limits commissioners to $3,000 in contributions per year from people who do business with the county, so the free space amounted to a violation.
Peraica said it was an oversight because the checks are made out to two separate names and he will voluntarily pay back the rent to his landlord.
Any closer examination of the oft-ignored ethics rules could backfire for Beavers.
For years, the former Chicago alderman used the same address for his Democratic Party committeeman’s office — the headquarters of his political organization — as he used for his city-funded aldermanic office. His daughter, Darcel Beavers, was appointed as his replacement and is using it now.
Stroger could also run into ethics problems. A provision of the ordinance says “No official or employee shall participate in a hiring decision, in any agency over which such official … exercises immediate supervision with respect to any … relative of the official.”
Today, Stroger will ask the county board to appoint his cousin, Donna Dunnings, as his chief financial officer. The ethics ordinance includes cousins as relatives.
Condo boom on SW side, Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods