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The [Friday] Papers

"Not long after taking over the budget committee of a state agency, Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown voted by proxy to channel $5 million to a West Side nonprofit to help continue funding Gov. Pat Quinn's now-disbanded Neighborhood Recovery Initiative," Dave McKinney reports for the Sun-Times.

"That vote by Brown came at the same time the nonprofit, Chicago Area Project, employed her husband, Benton Cook III, to oversee millions of dollars in Neighborhood Recovery Initiative programming. The organization subsidized his paycheck with state anti-violence grant money.

"It's not clear whether any of the grant funds Brown authorized for Chicago Area Project's use in September 2012 trickled into Cook's paycheck since the nonprofit says he left its payroll in October of that year.

"But her decision to proceed with a vote on the matter instead of abstaining sparked criticism Thursday from Gov. Pat Quinn's office and a call from the top House Republican that she resign her chairmanship of the Criminal Justice Information Authority's budget committee, through which state anti-violence grants are disbursed."

What's odd about Brown's maneuver is that her vote wasn't even necessary; the funding to CAP was approved unanimously. That's what they call in sports an unforced error.

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Meanwhile, the Tribune reports:

"Cook County prosecutors are investigating a land deal that netted Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and her husband tens of thousands of dollars with no money down, the Tribune has learned.

"Brown's husband, Benton Cook III, confirmed that a grand jury is probing the deal, which saw him get a North Lawndale building for free from a longtime campaign contributor to Brown.

"The court clerk quickly became a co-owner, and her company sold the parcel for $100,000 to a Frankfort real estate developer who'd long had his eye on it. The developer said Thursday that he testified before a grand jury earlier this year about how he came to acquire the land."

(The Trib notes that "The land deal was first reported in late November by WFLD-Ch. 32 news and the Better Government Association." See "Dorothy's Deed, Done Dirt Cheap.")

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"It's becoming even more clear that Alvarez's probe of Gov. Quinn's anti-violence initiative is a lot more about Brown than it is about Quinn - at least, for now," Rich Miller writes today at his Capitol Fax blog.

That would help explain why Alvarez is proceeding on one track while the feds proceed on another; Brown is her territory and and an investigation focused on her doesn't muck up the larger probe into the NRI by the U.S. Attorney's Office out of Springfield.

(Cook County inspector general Patrick Blanchard is also reportedly looking into the Brown affair; a legislative panel is also looking into the now-defunct NRI.)

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Let's take a look at The Dorothy Brown Files via Beachwood vault.

March 25, 2008: "Fox Chicago's Dane Placko reported that Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown put a former police officer on her payroll as a 'systems analyst' who instead appears to be her chauffeur. I say 'appears to be' because Brown claims the man is part of her security force.

"That's just a budget title," she says of the "systems analyst" designation.

"That sounds like fraud to me, but I'll leave that up to others to decide."

January 26, 2010: Who Is Dorothy Brown?

March 19, 2012: Dorothy Brown Outraged By E-Filing Pledge She Pretends She Didn't Know About.

November 8, 2012: Vote totals for incumbents with token opposition.

* Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown: 1,220,896.

* Recorder Karen Yarbrough: 1,215,387.

* State's Attorney Anita Alvarez: 1,348,783.

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See also: Double Agent Dorothy Brown.

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There shall be collateral damage. From last month:

"The wife of a state lawmaker from the south suburbs made more than $137,000 in salary and benefits from Gov. Pat Quinn's now-abolished Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, state records show," the Sun-Times reported.

"That total for Jaclin Davis, wife of state Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, represented 11 percent of the anti-violence grant dollars her employer, Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, was allotted in 2011 and 2012 under Quinn's program.

"Davis was the organization's program coordinator, which put her in charge of managing how the governor's 2010 program was implemented in Thornton Township. More than $1.2 million in state funds were disbursed through her agency."

I suspect we'll see a lot more stories like this in the next few months. Anyone who ever got even a sniff of NRI money ought to be lawyering up right now.

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See also:
* The Problems And Politics Of Pat Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

* Quinn's NRI Fiasco Splashes Mud On Rahm.

* The Political Odds have been adjusted to reflect recent events.

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The Week In Juvenile Justice
Why new DCFS chief Bobbie Gregg shouldn't get too comfortable.

Plus: Are Teen Beefs The New Turf Wars? It's not just Garry McCarthy saying so.

And: The Bullied And Guns, Sex Abuse In China, Nigeria's Missing Girls.

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Trollscout Lives In Elmhurst
Meet the NFL's most infamous talent evaluator.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy
Comedy. On time.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Queens of the Stone Age, Wolfmother, Uh Huh Her, Chromeo, Joseph Arthur, Mastodon, Ray LaMontagne, Primal Fear, Matchess, and Tech N9ne.

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BeachBook
* World's Most Prolific Online Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty In Chicago.

* Shanghai Daily: Chicago's Homeless Recovering After Record Cold Winter.

* Some Steadying Words On The Current Situation.

Utterly brilliant.

* Michael Jordan Mulling Return To Craps Table.

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TweetWood

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But they suck in different ways, which satisfies science.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Satisfy science.



Permalink

Posted on May 9, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair.
POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Teens Still Underreporting Concussions.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.


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