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The [Thursday] Papers

"When one job applicant at Metra in 1989 was told he wasn't qualified, he simply sent a 'back-door letter' to Metra's chairman. The tactic worked, and the applicant was hired," the Tribune reports.

"[That instance was] recorded in the more than 700 handwritten index cards kept in Metra's files from 1983 to 1991. The cards tell of jobs sought and sometimes won with the apparent help of a variety of politicians - from relatively unknown aldermen to powerful members of Congress.

"The records were obtained by the Tribune through the Freedom of Information Act. They indicate that one often-used track to a job at the commuter rail agency was to get a recommendation from then-Chairman Jeffrey Ladd and his fellow Metra board members.

"Reached by the Tribune on Wednesday, Ladd denied clout played a role in hiring at Metra during his tenure and said the agency's policy was always to hire on merit.

"We weren't running a patronage haven over there," Ladd said. "People wouldn't get a job unless they were qualified."

"Ladd, who served as Metra's first chairman, from 1984 through 2006, said he knew nothing about the card files and was unaware they had been kept or why.

"Metra was 'the most professionally run mass transit agency in the country,' he said."

Jeffrey Ladd, God's Special Creature.

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"Ladd was once a major beneficiary of clout wielded by suburban Republican leaders, such as former Illinois House Speak Lee Daniels of Elmhurst and former Senate President James 'Pate' Philip of Wood Dale," Crain's reported in 2006.

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""Back in 2002, the Metra Electric Line - which runs out to University Park through Riverdale, Homewood and Olympia Fields - was running trains without washrooms," Phil Kadner wrote for the SouthtownStar in 2008.

"It was the only commuter train on the Metra network so ill-equipped. When commuters complained, the grand poohbah of Metra at the time, Jeffrey Ladd, said he wasn't running a 'social welfare agency' designed to give people access to jobs or toilets.

"Ladd then announced a multibillion-dollar plan to create a new Metra line in the western suburbs, where he happened to live."

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U.S. Attorney Seeks Testimony From Jeff Ladd.

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You get the picture.

Forrest Ladd
"For years, Forrest Claypool railed against 'the friends and family hiring practices' of Cook County Board presidents John and Todd Stroger, accusing the father and son of running a county government that was rendered bloated, costly and ineffective by patronage hiring," the Tribune reports.

"Now as head of the CTA, Claypool has hired two former top Stroger aides who gave up their county jobs amid allegations of unethical conduct related to patronage.

"Claypool named James D'Amico to help manage the CTA's rail maintenance. Though D'Amico has no railroad experience, he is a longtime government worker who late last year left his county management post after the inspector general recommended he be fired for allegedly coercing government workers into donating to Todd Stroger's campaign.

"D'Amico joined Gerald Nichols, a top executive under John Stroger, who is Claypool's general manager of legislative affairs and government and community relations at the CTA. In 2006, Nichols was placed on paid suspension from his county job pending an internal investigation into hiring irregularities following an FBI search of county offices that did not result in any charges. Nichols remained suspended until he left the county later that year."

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To the Beachwood vault:

"In 1996, [James D'Amico] pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls in the heat of a political race. That came in the midst of a massive federal ghost-payrolling investigation at City Hall that involved his family and saw several convictions."

And:

"Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele asked the county's patronage chief Gerald Nichols to clean out his office just outside her own Friday because she could not figure out exactly what his official job was."

And:

"Gerald Nichols was [also] drawing $114,000 annually from the county highway department."

And:

"Highway Department supervisor Eric Petraitis say[s] he felt pressured by former President John Stroger's patronage chief Gerald Nichols to change test scores so Todd Stroger's friend Dwayne Robinson, who was rated unqualified for a highway job, could be hired instead of a candidate who was qualified."

What sayeth you, Forrest Claypool?

"Claypool noted that he was 'on the other side in the political opposition' when he labeled Nichols a patronage chief. 'Gerald's done nothing wrong,' Claypool said."

A) So you are admitting to just lobbing allegations against political opponents that you know not to be true?

B) You know your allegations were true because you read the papers. Sometimes you even feed them.

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And back to D'Amico:

"Claypool noted that D'Amico had a reputation at the county for being a good manager and dismissed the allegations against him as 'unproven and unsubstantiated.'"

He pled guilty.

Forrest Claypool, God's Special Reformer.

Friends, Family & Neighbors Plan
"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 reports.

"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."

*

"Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that state records showed the husband of Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown was paid more than $146,401 in salary and fringe benefits over a two-year period from Neighborhood Recovery Initiative grant funds."

Pattern Emerging
"Former Democratic state Rep. Karen Yarbrough has been Cook County's recorder of deeds for little over a year," the Sun-Times reports.

"But in that time, records show, Yarbrough has put a family member on the payroll and hired several people with political ties to her, as well as to her husband, former Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough."

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Illinois: Of your family, by your family, for your family.

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St. Louis Blues
A Chicago-centric tale that simply isn't true.

Sharks, Anchors & Mind Games
In Local TV Notes.

U.S. Government Undermining Internet
"The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software - in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted - are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job."

Result: Heartbleed.

Chicago Wildfire Catch On With ESPN
Network invests in ultimate frisbee.

Inside The Mind Of A Teen Who Killed His Family
What we can learn from why he did it.

Who Is Illinois' Best Tree Climber?
We're about to find out.

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BeachBook
* U.S. Prisons Bursting At Seams.

* Superhero Window-Washers Boost Spirits At Children's Hospital.

* Andrew Cashner Making Theo Epstein Look Bad.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Truth-teller's poker.



Permalink

Posted on April 17, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Wrong Foot Louie vs. The Fireball Kid!

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Meet Limo Bob.


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