The Weekend Desk Report
By The Weekend Desk B Team
Natasha Julius is on assignment tracking down Ashton Kutcher to, um, put him out of our misery. And Larry King and Oprah if she has time. Here are the stories we're following in the meantime this weekend.
Obama was not asked if Chicago police officers should be taken off the hook for alleged acts of torture under former commander Jon Burge, but we'll keep you posted.
Tony Cole had been waiting tables at the steakhouse for three months when he provided such stellar service to Stroger that Stroger decided to put him on the county payroll as an administrative assistant for $48,289 - not including "tips."
"It was a break for a 29-year-old man who had a lengthy record of contact with law enforcement authorities," the Tribune reports politely. To wit:
* Cole was accused by three women of misconduct at a Rhode Island community college. He was twice arrested for trespassing, barred from campus and expelled.
* At the University of Georgia, Cole's girlfriend accused him of being involved in gang-raping her. He was kicked off the basketball team and dropped out of school. Upon leaving, Cole accused the coach of grade-fixing; the allegations led to the coach's resignation.
* In Baton Rouge, Cole was charged with aggravated assault after allegedly threatening an ex-girlfriend with an assault rifle. He was eventually convicted of bouncing a rent check.
* Four months before Stroger hired him, Cole was charged with domestic battery. He allegedly violated an order of protection twice.
Stroger's cousin, Donna Dunnings, twice bailed Cole out of jail.
Five days after she did so the second time, Cole was promoted to - wait for it - assistant human resources director in the Highway Department. His pay got a nice bump up to $61,000.
Once Dunnings' actions on behalf of Cole and, presumably, her cousin became public, Stroger fired her. The media made him do it.
"Being in the position she is in will become a bit of a media circus, and I don't really think she will be able to perform her duties while trying to fight off not only the papers, who will be insistent on talking to her as much as possible, but even politicians on the board who love to make political hay out of anything that happens," Stroger said on WLS.
Stroger refused further interview requests, perhaps because he couldn't really do his job in the midst of a media circus insistent on asking questions about the use of their taxpayer money, which could be put to better use instituting background checks for prospective new employees.
The spokesman also said he expects the county will conduct a nationwide search for Dunnings' replacement, apparently before bursting out laughing.
No, no, really, the spokesman said. Before bursting out laughing.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Unwritten.
Posted on April 18, 2009
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