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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.

Torture Talk
"President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA interrogators who used waterboarding on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said," Reuters reports.

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.

That's Todd!
It turns out that Todd Stroger hired the fired patronage worker at the heart of a Cook County scandal after meeting him at Ruth's Chris Steak House where he was waiting tables. The worker, not Todd.

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.

Todd 2
"When it comes to handling taxpayer money, there can be no distraction," a Stroger spokesman told the Defender, apparently before bursting out laughing.

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.

Party Poop
Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone who showed up at the Beachwood last night to celebrate the award-winning reporting of Erica Christoffer and Becky Schlikerman. It was fun to see so many Beachwood writers and readers in one place, even if some of them were incomprehensibly drunk. I discovered two things late into the evening: that the song used as the theme for The Hills is on the Beachwood jukebox and that I'm supposedly the only one in the entire bar who watches that show.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Unwritten.


Posted on April 18, 2009

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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