All Articles Tagged "corruption"
(Chicago Sun Times) — Local government employees who once passed around 500 credit cards will now get by on just eight, under a crackdown that exceeded Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s expectations. Two months ago, Emanuel reduced the number of credit cards to 30 after alleged abuses that ousted the chiefs of the CHA and Chicago Park District. The plan called for five credit cards to be issued to top executives of each of six agencies: the CTA, CHA, Park District, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges and Public Building Commission. Monthly expenditures are posted on the Internet. Now, the number of credit cards has been further reduced to “no more than eight” with three of the six agencies joining City Hall in going cold turkey.
(Washington Post) — Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown has until Monday to review documents he turned over to the FBI under a grand jury subpoena before making them available to a special D.C. Council committee investigating the Gray administration, a Superior Court judge ruled Thursday. Last week, Brown responded to the council’s subpoena for the documents by disclosing the grand jury’s June subpoena and his Aug. 12 letter to Judge Judith N. Macaluso, in which he said the items were “no longer in my possession.” The disclosure marked the first documented acknowledgment of a grand jury probe of Brown’s claims that he was paid and promised a city job to disparage then-mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on behalf of the campaign for now-Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).
(nj.com) — On the day Mayor Cory Booker made his first state of the city address, he had vowed to end political contributions given in exchange for city contracts. ”No one with a city contract can give money to politicians in the city of Newark going forward,” Booker told reporters February 7, 2007. But that same afternoon his deputy mayor, Ronald Salahuddin, was doing just that, according to FBI surveillance tapes. ”Your contract’s the only one that’s been executed,” Salahuddin told Nicholas Mazzocchi, then the state’s largest contractor in building demolition. Only two months prior, according to the tapes, Salahuddin solicited a $5,000 contribution from Mazzocchi to Booker’s nonprofit, Newark Now, telling him, “This makes you strong.”
(Washington Post) — Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown said records that a special D.C. Council committee is seeking through a court order have been turned over to federal authorities under grand jury subpoena. Brown is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Sept. 15 on the council’s efforts to get the records as part of the special committee probe into the Gray administration’s hiring practices. Brown has said he was paid and promised a city job by then-mayoral candidateand current mayor Vincent C. Gray’s campaign staff to disparage then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) during last year’s race. In a letter last month to Judge Judith N. Macaluso, who is overseeing the council’s records request, Brown explained that he could not fulfill the request because he handed over the records to the FBI at the request of the U.S. attorney’s office. The documents “are no longer in my possession,” Brown wrote in the Aug. 12 letter.
(Chicago Tribune) — The attorney general is suing a nonprofit group run by the police chief of Country Club Hills for nearly $1 million in job training grants — some of which the state says went to rent space at the officer’s theater for $12,000 a month. A nonprofit group run by a south suburban police chief agreed to use a $1.25 million state grant to help minorities learn the building trades while working at the officer’s historic Chicago theater. But now the Illinois attorney general is suing We Are Our Brothers Keeper, saying the charity run by Country Club Hills police Chief Regina Evans used the grant to rent space from her theater for $12,000 a month — violating a conflict-of-interest rule.
(Washington Post) — Curtis Smalls, a retired elementary school principal, is worried about the high rate of foreclosures in Prince George’s County. Bridgette Kendrick, an analyst with the Internal Revenue Service in New Carrollton, says that crime in her Kettering neighborhood is on the upswing and that she no longer takes long walks in her leafy community. Sandy Pruitt, a community activist from Lake Arbor, says Prince George’s needs to repair its “tarnished image” after Jack B. Johnson (D), the former county executive, and his wife, former County Council member Leslie Johnson (D), pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. “We need to move ahead of where we are with Jack and Leslie,” Pruitt said.
(Chicago Tribune) – Chicago and the Regional Transportation Authority on Tuesday filed the first of what are expected to be numerous lawsuits brought against other Illinoismunicipalities and businesses to halt a “tax avoidance kickback scheme” that is allegedly diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in sales taxes away from the Chicago area. The two lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court against Kankakee, Channahon and several business consultants. The legal action comes amid a looming budget shortfall in Chicago and a financial crisis with the mass transit system that is forcing theCTA, Metra and Pace to consider fare increases and service cuts as early as next year, officials said.
(Washington Post) — The D.C. Republican Committee has launched a Web site dedicated to riding herd on embattled D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) and his fellow ethically-challenged city pols. Located at harrythomasjr.com, the site asks “Are You Tired of the Scandals?” and features a picture of Thomas at the news conference he held shortly after the allegations of converting city money were first aired. Keep in mind that it was his Republican opponent, Timothy Day, whofirst raised pointed questions about Thomas’s non-political fundraising efforts.
Several managers of Detroit’s Human Services Department have been suspended following the revelation of inappropriate spending there. The Detroit Free Press uncovered a receipt through the Freedom of Information act that details a $210,000 purchase of office furniture — taken from funds meant to feed the poor. These monies, which bought luxury items like a $3,000 conference table, were part of a $1.2 million grant for the administration of a clothing and food bank.
The scandal is even more disturbing, because employee salaries had been recently slashed by 10%. The department heads also claimed that a lack of funds caused the delayed opening of a warming center for the homeless during the previous winter.
Instead of helping the needy, Detroit’s Human Services Department supervisors purchased $314 trash cans and $470 ottomans. The Consumerist blog has more on the story:
The Detroit Free Press blew the lid off this misspending and waste after it used a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy of the receipt for the pricey office furniture that was delivered to Detroit’s Human Services Department. You can look at the entire receipt here (PDF).
The Free Press story kicked off an FBI investigation and resulted in the Director of the office and several other employees being suspended. The Mayor’s office, the police, and the city’s auditor general are wrapping up their investigations of the office following the report. The Mayor said the results would probably end up with most, if not all, of the suspended employees getting fired.
“Mayor Bing has made it clear that city government must work for residents,” mayoral spokesman Dan Lijana told the Detroit Free Press. “He has zero tolerance for the reality or appearance of misuse or mismanagement of funds.”
(Washington Examiner) — A rising tide of D.C. voters and elected officials is calling on Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. to resign after he agreed to pay the city back $300,000 he was accused of stealing. Petitions are circulating through Thomas’ Ward 5 to initiate a recall vote, and two D.C. Council members have called for him to resign. Other council members, including council Chairman Kwame Brown, have pushed Thomas to strongly consider his actions and the dark cloud they’ve cast on the city’s legislative body. Meanwhile, Thomas’ attorney, Fred Cooke, is creating a legal defense fund, The Washington Examiner has confirmed. The cash will help Thomas cover the costs of defending himself against an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: