By Annie Sweeney Tribune reporter 12:30 a.m. CDT, July 18, 2012
A campaign treasurer for a former state senator, two Cook County corrections officers and four others were snared in an undercover FBI sting in which they paid kickbacks in the hope of securing thousands of dollars in federal grants, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday.
The sting began in July 2011 when a Chicago police officer who is cooperating because of his own federal troubles approached a longtime friend — the onetime campaign treasurer — about a corrupt federal Health and Human Services Department contact who was passing out grants “like candy.”
Dean Nichols, 62 allegedly took the bait and then involved the others, including two people who were highlighted in a 2008 Tribune investigation of dubious after-school programs funded by controversial state grants, many of them awarded by then-state Sen. Rickey Hendon.
Ex-campaign treasurer for Hendon among 7 charged in FBI sting
By Ryan Haggerty Tribune reporter 10:04 a.m. CDT, April 6, 2012
A Cook County judge is scheduled to decide this afternoon whether to appoint a special prosecutor to look into how Chicago police investigated the 2004 death of David Koschman following a drunken confrontation with a nephew of then-Mayor Richard Daley.
In seeking the special prosecutor, attorneys for Koschman’s family have argued that Chicago police deliberately falsified reports to make it appear Koschman was the aggressor.
But the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, which opposes the appointment, accused Koschman’s attorneys of “Monday morning quarterbacking” and jumping to conclusions about evidence.
By Megan Geuss
In Cook County today Judge Stanley J. Sacks declared Illinois’ eavesdropping law—which is one of the toughest in the nation—unconstitutional in his ruling in the case of Christopher Drew, who was charged with the felony crime in 2009.
The eavesdropping law prohibits citizens from making audio or visual recordings of others without every recorded person’s explicit consent. Sixty-year-old artist Drew audio-recorded his interaction with a police officer who was arresting him for selling art patches at the side of the road. A police officer found the tape recorder and Drew found himself with a Class 1 felony charge, which carries up to 15 years in prison. “That’s one step below attempted murder,” Drew said in a January interview with the New York Times.
Illinois judge: law barring recording police is unconstitutional
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County budget that is up for a vote Friday includes a first-ever county tax on cars and boats bought through sites such as Craigslist.
But as WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the plan comes as a surprise to the state office that would be playing a key role.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
Currently, the county does not impose a tax on transactions through Craigslist, or between neighbors, involving cars, boats, RVs and trailers.
By Joel Hood, Tribune reporter January 9, 2011
Promising to crack down on those who illegally dump garbage in poor, urban pockets of southern Cook County, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is targeting a prominent Markham businessman who in 2009 scored a $6 million waste removal contract with the city of Chicago.
EPA officials describe Jim Bracken, owner of Brackenbox Inc. Dumpster service as well as a transfer and recycling center in Markham, as a “chronic” violator of environmental regulations, and referred his case to the state attorney general’s office to seek compliance.
Records show Bracken has been cited at least nine times since 2009 with various environmental infractions, from illegally dumping crushed drywall in an open field to improperly accepting household hazardous waste, garbage and landscaping debris at his Markham transfer station.
via State EPA targeting Markham businessman in effort to curb illegal dumping – chicagotribune.com.
December 4, 2010 BY MICHAEL DRAKULICH
A Midlothian woman working as an accountant siphoned off more than $600,000 over a 3 1/2 -year period from an Oak Lawn firm whose funds she was hired to protect, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney said in court Friday.
Bail was set at $75,000 for Tina Castaneda, 46, 14642 S. Millard Ave., during a hearing at the Cook County courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago.
Castaneda was charged with one count of theft of more than $500,000, Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin said. The charge is a Class 1 felony that carries mandatory prison time if there’s a conviction, Conklin said.
via Midlothian woman accused of stealing $600,000 from Oak Lawn firm :: The SouthtownStar :: Crestwood :: Midlothian :: Oak Forest :: Posen.
October 13, 2010
BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
The head of Cook County’s juvenile jail has sent a 911 letter to Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, concerned troubled staffers at the West Side youth facility will make good on violent threats against bosses as layoffs loom there.
The Sun-Times has obtained a copy of the Oct. 7 letter to Weis, penned by Earl Dunlap, head of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, that reads in part: “Over the next few months, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center will be transitioning to a new staffing plan, which may potentially result in a job loss for over 200 JTDC employees. Hostilities have been growing among some staff members in connection with this plan, and there have been credible threats of violence.”
via Juvenile jail chief worried about ‘dirt bag’ workers :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: News.
BY FRANK MAIN AND ART GOLAB Staff Reporters
In Cook County, drug crimes represented a bigger share of felony cases than any other major county in the United States, according to a federal study released Thursday.
The Justice Department study — a snapshot of 39 counties in May 2006 — found that drug crimes were the most serious charge filed against 57 percent of felony defendants in Cook County.
In Cook County, drug crimes represented a bigger share of felony cases than any other major county in the United States.
Also in Cook County, only 9 percent of the felony cases involved violent crimes, the lowest percentage in the United States, according to the study. The percentage of property crimes and public crimes, such as driving under the influence, were in the average range among the 39 counties.
UIC-BGA REVIEW | Stroger slams’ publicity stunt,’ says no indictments on his watch
February 19, 2010 BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter
Sure, the lineup of Illinois governors and Chicago alderman marched off to prison is infamous, but a new study shines a light on Cook County government corruption.
Consider: Nearly 150 elected leaders, high-ranking officials and people doing business with the county have been convicted in corruption cases ranging from bribery to ghost-payrolling dating back to 1957, a study released Thursday by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Better Government Association found.
“The pervasive pattern of corruption must be changed if county government is to provide honest, effective, efficient and transparent government at a cost the taxpayers can afford,” said Dick Simpson, a study co-author and the head of UIC’s political science department.
via Study examines decades of Cook County corruption :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics.