#250 Apr 15, 2014
What part did then Mayor Peloquin, and City Clerk Frasor play in giving Fred Bilotto "Professional Consideration" with the circumstances of the death of Carlos Salgado? Inquiring minds want to know. They presided over a municipal government that was out of control. The following article gives insight into what could happen, when career politicians get involved.
Follow facts, not pressure, in criminal cases
April 15, 2014
Every criminal case should be investigated and tried based on facts, not political winds.
Thats crucial to keeping in mind when considering the intertwined murder cases of Anthony Porter and Alstory Simon, now under re-examination by Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarezs Conviction integrity Unit. Simon, who was convicted in 1999 for a double murder and is scheduled to be paroled in August 2017, for the last decade has said he was tricked into confessing and wants his conviction thrown out.
Porter, originally sent to death row for the 1982 double murder in Washington Park, was freed in 1999 after Simon gave a videotaped statement that he was the real killer. But on Sunday, the Sun-Times reported that four city attorneys had sent a 2001 memo to their boss, then-Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, calling the freeing a political decision. In an earlier story, the Sun-Times also reported that then chief of criminal prosecutions for the states attorneys office, Thomas Epach, last fall said in an affidavit that his advice to investigate the case more thoroughly before charging Simon wasnt heeded. Porter had a checkered background, to be sure, but the murder case against him simply raised too many substantial unanswered questions. Dropping the case against Porter was a reasonable call by the states attorneys office. Also, the other guy, Simon, a three-time convicted felon, did confess in 1999, repeated his confession six months later in court, apologized in open court to one of the victims mothers and faced other evidence against him. Generally, when people make false confessions under pressure, they recant right away. So we cant agree with the city lawyers who in 2001 said that dropping the case was political.
But our Sunday Sun-Times story does call welcome attention to something that is very true its never crazy to worry that elected officials are feeling political pressure to pursue a case or to drop a case (or even never honestly pursue it).
That certainly was true in the cases of Stephen Buckley, Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez, who were charged with the murder of Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville just 12 days before a crucial primary election and who years later turned out to be innocent. The Duke lacrosse players who eventually were exonerated were charged in the course of a 2006 election important to a North Carolina district attorney. Even Chicagos NATO 3 case looks, in retrospect, like authorities were so determined to root out terrorism that they thought they had found it where it didnt exist.
The Porter case was big news because he was just 50 hours away from execution in 1998 when it was put on hold because of his low IQ. Former Gov. George Ryan cited the case when he imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois. And theres a strong argument Simon should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because of an unusual twist: An investigator on the Porter side of the case, who had an interest in freeing Porter, arranged for Simons lawyer. But even if Simon is innocent, it doesnt mean Porter is guilty.
After all these years, witnesses against both Porter and Simon have changed their stories. Only one thing can be said for sure: Our criminal justice system and every criminal justice system inevitably feels political pressure not just to convict, but to free. The biggest challenge for police and prosecutors can be resisting those political winds, however they blow.
#251 Apr 15, 2014
And follow the money........
to the end of the trail.
#252 Apr 23, 2014
Former Stroger aide gets 6½ years for theft, money laundering
WED, 04/23/2014 -
Carla Oglesby, a top aide to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, worked under the guise of a public employee but was a predator who illegally lined her pockets with taxpayer money, prosecutors said.
She came to work for herself. Her job was to steal as much money as possible before the end of the Stroger reign, Assistant States Attorney Robert Podlasek said before Oglesby was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for steering $325,000 in phony county government contracts to her own company and her pals.
Lets not make any mistakes. This was a crime of clear intent. From the time Oglesby contacted Strogers office to offer her professional services until she maneuvered the last of the money through convoluted accounts and sources to hide it, this has been about Oglesby intentionally raiding money from the community chest.
Oglesbys attorney Anthony Schumann sought probation for the divorced mother, saying that his client had been unfairly singled out by prosecutors.
Judge James Linn, however, noted since Oglesby, 44, was convicted of felony theft and money laundering, the law required him to put her behind bars.
The bespectacled Oglesby, who appeared in court with a purple top and short hairdo Wednesday, was also convicted of unlawful stringing of bids following a bench trial last summer. She was acquitted of several counts of financial crimes and official misconduct charges.
Oglesby was operating a small-time public relations firm, CGC Communication, in 2009 when Stroger tapped her to be his spokeswoman in his re-election bid. He lost the February 2010 primary, but Stroger kept Oglesby on his payroll as his $120,000-a-year deputy chief of staff until days after her arrest.
But a six-figure salary wasnt enough, Podlasek said Wednesday as roughly half dozen of Oglesbys family and friends looked on in Linns courtroom.
Podlasek went on to describe the 56-day period in which Oglesby cobbled up 13 fraudulent contracts as the rape of Cook County.
Prosecutors have contended that Oglesby was at the heart of the scheme to enrich her own coffers with the assistance of Eugene Mullins, Strogers childhood friend and onetime chief media spokesman.
The only goal was to enrich themselves at our expense, at your honors expense, Podlasek told Linn.
And worst of all, she [Oglesby] did it in a county where poverty and crime are sadly pervasive, Podlasek said.
Mullins was sentenced to four years for his role in the crime in federal court last month.
Stroger was not accused of any wrongdoing.
Linn, acknowledged the numerous letters Schumann submitted supporting Oglesbys character, but he also said her actions tied to the case were sad.
As a citizen of Cook County, I was astonished and taken aback at the feverish pace of wasting and spending grant money, the judge said.
#253 Apr 23, 2014
To the end of the trials.
#254 Apr 24, 2014
Chicago Alderman Carrie Austin, seems to like the common criminal.
In letter to judge, Ald. Austin praises convicted Stroger aide
THU, 04/24/2014 -
Months before Carla Oglesby was to be sentenced for theft and money laundering, Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) penned a letter in support of the felon who once served as a top aide to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
Carla Oglesby consistently demonstrates a well-rounded sense of dedication and delightfulness. She is a gentle personality and always shows a genuine willingness to help others, Austin wrote in her Jan. 8 letter to Judge James Linn.
Linn sentenced Oglesby to 6 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for steering $325,000 in phony county government contracts to her own company and her pals while working for Stroger.
Oglesby as Strogers spokeswoman for his re-election bid in 2009 and later his deputy chief of staff was at the heart of the scheme that was greased with the help of Eugene Mullins, Strogers childhood friend and onetime chief media spokesman, prosecutors said.
Mullins is serving a four-year federal prison sentence for his role in the crime.
Austin, who serves as chairman of the City Councils Budget and Government Operations Committee, said she has known Oglesby in both professional and personal capacities for more than four years.
In her letter, on City Council letterhead, Austin, also said of her friend:Ms. Oglesby likewise affords definitive care and attention in all she indulges by going beyond the call of duty to achieve successful outcomes. To the best of my knowledge, I most appreciate her warmth, strong faith, sound character and obvious humility.
Letter from Ald. Carrie Austin on behalf of Carla Oglesby
Oglesby had previously done some work at the alderwomans Lemuel Austin Youth Foundation for underprivileged children, according to one of the 37 character reference letters, requesting Linn for leniency before Wednesdays sentencing.
Austin could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Most of the letters presented to Linn were written by Oglesbys relatives and friends who described her as a dutiful mother, daughter and sister.
Oglesby, the eldest of four children, is known in her family for organizing her parents milestone anniversaries and her clans reunions in the South.
She makes sure that the younger people serve plates to the older people as a sign of respect, her uncle Carvell Coleman Jr. said in his letter.
Prosecutors, however, had harsher words for Oglesby, 44.
Assistant States Attorney Robert Podlasek called her a predator and described the 56-day period in which she cobbled up 13 fraudulent contracts as the rape of Cook County.
#255 Jun 6, 2014
It is not to late to hold them accountable. Stand up, come forward, do the right thing!
GM's scandal is a warning to all of us who have bosses: Speak up!
In his own debacle, a Sears exec sent the right message
June 6, 2014
The opening sentence of the 325-page internal investigation report on a death-dealing scandal at General Motors paradoxically runs too long yet gets right to the point:
"In the fall of 2002, General Motors personnel made a decision that would lead to catastrophic results a GM engineer chose to use an ignition switch in certain cars that was so far below GM's own specifications that it failed to keep the car powered on in circumstances that drivers could encounter, resulting in moving stalls on the highway as well as loss of power on rough terrain a driver might confront moments before a crash."
Aha, we first thought, the culprit unmasked!
But the deeper we read into the report lead-authored by Chicago attorney and former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas, the less we cared about an engineer in 2002, and the more we learned about the dereliction of so many employees who should have known better. So many employees who have so much in common with ... those of us who work in other complex organizations.
There's a lesson in this debacle that we ignore at grave peril to ourselves, to our employers, and most of all to customers who trust us.
And, echoing in our memory bank, there's an intervention step that the chief executive of Chicago's then-Sears, Roebuck took during his company's scandal that every one of us can and should take today.(No need to first wait for a scandal to surface.)
First, though, parse the GM investigation and:
You find "an astonishing number of committees" at GM that devoted attention to the ignition switch problem. But all those meetings of all those committees merely enabled a pass-it-on culture in which "No single person owned any decision."
You find "no evidence that any employee made an explicit trade-off between safety and cost in the investigation of the (Chevrolet) Cobalt." But you also learn that a financially strained company's pressure to contain head count and costs may have influenced ultimately devastating decisions.
You find foolish corporate attempts to sugarcoat facts at the expense of simple candor, with employees trained to write about a safety problem as an "issue, condition, matter." And a "defect"? Heaven forfend! Instead, "does not perform to design."
In sum, you find what rookie GM Chief Executive Mary T. Barra on Thursday called not only "a pattern of incompetence and neglect." But you also find many employees who didn't, in her words, "take the responsibility" to identify and fix the problem.
That's precisely where the rest of us enter, stage right: Granted, there is serious career risk in telling a boss about a blunder, a looming threat, an urgent problem or worst of all a systemic and possibly intentional failure to make ethical behavior more important than company performance. As the GM debacle attests, less of the former can, in the long run, hurt the latter.
Many of us sign annual statements pledging that we will report even suspicions of misconduct, or even questionable judgment, to supervisors in our organizations. The GM report is replete with instances in which an engineer, or a committee, or an executive, or somebody else should have thought less about process and protocol than about doing what was right for this company, its workers and the people who buy its products.
Automaking is a business in which mistakes have lethal consequences in this case, at least 54 front-impact crashes in which at least 13 people died. Those things can happen when faulty ignition switches cause autos not only to stall, but to unwittingly disable their safety air bags.
#256 Jul 13, 2014
Your right it is a mess.
#257 Jul 13, 2014
Wide spread waste of Blue Island's limited assets must end.
The banks and the public are keenly aware.
#258 Sep 20, 2014
Burnham Village Clerk sentenced to 18 months for embezzling
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter September 9, 2014 12:28PM
Gripped by a gambling addiction, she stole $20 or $30 of taxpayers cash at a time and fed it into the slots at Indiana casinos.
But over the years the loot former Burnham Village Clerk Nancy Dobrowski took from the village cash register added up to more than $650,000.
And on Tuesday, the 70-year-old finally paid the price, when she was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras told Dobrowski the tiny working class South suburbs top vote getter for decades that she should be ashamed for displaying the height of betrayal and hypocrisy for pillaging from blue collar people who have trouble putting food on the table at times.
Held in one of the smallest courtrooms in Chicagos downtown Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Dobrowskis hour long sentencing hearing had the feel of a classic Frank Capra movie.
One after another, village officials who felt personally betrayed by Dobrowski stood up to berate her as she leaned on a walker in tears. The towns small size its population is just 4,206 meant most residents knew her, and that her nine year embezzlement scam had a direct impact on police and fire services, they said.
Burnham Mayor Robert Polk told the judge,I trusted her, I trusted her, I trusted her, explaining that many creditors were now reluctant to work with the village because of Dobrowskis crime. Polk said hed several times asked Dobrowski to account for irregularities in the villages finances, but the third time I went to her it was too late because the feds were coming through the door.
And Burnham Police Sgt. Jack Daley said As a police officer I prided myself for getting criminals off the street I never saw you that way.
Angrily telling Dobrowski that officers took pay cuts and used faulty equipment so that she could be treated like a Queen with all of your comps and meals at the casinos, he added,I for one am disgusted!
Fire Chief Andrew Horburg also said that fire services had suffered.
But a sobbing Dobrowski apologized for her crimes, claiming a gambling addiction had overtaken me when she kept village towing fees and other taxpayer cash for herself.
I dont go to sleep at night, she said.I think that everybody hates me for what Ive done... I dont want to wake up in the morning.
Im so sorry I let the people down. I loved them so much.
But Kocoras told Dobrowski in front of a packed courtroom that You say you loved all of these people but for years and years and years you betrayed them, calling stealing her other addiction.
You never once sought help, the judge said.
Kocoras also said the casinos that fed her addiction by giving her free meals and perks should share in the blame.Shame on them! he said.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of three to four years, while Dobrowksis lawyers had asked for probation.
The judge said a prison term was necessary to promote the dignity of the law, but that Dobrowskis advanced age and health problems meant she should get a discount. Though he ordered her to pay restitution to the village, he said he recognized that the money was lost and that taxpayers shouldnt expect much.
Im sorry that I have to do this, but I must, he said.
#259 Sep 20, 2014
Sounds like a pretty good deal. 650,000 for 18 months of service, probably much less. Where do i sign?
#260 Sep 20, 2014
Clearly the 70 year old clerk traded 18 months of freedom for the $650,000 she stole from the taxpayers. Now the taxpayers will pay for her stay in jail.
#261 Feb 27, 2015
The wheels of Justice turn very slowly, but grind very fine.
Ex-Coroner charged with forgery, misconduct
The woman who served as McHenry County's elected coroner for 24 years has been charged with forgery and official misconduct involving the remains of an infant who was not properly buried for 23 years, McHenry County prosecutors said.
Marlene Lantz, the coroner from 1988 until her retirement in 2012, was booked into McHenry County Jail late Thursday, immediately posted $1,000 bond and was released.
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and his criminal division chief, Michael Combs, confirmed the charges against Lantz but declined to elaborate on the accusations or why they are coming to light now, more than two years after Lantz left office. They said the case related to an infant whose remains were handled at the coroner's office in 1992.
Reached at home late Thursday, Lantz, 68, declined to comment, referring questions to her attorney Mark Gummerson, who could not immediately be reached.
#262 Mar 6, 2015
This is what peloquin , frasor and the progressive party left for Blue Island.
The proposed Western Avenue Business Development District is a blighted area
as defined in the BDD Act due to defective or inadequate street layout, significant
deterioration of site improvements, and obsolete platting.
The proposed Western Avenue Business Development District is an economic
liability in its present condition due to the economic underutilization of the area.
#263 Mar 6, 2015
Mayor Vargas and the BIIP are FULL PARTICIPANTS!
#264 Feb 6, 2016
They left a Mess, here in Blue Island. What a Mess.
#265 Jun 27, 2016
Pam Frasor, was in it for herself. You say you want an example! Her Thirty Thousand dollars Golden Parachute.
#266 Jun 27, 2016
That was for accumulated sick/vacation time. This administration should put an end to this for ALL City employees then and use it or lose it.
#267 Jun 27, 2016
BULLSHIT, elected crooks have never received a golden parachute. Blue Island in its deplorable condition, must not give away taxpayers money. This is unconscionable, the money must be used to rebuild bridges and streets. You say sick and vacation time? She was always on vacation, doing absolutely nothing, evil deeds from this evil mind. No Shame picking the pockets, of this poor community Blue Island.
#268 Jul 18, 2016
The above mentioned are really not out of office, they are busy giving orders to the so called independents. They are busy getting the abandoned Nursing Home on Burr Oak, from Cook County zero bid program to hand over free to former Mayor Peloquin. The pay backs continues.
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