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Ex-aide says Moreno kept clout list
County commissioner: 'It's my word against hers'

Monday, November 20, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON AND ABDON M. PALLASCH

A former aide to a high-ranking Cook County commissioner says she kept a secret "clout list" on the commissioner's behalf, detailing job opportunities for those with political ties.
Joseph Mario Moreno is accused of keeping records ranking people with grades -- A+ through F -- on how worthy they were to receive a job or promotion.
Of the 189 people named on the lists, about half have government jobs, or did in the past. Moreno personally delivered some resumes and personally met with elected officials and patronage chiefs about jobs, the records note. They show 31 landed jobs after they were added to the clout list.
'Forget Dawn'
"Get him OT," one note says about a county employee.
"Non-back breaking job," requests another.
"Anything entry level not requiring a driver's license or proof of prior convictions," notes one request.
Those who'd fallen out of favor with Moreno, according to the records, were also noted.
Moreno "wants his application to be lost," says one.
"Forget Dawn; she hasn't done anything," says another.
All of the jobs mentioned on the list are protected by the federal Shakman Decree, which prohibits politics from being used to decide who gets hired. Moreno insists he'd never even seen the list until it was shown to him last week by the Chicago Sun-Times. He also denies ever skirting hiring rules -- saying he sends everyone through proper channels.
But his former assistant, Julie Lively, says Moreno not only knew about the list, he helped her compile it.
''He would view this chart constantly with me,'' she says in an e-mail interview. "He knew about the list, he saw it, we'd sit down and go over it."
She says the list -- including home numbers, cell phone numbers, Social Security numbers and job status -- was kept on a county computer, and updating it was part of her job.
"It's my word against hers," Moreno said.
Listed as contacts
Moreno initially said the list and memos were forged. After some officials confirmed meeting with him to discuss jobs, he now says some of the memos might be real, and the meetings might have taken place. He continues to deny knowledge of a clout list.
Lively produced a lengthy job description she says she was given when hired, providing her with duties in the county office, Moreno's law office and his campaign, all on taxpayer time.
"The assistant will be involved in the Cicero election," it says, saying she must "coordinate fund-raisers" and "develop timeframe for campaign material to be distributed."
'Interesting . . . very interesting'
Lively says she isn't close with those listed as contacts for jobs -- former county patronage chief Gerald Nichols, former adviser to Mayor Daley Victor Reyes, state intergovernmental affairs chief Joe Cini, former Cook County sheriff's official and now Circuit Court Judge James Ryan, and hiring officials for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Assessor James Houlihan and Chief Judge Tim Evans -- but desk and cell phone numbers are listed for many, and their accuracy was verified by the Sun-Times.
Reyes couldn't be reached, and Nichols, Ryan and Evans did not return calls. Spokesmen for White, Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan and Houlihan say it's possible Moreno discussed job opportunities in their offices but insist all applicants go through the proper hiring process.
Moreno says Lively is lying because of a bitter split when she resigned last year.
"Interesting . . . very interesting," says Moreno when shown a copy of the list by the Sun-Times. "Vindictive, vindictive, vindictive."
Those who have worked with Lively describe her as erratic and having a temper, but she says she's relieved to be away from the stress that hampered her life while working for Moreno.
An eight-year county employee, Lively says she knows of no other commissioners who kept similar lists.
Many requests never filled
The records she provided to the Sun-Times were those she kept from 2003 through 2004. Some named on the list have worked on Moreno's campaigns, getting paid almost $50,000 for doing so. Others on the list have pumped thousands of dollars back into his campaign funds, records show.
Many of the requests on the clout list were never filled, records show. But when the county couldn't provide a job, Moreno sent their resumes to friends in government, including contacts at Navy Pier and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
The applicants who sought a "non-back breaking job" and a job "not requiring a driver's license or proof of prior convictions" did not receive county employment.
Among those named who apparently didn't gain anything is former Republican sheriff's candidate Peter Garza. A county employee for 14 years, he says he's received no promotions or help and never asked Moreno for any. His sister-in-law is also mentioned on the list, but Garza says Moreno never returned her phone calls.
Job 'won't be posted'
"He didn't help her out at all," Garza says. "If he did anything like that, believe me, he'd have called me and let me know."
Moreno says because some of the names on the list wouldn't be looking for government jobs, "it appears [Lively] documented every single person who ever called for anything, who was ever looking for something."
"She kept track of this on her own, but made it look like it was our list," he adds.
Some of those on the list say they were unaware they were tracked by anyone.
An April 2003 memo from Moreno to Nichols says, "Richard [Piwowarski] is the son of one of my best friends. I have also asked President Stroger to help him. Please do everything you can so that Richard will get this job."
The clout list notes Nichols assured Moreno the job "won't be posted" for outside applicants to fill, as required.
Two months later, Piwowarski was hired as a $60,000-a-year county motor vehicle driver.
Moreno confirms he's the son of a friend, but says the memo was fake.
Piwowarski, who was earlier laid off by the Forest Preserve District, says he took tests against other candidates, interviewed and doesn't know if Moreno's letter played a role in his landing the job.
Many others on the list wouldn't return phone calls, including Gary Fogarty, a $77,000-a-year county employee who the records note is Moreno's closest friend and who he confirms is his son's godfather.
FBI raid
Lively also produced copies of dozens of memos she says she typed for Moreno, dated and detailed, dealing with meetings about jobs. Many of the memos are written to Nichols. But Lively says on the list Nichols was to be noted as "upstairs," as his office was two floors above Moreno's in the county building.
Nichols is now suspended with pay from his $114,000-a-year county job after a Sun-Times story detailed how Nichols allegedly pushed county officials to hire clouted people for jobs.
The FBI raided county offices a month later, going through computer files, taking hiring records and leaving subpoenas for more.
Lively said she provided the records to the Sun-Times after reading about that scandal and others, including a Sun-Times story last year that detailed a similar clout list allegedly kept by Commissioner Roberto Maldonado.
Sorich conviction
Maldonado denied keeping such a list, but the series of stories led to a federal judge being asked to monitor county hiring, as is done with the City of Chicago.
A city clout list, kept by Mayor Daley's former patronage chief Robert Sorich, led to Sorich's conviction on federal criminal charges earlier this year. He is to be sentenced today.
Moreno is a loyal Machine Democrat who is close to Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Commissioner John Daley, with whom Moreno shares county office space.
Moreno grew up on the Southwest Side, but moved to Cicero in 2000 and waged high-profile battles against former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese. Moreno has since moved back to Chicago.
Stroger talks tough
Moreno was also tied to a controversial $49 million hospital contract whose award led to the indictments of officials with the Siemens company and Faustech Industries. Federal agents subpoenaed records from Moreno and Maldonado's offices in that investigation, but the two were never accused of any wrongdoing.
Moreno was a hand-picked successor to former County Board President John Stroger, who tapped Moreno as his president pro tempore -- meaning he ran meetings after Stroger's March stroke.
Incoming County Board President Todd Stroger says that in all his years in the state Legislature and City Cil, he's never seen a "clout list," and he won't allow them to exist in his administration.
"The only lists that will exist will be those with people who are qualified and willing to work hard," he says.


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