Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.

Juvenile center troubles mount
Unsealed lawsuit claims grant misuse, kickbacks, drug use

Thursday, February 01, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

A previously sealed whistleblower lawsuit against the troubled Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center received its first public court hearing Wednesday, revealing new allegations.
In addition to the widely publicized allegations of abuse of teens at the facility, the suit describes widespread misuse of state and federal grants, with at least one grant being used to fund patronage jobs outside the facility — a legal no-no.
Allegations of ghost payrollers, false overtime claims, kickbacks, blatant drug use by children and the selling by employees of CDs and videos out of their lockers while on the clock also are described in the suit, filed on behalf of a “Jane Doe” employee.
Dana Kurtz, the plaintiff’s lawyer, told Judge Ronald A. Guzman Wednesday she needed 60 days to update the complaint and distribute it to county officials. He gave her 30 days.
Under federal whistleblower statutes, lawsuits can be filed under seal to give state and federal authorities time to investigate the claims to see if there are criminal charges to be pursued. Since the lawsuit was filed in September 2005, both the Illinois attorney general and the U.S. attorney’s office have served subpoenas on the center.
Chief Judge James Holderman ordered the suit unsealed Jan. 19, and the U.S. attorney’s office filed a form indicating it will not carry the civil suit forward for the plaintiff, but it will allow her to carry it forward in the U.S. government’s name. Federal officials also reserve the right to sign off on any potential settlement. The assistant U.S. attorney handling the case could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois attorney general said that office continues to investigate criminal allegations, but could not say if the office would carry the civil suit forward. No attorney for the office appeared in court Wednesday.
Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Blanchard told Guzman the county likely would hire a private firm to represent it.
According to the suit, one assistant superintendent at the center “directly engaged in the fraudulent activity by requiring staff … and outside contractors to pay him kickbacks in return for benefits such as the phantom ‘overtime’ pay and grant funds for projects.”
Other assistant superintendents “directly abused grant funding by using the funds to pay personal expenses and expenses for friends,” the suit claimed. “Because of all the improper spending … there is no money for kids’ activities and educational programs. … The occasional supplies or donations that come into the facility more often than not ‘disappear’ to the extent they are ordered at all.”
Since the suit was filed, the five assistant superintendents at the facility were removed by county administrators, but many of them were put in other county jobs, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. The superintendent also was removed, and J.W. Fairman has been assigned to run the facility. He did not return phone calls Wednesday.
Since the lawsuit was filed, the county also has entered into an agreement with the ACLU to improve conditions at the center. An outside monitor is at the facility, but she recently told the court facility administrators were interfering with her work — a claim the county denied. The monitor, Brenda Welch, also could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Many of the employees named in the suit no longer are at the facility. At least two remain, making $44,500 salaries each.

Recent Headlines

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli on Gun Violence, Police Database.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Assessor: Homes values, sale prices up in Schaumburg Township
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Daily Herald

Home improvement grant designed to get the lead out
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Cook County census panel seeks outreach help for hard-to-count communities
Monday, August 19, 2019

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

America’s most interesting sheriff
Friday, August 09, 2019

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.