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Sheriff's captain accused of taking more than $20,000 in bribes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by ERIC HERMAN AND STEVE PATTERSON

A captain in the Cook County sheriff's office faces criminal charges for allegedly taking more than $20,000 in bribes from a company he hired to do emergency repair work at kitchens in the Cook County Jail, officials said today.
Capt. James Kelly, a 39-year-old correctional officer, is charged with multiple counts of bribery and official misconduct. He was in custody this evening and is expected to appear in bond court Wednesday, officials said.
Sources said at least three other jail officials are being investigated. "It's a cesspool over there," a law enforcement source said.
But a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart denied that, saying the bribery was limited to Kelly. "Based on what we know, I don't see it going any further," said Dart spokesman Bill Cunningham.
Kelly, a 14-year veteran, was arrested this afternoon after a probe by the sheriff's Office of Professional Review, according to a press release from Dart's office. As a correctional officer, Kelly oversaw jail employees and inmates as well as commissary workers who prepare meals in the jail.
From November 2005 until August 2006, Kelly solicited bribes on six occasions from an outside contractor, according to Dart's office. The jail hired the contractor, as yet unnamed, to repair kitchen equipment such as refrigerators and food conveyor belts, which enable the jail to serve some 30,000 meals a day.
The contractor reported the payments and is cooperating with investigators, Dart's office said.
Kelly, an Orland Park resident, has resigned from the sheriff's office after being de-deputized last week.


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