Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
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 was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



FBI investigates county fraud

Thursday, January 06, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by ABDON M. PALLASCH ,STEVE PATTERSON

A federal grand jury is probing a contract the Cook County Board awarded to a politically connected company four years ago.

Former Cook County Hospital Director Ruth Rothstein met with the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office, and County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno has been subpoenaed to answer questions from them next month. At least one other Cook County employee has been interviewed, as have other people connected with the contract.

Commissioners voted in 2000 to award a $49 million contract for radiology services at the new Stroger Hospital -- then still under construction -- to DD Industries, a joint venture of Siemens Medical Systems and Faustech Industries.

Faustech President Faust Villazan had contributed to the campaigns of Moreno, commissioners Roberto Maldonado and Deborah Sims, and County Board President John Stroger. Villazan had taken Maldonado to dinner and golfed with Moreno.

General Electric, which lost the bid to DD, filed a federal suit against the county, saying it violated its own bidding procedures and let DD cheat to get the winning bid.

Arranging access

A federal magistrate agreed, ruling Faustech -- which had no experience in radiology -- appeared not to be a legitimate minority partner in the deal, but rather just a facilitator to arrange "access to county officials." Magistrate Gerladine Soat Brown found there had been fraud in the awarding of the contract.

County commissioners canceled the contract with DD and awarded it to GE.

Maldonado said Wednesday he had not been contacted by federal authorities and knew nothing about the investigation.

He and Moreno have both said they did nothing to advance the contract and merely voted for it as one of many that day.

The revelation of a federal investigation came from Stroger, who let it slip during Wednesday's County Board meeting as he admonished Commissioner Tony Peraica not to criticize Digby's Security Service for a contract the Sun-Times has raised questions about.

Digby -- run by a family that has given thousands to Stroger's campaign -- got the contract even though it was not the lowest bidder for the work.

Stroger said federal agents began digging in response to "accusations" made by some commissioners about "some things we did a certain time ago." County employees or officials "may or may not have" done something improper or illegal, Stroger said, but he cautioned his colleagues to watch what they say.

Stroger said no one can "say they bought me a lunch and got a million-dollar contract," urging other commissioners to "be careful what you say because these guys [FBI agents] are out to make a living and don't care who they burn."

Don't talk too much

Those who say too much could cause agents to "think you're involved deeper than you are."

Stroger said Rothstein -- who retired last year after years as the county health director -- was recently interviewed by federal agents, though "she probably didn't know any more than what they were telling her."

"She met informally and voluntarily with representatives of the U.S. attorney's office," said her attorney, Jim Montana. "She was not subpoenaed. She is not under investigation. We sat down with them for a couple of hours in my office. They asked her questions about the Siemens contract. She answered them. That's the end of it."

Moreno did receive a federal grand jury subpoena "like many other commissioners, I'm sure," he said. They apparently want to talk to him about his relationship with Villazan, which he said is not all that close. Villazan served on his campaign committee when Moreno ran for mayor of Cicero and donated money to his campaign.

It is unclear why the investigation is coming to a head now, four years later, and whether the grand jury is looking at other allegations of shady contracts, kickbacks or influence-peddling that circulate routinely in Cook County government, especially at the hospital.

Two of the three people the Sun-Times spoke with who had been interviewed by federal investigators said all the questions had been about the Siemens-Faustech contract. The third said the conversation branched into fresher allegations of contract bid-rigging.

Two years ago, agents in trademark trench coats crashed a County Board meeting, whistling board members and their staff out one-by-one to question them in a separate ghost payrolling investigation.



Recent Headlines

Re: Property Taxes IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER SUFFREDIN
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

What's at stake in latest census numbers
Monday, April 22, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Legislation aims to make water rates across Illinois more affordable and equitable
Monday, April 22, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown worker who allegedly lied to federal grand jury set for trial
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Time is running out for an affordable housing fix
Friday, April 19, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Assessorís Office Publicly Releases Residential Assessment Code and Models
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Cuts Ribbon on Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Homeowners in Chicago have just a few weeks to get current on their 2017 property taxes - or risk losing their homes. WBEZís Odette Yousef reports.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
WBEZ Chiacgo Public Radio

Editorial: The Foxx-Smollett questions for Inspector General Blanchard
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers
Monday, April 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County inspector general to review prosecutors' handling of Jussie Smollett case
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Foxx requests Cook County IG investigation into handling of Jussie Smollett case
Friday, April 12, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A challenge to one of Chicago's biggest draws for companies
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Evanston's assessments tell us about the new assessor's new math
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Vote for your favorite presidential candidate. The Illinois Democratic County Chairís Association wants to know who you want to be the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President. Vote here.
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

$3.85 million granted in lawsuit against ex-Cook County forest preserve worker charged in fatal on-the-job crash
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WTTW News

EDITORIAL: Splitting up the regionís sanitation board is an idea that stinks
Monday, April 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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