Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's political
foes today accused his administration of not paying $8.2 million in
bills to gain support for a multi-million dollar bond issue.
In recent months, the Stroger administration has held payment on
court settlements, attorneys fees and self-insurance claims, saying the
county is short on cash.
"I think it is clearly a contrived situation to convince the board
that we have to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay bills,"
said Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago).
"We need to pay the bills," added Commissioner Peter Silvestri
(R-Elmwood Park), who said there was $225 million in the county’s
working cash fund.
Stroger spokesman James Ramos said that money is needed to pay other
bills and suggested a proposed bond issue of $260 million would solve
the county’s cash flow problem. But foes of Stroger, who is expected to
propose a 2009 budget next week, allege some proceeds would be used to
reward Stroger allies.
This year's $3 billion county spending plan led to a much decried
one-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax increase and taking out a short-term
loan of nearly $150 million backed by the resulting new revenue.