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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger dodging grilling by commissioner on ouster of Dunnings?

Thursday, April 30, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Mark J. Konkol

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger avoided a public grilling in front of TV cameras last week by promising Commissioner Tim Schneider a private talk to answer questions about the scandal that led to the ouster of Stroger's cousin, then-chief financial officer Donna Dunnings.

Schneider never got that sit-down with Stroger, and he's not happy about it.

"He shut me up by saying he'd meet me in private. Now, I don't know if he had any intention of answering any of my questions at all," Schneider said.

Schneider twice requested meetings with Stroger. He even sent Stroger's chief of staff a list of eight questions about the controversy involving Dunnings and Tony Cole.

"We haven't heard anything," Schneider said.

Dunnings quit at Stroger's request when he knew the Sun-Times was poised to publish a story revealing Dunnings twice bailed Cole, who was her secretary, out of jail.

Stroger has changed his story about why he fired Dunnings. At first, he said her ouster was related to her dealings with Cole. Later, he said Cole had nothing to do with Dunnings' departure.

Schneider said Stroger owes an explanation.

"The longer the questions stay out there, the more people are skeptical that there's not some smoking gun here," he said. "We're no closer to the truth today than we were two weeks ago."

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