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Stroger owes answers on Cole

Friday, July 17, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Sun Times editorial staff

For months now, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has done his best to stonewall the public on the facts behind the Tony Cole scandal.

You remember Cole, the restaurant busboy with a history of terrorizing women.

Stroger hired Cole for a well-paying county job, a decision that proved disastrous.

After he was hired, Cole was thrown in jail twice and was bailed out twice by his boss, Stroger's cousin, Donna Dunnings, then the county's chief financial officer.

The jail time didn't stop Cole from getting promoted at his county job.

Stroger eventually fired Cole and Dunnings, but months later, Stroger still will not answer some basic questions.

Now, he's going to spend your tax money in the courts to try to maintain the secrecy.

The Better Government Association is suing Cook County after it rejected the BGA's request under the state's Freedom of Information Act for the county cell phone records for Stroger, Dunnings, Cole and the county's chief of communications, Eugene Mullins. The Chicago Sun-Times made a similar request, which also was denied.

The county first told the BGA the request was too burdensome, so it couldn't release the records.

What nonsense.

The county then said releasing the records could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

How noble of the county.

Kudos to the BGA, and its new director, Andy Shaw, for taking the fight to Stroger.

Perhaps Stroger will get the message that the reign of secrecy in the Cole scandal can't last forever.

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