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Cook County 'Clout List' Details How Stroger Regime Rained Jobs on Friends

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Fox News Chicago
by Dane Placko

Chicago - When it rains, it pours.

When it's raining federal dollars on Cook County, it helps to have political connections to share in the flood of money.

FOX Chicago News obtained a copy of a "clout list" showing who landed jobs funded by a federal disaster grant. The list details who in county government sponsored the employees and contains information about friends and family already working at Cook County.

The $10.3 million dollar grant was awarded to help residents whose property was damaged by flooding following heavy rains that swept through Cook County in the summer of 2008.

"This is federal money that's supposed to go to disaster relief (for) victims, to rebuild communities," said Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool. "And to have it go instead to clouted employees who are friends and family of the Stroger Administration makes it particularly egrigious."

The list contains the names of 31 people who got jobs or contracts funded by the disaster grant. Written in hand beside many of the names are notations such as "father and uncle with county," "Andrea's brother," or "uncle in highway."

Under the name of Homeland Security employee Cesar Guardiola is written "Dave Ramos' bro. in law." A recent report by the Cook County Ethics Department admonished Ramos, who is the Director of Homeland Security, for hiring his brother-in-law, and recommended a ten day suspension. County officials won't say whether the recommendation was followed.

Another employee is labeled "Brian and Gene nephew." Gene Mullins recently resigned as Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's chief spokesman. His brother, Brian Mullins, has participated in meetings in the Cook County Planning Department even though he is not a county employee.

Next to seven of the employees the name "Carla" has been written by hand. That is believed to be Todd Stroger's former Deputy Chief of Staff Carla Oglesby, who last month was charged with several corruption-related counts for allegedly steering no-bid county contracts to sham businesses.

"What is discouraging here is that somebody in this day and age would have such a list," said Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin. "The list so carefully documents how these people were hired. There's no reference here to anything saying they were competent and that they had the skill set necessary for Homeland Security."

Director Ramos refused to comment on the list, saying the grant is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Cook County Inspector General.

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