Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



Report finds sex, booze, sleeping on the job at Cook County water parks

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

A mini-water park run by the Cook County Forest Preserve allegedly became a personal playground for staffers who boozed it up, had sex or just napped for hours at a time — all on the taxpayers’ dime,

The lurid events, along with the theft of thousands in cash, were captured on video surveillance cameras installed in a pool office as part of a probe into alleged theft at the Cermak Aquatic Center in Lyons, according to a new report issued Friday by the Cook County inspector general.

“This included surveillance video of employees consuming alcoholic beverages and providing the alcohol to minors, engaging in sexual relations, improper physical contact between supervisor and subordinate, employees lounging and/or sleeping for hours at a time,” Patrick Blanchard wrote in a report to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The problems at Cermak triggered an investigation of all three of the forest preserve “aquatic centers” which revealed the pools were drowning in money problems, traced to time card fraud and unjustified overtime to the tune of $166,716.62 during the 2010 summer season, Blanchard wrote.

By the time the 2010 summer season ended, the three aquatic centers were operating nearly $210,000 in the red.

Blanchard says 17 seasonal and full-time employees were caught up in the probe and he’s recommending everything from firing to suspension. Preckwinkle said in a prepared statement that “employees directly involved in wrongdoing have been terminated.”

Preckwinkle, who was not in office at the time of the alleged fraud, said the administration is reviewing cash handling and supervision at the pools.

The investigation has been referred to the state’s attorney’s office. Already, the forest preserve police ticketed six employees for drinking on forest preserve property, and one of those staffers was charged with a misdemeanor count of providing alcohol to minors, Forest Preserve Police Chief Richard Waszak said.

The probe started with an allegation of petty theft at Cermak, which lead to the installation of surveillance cameras and expanded to an investigation of timesheets and overtime forms at all three pools — unearthing evidence of employees leaving the job for hours at a time and rampant overtime.

Blanchard said it’s likely this didn’t just happen last year and that “hundreds of thousands of dollars” may have been stolen or misspent.

“This obviously was not limited to just last summer, the same people were there the previous summer,” he said.

Cook County Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri, a Republican whose district includes the Northwest side and suburbs, has long believed the pools should be privatized.

“These types of abuses can’t be tolerated, and the administration needs to make sure the people who are operating the facility have the skills to do that,” he said.

Silvestri was scratching his head over pool staffers racking up nearly $200,000 in overtime during such a short season.

“The pools should not be used for personal profit - you can’t generate that kind of overtime in one summer. And it shouldn’t be used as your own private party place.”



Recent Headlines

‘Do you know who I am?’ Investigators say Cook County commissioner pressed cops to scrap ally’s $250 parking ticket
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

IG: Cook County needs revamp on sexual harassment outside of work following allegations against Preckwinkle ex-chief of staff
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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