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Former head of Cook County’s POET job training progam arrested and charged

Friday, July 13, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times

Federal authorities Friday arrested the former acting director of Cook County’s scandal-marred job training program on federal charges of having workers fake documents that had gone missing from the program.

Brendolyn Hart-Glover, 42, allegedly told staffers to recreate missing documents being sought bt the state, which was reviewing the county’s 2009 Summer Youth Program, funded by a federal grant, according to federal prosecutors.

Hart-Glover, of Chicago, was field operations manager in 2009 and, during 2010, served as acting director of the Cook County President’s Office of Employment Training, or POET.

POET has long been plagued with problems, from staffers sent to prison for on-the-job theft to accounting irregularities that lead to the county returning $8.4 million in federal job training money between 2003 and 2008.

The summer jobs programs has also come under fire: In 2009, federal grant money was frozen amid allegations that some of the 16- to 24-year-old employees in the program weren’t getting paid.

According to federal authorities, the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which gave POET $5.67 million for summer youth jobs in 2009 and 2010, sought a host of records from the county during a review of expenses.

The state had found problems with files tied to hundreds of participants in the program. The 2009 program had 1,4000 participants.

In October 2009, the state sent POET a letter noting the problems and saying approximately 70 files were missing entirely. The state told POET in July 2010 it would not reimburse approximately $1.4 million in costs based on the documentation that POET had produced, and the state gave POET another month to provide additional documents.

The feds say several cooperating witnesses, including POET employees at the time, told them that Hart-Glover instructed them to “reproduce” or “recreate” the files that were needed to maintain the funding.

“Let me make something clear. It is not an option for you to not have the Summer Youth files,” she allegedly told a small group of employees in the summer of 2010, according to the feds.

In August 2010, Hart-Glover wrote a letter that POET sent to the state along with two boxes containing allegedly recreated files and documents. The letter stated that 56 of the approximately 70 missing files were located and submitted, according to the feds.

In March 2011, federal agents interviewed Hart-Glover. The complaint alleges she denied knowing that POET employees falsified documents provided to the state agency; that some birth certificates were missing from the summer youth files; that birth certificates were being recreated by POET employees; and that anyone fabricated the public aid printouts so that the print date appeared to be the date of the application, according to the feds.

She is due in court at 4 p.m. Friday.

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