Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Sheriff Dart retaliation lawsuit to cost $2.4 million

Friday, February 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

The Cook County Board next week is expected to approve spending $2.4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that Sheriff Tom Dart retaliated against deputies who backed his political opponent when he first sought the job eight years ago.

Dart has objected to the settlement, believing he could ultimately win the case, but it was mediated under the auspices of the federal courts, endorsed by the state’s attorney’s office and recommended by the Cook County Litigation Subcommittee, making a rejection by county commissioners highly unlikely.

Lurking behind the machinations of the lawsuit is a complex tale of Chicago politics, alleged jail abuse and public images.

The original case was filed by 21 sheriff’s deputies who alleged that Dart and his subordinates were responsible for the disbanding of their elite Special Operations Response Team at the County Jail. The unit was disbanded weeks after Dart won the November 2006 general election, but before he took office shortly after. During that time, Dart was chief of staff in the sheriff’s office.

The deputies alleged the unit was disbanded to punish them for backing Richard Remus, their former commander, in the three-candidate March 2006 primary election. The deputies contended that the alleged retaliation was a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and said it resulted in lower wages, lost overtime pay and unrealized future promotions.

In late 2012, a jury awarded nearly $1.6 million to the deputies. A judge later reduced that to less than $1.4 million. Dart continued to deny the team’s disbandment was an act of retaliation and vowed to appeal.

But the case was not appealed, said Commissioner Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, chairman of the Litigation Subcommittee. Instead, it went to arbitration, resulting in the proposed settlement.

There will be no admission of any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Silvestri said. Instead, making the payment is a way to avoid potentially higher costs, both for any future settlement and legal fees, if the appellate court were to side with the deputies, he said.

“It was our intention to appeal the jury’s verdict,” said Cara Smith, Dart’s chief of policy and communications. “We objected to the settlement, and it was agreed to over our strong objections.”

Dart has maintained that the special guard unit was disbanded and replaced with the Emergency Response Team as part of an overall effort to clean up jail operations. Of the 21 deputies who brought the suit, six were accepted on the new team, six didn’t apply and the rest didn’t qualify, according to the sheriff’s office.

The events that form the backdrop to the lawsuit stretch back 15 years.

Although Dart has fashioned himself as a reformer and won accolades in many quarters for working to clean up the jail and root out illegal patronage hiring, he came up through the powerful 19th Ward Democratic organization that for decades has controlled the sheriff’s office and the thousands of jobs it controls.

An attorney and former state legislator, Dart was chief of staff to former Sheriff Michael Sheahan of the 19th Ward. When Sheahan did not seek reelection in 2006, Dart ran to replace his boss — with the backing of Democratic power brokers, including Sheahan and then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Remus, who also hailed from the 19th Ward, had split from Sheahan after Remus resigned from the sheriff’s office in 2003 following a series of Tribune stories that detailed how guards assigned to his team invaded a maximum-security cell block at the jail in 1999, beat inmates and then filed false reports to cover up the misconduct.

A month before the 2006 primary, a jail guard with alleged ties to Remus was accused by Sheahan of plotting to help six inmates escape to muddy up Sheahan and Dart before the election. The guard was later convicted and sent to prison, and six other guards with alleged ties to Remus were later suspended.



Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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