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‘Going rate’ for job in Dorothy Brown’s office? $10K, records allege

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times
by Jon Seidel

The “going rate” for a job in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office was about $10,000, an employee once told investigators.

A “bagman” allegedly collected money for the clerk. And her employees generally had the impression that “financial benefits to the clerk could result in securing promotions,” according to documents filed by federal prosecutors.

The allegations revealed in the newly filed documents may date back at least to 2015. But they also indicate the feds are still conducting “an ongoing and active criminal investigation” which has involved allegations of lies told to a grand jury, bribery, wire fraud and extortion.

“We deny the allegations wholeheartedly,” Vadim Glozman, one of Brown’s attorneys, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Ms. Brown has engaged in absolutely no wrongdoing in her time in office.

Brown has not been charged with a crime. And she has survived politically in spite of the years-long investigation of her office. The new records are related to the case against Beena Patel, a one-time top administrator with Brown who allegedly lied to a grand jury about office politicking.

The feds filed the documents Tuesday in response to requests by Patel’s defense attorneys, who asked prosecutors to turn over evidence related to the case against their client. Papers they filed last month revealed that prosecutors “recently obtained additional materials” from Brown’s campaign treasurer and a former campaign official.

The back-and-forth revolves largely around an October 2015 search warrant application — and its previously undisclosed allegations — in which the feds sought to search cell phones belonging to Brown, Patel, Sivasubramani Rajaram and an additional employee.

That application noted that “it was common knowledge” that Patel paid for Brown to travel to India, according to the new document. Though Patel’s husband later allegedly told agents a credit card the couple shared was used to pay for the flight, he said he was later reimbursed by a relative. He said he didn’t know if the relative had received money from the clerk to cover the trip.

Prosecutors also made note of two unnamed employees who paid money to Brown and Goat Masters, a company associated with Brown and her husband. The first paid $30,000 to Brown and $10,000 to Goat Masters. The feds say Brown deposited the $30,000 into her personal accounts and then loaned it to her campaign. By November 2013, $5,000 of it had been repaid to the employee.

The second employee, prior to being hired, paid the first employee $8,000 between 2011 and 2013, according to the feds. The employee later insisted the money represented a repayment of $17,000 in loans, $10,000 of which came in cash.

Both denied to a grand jury any knowledge of job buying at the clerk’s office. The first employee, when asked about the loan to the clerk, recalled attending campaign meetings at which loans were requested, and the employee said Brown “is a nice candidate.”

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