Monday, November 19, 2012

'As Long As It Isn't A Conflict': Let There Be Light on Genesis One & DuPage Forest Preserve


"We don't stop anyone from supplementing their employment, as long as it isn't a conflict." - Laura Capizzano, Director of HR at Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Four months prior to the start of the information technology (IT) "internal investigation" leading to 317 felony indictments so far, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County hired Troy Clampit, owner of Genesis One Designs, a Villa Park-based firm which had supplied nearly $1 million in political campaign support for DuPage Republicans for a decade, including current District President D. "Dewey" Pierotti and District Commissioners Mike Formento, Marsha Murphy and Linda Painter.

Clampit was hired first as a "seasonal employee working part-time hours" in the District's IT department in March 2011 according to Daily Herald's Elisabeth Mistretta in February's "DuPage Forest Preserve Critics Say New Hires Post Conflict of Interest." Mistretta reported that District Human Resources Director Laura Capizzano said that a full-time position became available "partially because the IT department had openings, due to the firing and resignation of two employees."

Since Clampit began working for the Forest Preserve last year, his firm Genesis One Designs has been paid close to $130,000 in political campaign work for DuPage Republicans including Citizens for Dan Cronin, the DuPage County Republican Central Committee, the Addison Township Republican Central Committee, the Naperville Township Republican Organization, the Milton Township Republican Central CommitteeCitizens to Elect Patrick O'Shea and Citizens for Dennis M. Reboletti

The District's Transparency Portal shows that Clampit receives $51,297.09 as a project analyst and his benefits are $26,213.70. His firm's billings while he's worked for the Forest Preserve are two and a half times his annual salary.

"We don't stop anyone from supplementing their employment, as long as it isn't a conflict," Capizzano was quoted.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Genesis One Designs has been paid for ad books, telephone polling, printings, mailings, fundraiser invitations and extensive robo calling and website work over the past 18 months when Clampit's government employment began. (Scroll down to read the entire list of Genesis One Design's $1 million in billings.)

Clampit is currently listed as the both the administrative and technical contacts for the website domain for the Forest Preserve and DuPage Forest Giving through  2013. Simultaneously, he is listed as the registrant and administrator for dupagegop dot netelectcronin dot comdupagechairman dot comaddisontwpgop dot orgnapervillerepublicans dot net, and dennisreboletti dot com -- the website domains for the DuPage County Republican Central CommitteeCitizens for Dan CroninDuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin's personal website, Addison Township Republican Central CommitteeNaperville Township Republican Organization and Citizens for Dennis M. Reboletti respectively.

In apparent anticipation of a Democratic takeover, Clampit has held website domains since April 2007 for turndupagecountyred dot org and turndupagered dot org.

Citizens for Bob Berlin, the campaign for DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin, whose office is prosecuting the IT investigation, transferred campaign funds supporting four of the organizations which paid Genesis One Designs while Clampit was working for the District -- $4,200 to the DuPage County Republican Central Committee, $675 to the Addison Township Republican Central Committee, $450 to the Naperville Township Republican Organization, and $310 to the Milton Township Republican Central Committee.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hark - Is That the Buzz of Cicadas or a Shredder? Did the DuPage Forest Preserve Shred a Truckload of Records During the Criminal Investigation?


Within two months of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County presenting its findings of an "internal investigation" of its Information Technology (IT) Department to the DuPage County State's Attorney's office leading to 317 felony indictments so far, the District sought permission from the State to dispose of 815 cubic feet of records -- the size of 10 ft. by 10 ft. by 8 ft. room jammed to the ceiling.

The "internal investigation" began July 27, 2011 and concluded on Dec. 22, 2011. On Jan. 12, 2012, the District requested approval to dispose of records listed as recent as 2010, including the time period under scrutiny starting in 2005. The nature of the records sought for destruction dated 2005 through 2010 embodied administrative files, date/plan books, appointment books, attendance reports, time accounting and receipts.

Former District Executive Director Brett Manning, who was out on leave during most of the "internal investigation", signed off the request; the Local Records Commission of the Illinois State Archives office certified the request on Mar. 12th.  (To enlarge, click on image)

It is unknown if these records had actually been mulched, as there has been no public discussion by the District's Board of Commissioners. No recent direct payment to a document destruction vendor could be found on the District's "Transparency Portal", nor an injunction by the State's Attorney's office ordering the District to maintain all records throughout the investigation and all proceedings which could follow.

While the District routinely requested to dispose of records, a procedure mandated by the Illinois Local Records Act, local citizen watchdogs are alarmed that the request was made during a criminal investigation when standard practice is to freeze all record destruction -- paper and electronic -- regardless of what the records may contain. A single piece of paper has the power to change everything, they assert.

Watchdogs are also concerned that data and email back-up files stored on the disaster recovery equipment located off-site at Alamach Technology, Inc., a former IT vendor for the District under investigation, may have been altered or swept

According to an invoice dated Jan. 18, 2011, Alamach charged the District for "email archive and migration set-up" for 350 users from Nov. 2008 onward. An employee (or was it a subcontractor?) of politically-and-family-connected JRM Consulting, Inc. picked up the data and equipment from Alamach on Nov. 9, 2011 -- 12 days before the District presented their findings to the State's Attorney's office.

Click HERE for a timeline of events discussed in this article.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grand Jury Hands Down 317 Felony Indictments Following Investigation of IT Contracts at Forest Preserve District of DuPage County; Crickets Chirping


A grand jury handed down a total of 317 felony indictments to three men last week following an investigation of information technology (IT) contracts at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Circuit Court on-line records disclosed.

The District's former director of its IT department, Mark McDonald, and the department manager, David Tepper, were each charged with 140 felony counts, while a third man, Arif Mahmood, who worked for Alamach Technology, Inc., an IT vendor for the district, was charged with 37 counts.

The charges were handed down on Oct. 31st and filed the following day, yet to date, there has been no public announcement of this staggering number of indictments by the DuPage County State's Attorney's office.

Lending perspective to these numbers, former Gov. George Ryan had 18 felony indictments in 2003 and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had "only" 16 counts in 2009.

The majority of felony charges listed against McDonald and Tepper include "accepting a kickback," "unlawful participation," "official misconduct - performing a forbidden act," and "theft by deception with intent to deprive." Charges against Mahmood consist mostly of "accepting a kickback" with one count each of "theft by deception with intent to deprive" and "official misconduct - accepting bribe to influence public officials, public employees, juror or witness."

Superseding indictment charges of "conspiracy" were also issued for theft, unlawful participation, and kickbacks between Feb. 25, 2010 and Oct. 25, 2011 "at and within DuPage County."

Despite the 149 "accepting kickback" felony counts, there are no charges of providing kickbacks, suggesting that at least one other party has yet to be disclosed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Durante Family; The Making of a Marriage Between the DuPage Forest Preserve District & State's Attorney's Office


Invoices submitted to the DuPage Forest Preserve District in 2011 show that the son of local GOP-heavyweight Pat Durante engaged in the "internal investigation" which led to recent "fraud scheme" charges against former employees and a vendor, inflaming more concerns of fairness and justice due to the District's historic political ties with the DuPage State's Attorney's office, as reported earlier this week in CountyLeaks.

In September 2012, the District's former director of its information technology (IT) department, Mark McDonald, and the department manager, David Tepper, were accused of of "stealing more than $100,000 from the district over a six-year period". A third man, Arif Mahmood, who worked for Alamach Technology, Inc., an IT vendor for the district, was charged with "being involved in one of the schemes", the Daily Herald reported.

Local government citizen watchdogs claim vendors contracted by the Forest Preserve District to conduct this internal IT investigation and to handle the crisis strategies surrounding the criminal charges have connections with the DuPage State's Attorney's office which are too close for comfort. The District's hiring of a finance director this year also brings concerns of a conflict of interest with the County's prosecutor.

One of those vendors is JRM Consulting, Inc. of Naperville, contracted in 2011 to conduct an audit of the IT Department.  Unknown to the public and not mentioned in their contract was the true scope of work -- to conduct an "internal computer forensics investigation" at the Forest Preserve.  The results of the months long investigation was presented to the State's Attorney's office on Nov. 21st.

Now watchdogs have received invoices showing that Vince Durante, son of Pat Durante, was working for JRM in some capacity -- as an employee, freelancer or subcontractor -- to participate in this "internal investigation".

The State of Illinois database reports that Vincent Durante of DuPage County is an employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation as a "technical manager V" with a salary of $81,183.07. He was featured recently in the ABC-7 News Special Segment, "Road Warriors", using high-tech tools to fix potholes. His hourly rate at IDOT averages $39 per hour while JRM billed the Forest Preserve District $150 per hour for Durante's services.

Pat Durante has served on the Board of Directors of the Regional Transit Authority since his appointment in 1995 and chairs the RTA's Audit Committee.