Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Six Months Later in the DuPage Forest Preserve IT Criminal Case -- 317 Felony Counts of Nothing in Particular

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Nearly six months after filing 317 felony counts against two former Information Technology (IT) department employees of the DuPage Forest Preserve District and a former vendor, the DuPage County State's Attorney's office has yet to produce the bill of particulars -- the formal, detailed, written complaint of charges -- as required by law (725 ILCS 5/111-6).

Citizen watchdogs speculate that this delay involves the numerous political ties and lack of legitimacy of those behind the "secret internal investigation" initiated by the Forest Preserve -- a move which may have been prompted by a purchase order epiphany, as CountyLeaks questions today. Findings from this "investigation" were presented to the State's Attorney's office in November 2011. The bill of particulars would likely rely heavily on these findings.

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, in an alleged scheme stealing $150,000 from the Forest Preserve.

CountyLeaks was first to report on the staggering number of charges handed down by a grand jury on Halloween 2012Lending 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. 

Yet there was no customary press conference immediately following the grand jury's 317 felony counts. Three days earlier, CountyLeaks explained at length the political ties between the Forest Preserve, JRM Consulting and the State's Attorney's office. CountyLeaks found the felony indictments during periodic searches on the court clerk's website after the well-reported arrests in September.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CountyLeaks # 1 Read Post

Legal scholars, yesterday's "Tweets, Twits & Tax Dollars: Joe Birkett for Illinois, Proven Leader? Proven Corruption Buster?" just broke the record for most-read post on CountyLeaks

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tweets, Twits & Tax Dollars: Joe Birkett for Illinois, Proven Leader? Proven Corruption Buster?

While DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett was serving as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, he steered contracts to his political consultants. Birkett now sits on the bench of the Second District Illinois Appellate Court, yet questions remain as to who exactly was the tax-paid client -- Club ILSAAP or Birkett for Illinois?

Four years ago today, the topic in Illinois was ethics.

Top public leaders from the state gathered in Chicago to give testimony before the Illinois Reform Commission, established by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in his "first official act to restore integrity and examine ethics rules and practices in state government". The impeachment of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, following his December 2008 arrest on charges of conspiracy and fraud, prompted action.

Calling for effective enforcement of anti-corruption laws were Quinn himself, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County State's Attorney's Chief of Special Prosecutions Bureau Jack Blakey, Illinois Executive Inspector General James Wright, Illinois Inspector General Jim Burns, best-selling author and Chicago attorney Scott Turow, and DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, who was later appointed to serve on the bench of the Second District Illinois Appellate Court in Elgin.

Birkett spoke to the Commissioners of the challenges in fighting public corruption, proposed amendments to the official misconduct statute, suggested remedies, and discussed the need for enforcement tools. He quoted Albany Law School Professor Michael J. Hutter, "Unfortunately, our review of public corruption convictions in the states indicates that there is apparently little correlation between strong laws and integrity -- if a public official wants to violate his or her trust, the laws don't stand in the way."

Also in the room that morning was...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who is CountyLeaks?

I work alone.

This blog is my view of the world.

I don't work as part of any company, firm, organization or party. The only approval I seek is my own.

I have never been paid for work associated with this blog.

I am an incurable insomniac. Other insomniacs may choose to count sheep, drink warm milk or watch TV. I choose to read public records, particularly government documents. To scrutinize documents and make crucial connections, it helps to work without any distractions when the rest of the world is asleep.

Journalist I.F. Stone believed that everything we need to know can be found in public records. He would devote endless hours alone in musty basements devouring documents searching for contradictions to the official line. Why waste time hunting down people for a quote or testimony who may or may not tell the truth? I'm not a journalist, yet I relate strongly to Stone's style. And once you get started extricating, it's difficult to stop. It's like a treasure hunt. Imagine if Stone had the internet?

I am anonymous because...