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More on IDOT’s stonewalling

Monday, Jul 31, 2006

A judge has allowed Jenner & Block to extricate itself from representing IDOT officials in a lawsuit filed by 18 former IDOT workers who alleged they were wrongfully terminated. As you already know, IDOT has ordered J&B to not turn over its files to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who appointed the law firm and who is also the state’s chief attorney.

IDOT’s publicly offered reason for asking J&B not to turn over the files was that it wanted the firm to continue representing the officials. But now that Jenner & Block have been removed, they don’t really have a good explanation.

Jenner & Block has been representing defendants in Rutan patronage matters all the way back to the beginning of the Rutan case. According to a motion it filed last month, it claims it has been “unable to reach terms for reappointment that are mutually agreeable to Jenner & Block and the Office of the Attorney General.” The AG’s office declined comment.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - state worker A - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 6:54 am:

    Run that by me again! The reason Jenner & Block were removed from this particular case after representing the state since the beginning of the Rutan case was because they were “unable to reach terms for reappointment that are mutually agreeable to Jenner & Block and the Office of the Attorney General.” Okay, I know its Monday morning – what EXACTLY does that mean (i.e. what is really going on)? In addition, if they are ‘officially’ off the case then the files no longer belong to them – why not give them to Fitzgerald.


  2. - State Worker B - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 7:17 am:

    It amazes me that IDOT requests to not turn over files trumps the AG….esp. since the AG hired JB? I am more confused then usual about what is going on…can anyone read behind the lines on this one?


  3. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 7:47 am:

    It sounds like Jenner & Block wanted more money in its new contract, and the AG refused to pay the higher amount. This could mean higher hourly rates, or maybe caps on billable hours.

    Under those circumstances, IDOT’s original explanation that it wants Jenner & Block to continue to represent it has some merit. But now that Jenner & Block has officially withdrawn, they have to turn the files over. The question is whether IDOT will continue to object.


  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:01 am:

    In negotiations, this is what is termed “positional bargaining”. And J&B is in the best position of all the parties.


  5. - anonymous again - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:05 am:

    does this not also buy the admin some time before the election the case cannot move on now for quite a while and until new counsel is hired and starts from step one with the defendants and their witnesses.


  6. - Bottom Line - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:28 am:

    Anon Again, you hit the nail on the head. It’s a losing case which will cost taxpayers a bundle and they definitly don’t want it out b-4 the election.

    (it makes me think of fraternity spankings “thank you governor, can I have another”)


  7. - Cassandra - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:30 am:

    Jenner and Block law firm presumably wants to get along with the Blago administration, for the business the admin can throw their way and because all things being equal, you don’t want to annoy the current and future guv, so there must have been a real gap between the $$ they wanted and the $$ the AG was willing to approve. And if the AG held out, perhaps that’s a sign that she is willing to hold the line on shafting the taxpayers for legal fees incurred by corrupt and or unbelievably dumb (or both) state employees.

    Will Big Jim ride to the rescue here and offer his law firm? As we all know, he’s a Blago supporter.


  8. - Anon - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:12 am:

    I think the GO likes to have outside counsel because they may believe they have a better shot at an “attorney-client” privilege than they do with inside counsel.


  9. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:32 am:

    Wow, Umholtz speaks! LOL!


  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:53 am:

    Rich, how can you fail to comment on these stellar quotes from Stu Umholtz? Didn’t just emdorse Lisa Madigan?


  11. - Little Egypt - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 12:22 pm:

    This could also be viewed as a bargaining tool by J&B to get a higher hourly rate but they have definitely pi$$ed off Lisa and burnt their proverbial bridge. I wonder if Fitzgerald asked for the files from J&B would they hesitate or would they roll over and give him what he asks for? This whole thing does not pass the smell test and a few months down the road we will all be saying “Oh yeah, now we get it.” Something is in there that GoverNOT Hairdo wants kept under wraps.


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 12:48 pm:

    Last I checked, any files that are used and/or developed by a consultant during a project belong to the referring agency. Therefore, the files belong to Lisa not J&B.


  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 12:59 pm:

    Cassandra,

    I have a feeling that the corruption and dumbness, if it existed, was by directive from the Gov’s office, not by the rank and file state employees. Your opinion may differ.


  14. - CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 1:54 pm:

    The Illinois Attorney General’s Office refused to comment because they are aware that U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s June 20, 2006 letter disqualified her from in particular, investigating hiring improprieties in the “State of Illinois’ administration”.

    If her office was to forward the hiring investigation to the U.S Attorney, the same would apply for her offices’ defenses of the “State of Illinois administration” regarding hiring or terminating improprieties in the “State of Illinois administration”; in this case IDOT.

    However, at this point, since state law is in the AG’s favor as it does state that the AG is to repesent the state in all legal matters, the U.S Attorney has ruled otherwise in his June 20th letters as it appears that the AG may be apart of his investigation into “the State of Illinois administration”.

    In which Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has conflicts of interest in defending and or investigating “the State of Illinois administration”.

    Patrick Fitzgerald must now clarify this for the public!


  15. - OFF THE SUBJECT - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 2:06 pm:

    The 5 million dollars that the Gov recently used from Healthcare and Family Services’ (formerly Public Aid)administrative budget for Stem Cell Research when the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services are not paying medical providers insinuates that their IS an overflow of money in Healthcare and Family Services and the use of the money to put into Stem Cell research, not pay off medical providers is proof that the overflow of money in HFS may be as a result of the Departments violations of the False Claims Act of 1863.

    The money may have come from reinbursement grants that HFS/Child Support receives from the Federal U.S Health and Human Services after sending reports of compliance with Child Support statistics and collections. This appears to be the reasons why Child Supports collections are at it’s highest as a result of “Paternity Fraud” which the Department in turn violates the False Claims Act of 1863 when they recieve reimbursement for submitting fraudulent reports to the federal gov’t.

    It appears that the diversion of this money from HFS to Stem Cell Research and not paying off medical providers is an attempt to get rid of the access of money stored in Healthcare and Family Services.

    In addition, the 10 million that was put into stem cell research last year may have come from the same agency and fund.

    Oddly, in July of 2005, the Illinois Department of Public Aid’s name was changed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services with out public notice, no press release.

    For anyone who cares………….


  16. - kahn - as in bringing the wrath Bi--- - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 3:03 pm:

    They can run but they can’t hide. To many have already given the feds the same crooked story. We all told them you can get your people in but for god sakes man have some cooth. Instead greed ruled the day and once again (start cuban accent) “look at you now”.


  17. - CrunchyCon - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 3:34 pm:

    YDD–
    Umholtz’s quotes tell me he is supporting the the office of AG and its “statutory responsibility” to represent state agencies. I do not see any evidence of an endorsement.


  18. - Anon. - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 4:34 pm:

    The only explanation I see is that IDOT is hiding information from Madigan because Lisa is being honest and ethical and reporting any type of fraud. I can hardly wait until IDOT’s Legal Counsel and Secretary Martin receive their termination letter stating “Your services are no longer needed.”


  19. - Ghost Buster - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 5:01 pm:

    I seldom support the gov. but this time I think IDOT is right. If you hire a lawyer and tell him things in confidence you have the right to expect that lawyer to keep attorney client privlege. On the other hand J&B has represented the state in alot of lawsuits and they usually loose. But they win when they send the state the huge bill for services. Rich how about a little investigative reporting and see how much J&B donated to both parties including the Govs. office?


  20. - db - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 7:26 pm:

    didn’t the AG hire J&B in the first place? if so, then if they’re off the case, they have to turn the files over to their employer and be done with it. next thing you know, IDOT chief counsel and sec. will ride off in a white bronco claiming innocence…….


  21. - 2 db - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:28 pm:

    I understand your point but you can’t believe that she (idot’s chief counsel) is anything more than a puppet?


  22. - IDOT'er - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:59 pm:

    Did anyone know that IDOT’s deputy chief counsel, the #1 staff attorney in Chicago, resigned a few weeks ago? He was a long term guy, but had fairly strong ties to the Democratic party. Don’t know if he had any ties, or inside knowledge, in this case.


  23. - Disgusted - Tuesday, Aug 1, 06 @ 6:24 am:

    Boy, there must be some serious shinanigans going on over at IDOT with hiring, promotions, exorbitant salaries, etc. if they will go to this extent (defying the attorney general) to keep their files private. Must be a lot of bodies buried over there. That’s probably why J&B left - don’t want to dirty their hands in public. Better to support the man who can bring you big bucks BEHIND the scenes.


  24. - Ray Coleman - Tuesday, Aug 1, 06 @ 7:53 am:

    Based on the experience I got from being a plaintiff in a Rutan case, I would recommend hearings before state lawmakers to strengthen state laws to protect employees rights. What the public may not be aware of is Rutan is not an employee friendly law.


  25. - anonynous again - Tuesday, Aug 1, 06 @ 2:18 pm:

    The salaries at IDOT for incoming new hires is substantially less than sny carry over regardless of length of service most R hid away in jobs and kept their higher pay tha is a fact jack


  26. - Longtime IDOT Employee - Sunday, Sep 17, 06 @ 10:00 pm:

    If someone would look closely at the Gov and his longtime friends(Holbrook & Hoffman) they would realize that he has changed over 30 technical jobs to manager jobs in D8 and appointed their buddies to these positions making $50k/year. They have had to be trained by people currently working in those Departments. Before the Democrats took hold of the Gov office we had 2 political hires now over 30.


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