Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
A Chicago drug-testing company with a long-standing no-bid state contract is under state and federal investigation amid allegations it billed the state for drug tests it never performed.
The company–K.K. Bio-Science Inc.–came under scrutiny following an Oct. 27 report in the Tribune detailing how Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, Patricia, earned more than $113,000 in real estate commissions from the company’s owner and president.
Remember that one? Here’s a refresher…
When questioned by a Tribune reporter, Anita Mahajan denied her friendship with the Blagojeviches and said didn’t know who Patricia Blagojevich was until someone brought it up at the first closing.
“I didn’t hire her,” Mahajan said in a brief interview from the balcony of her Chicago townhouse. “I didn’t even know who she was until closing. That’s when I heard she was the governor’s wife. I try not to get involved in politics.”
Eventually, her lawyer told the Trib that the couple have been “friends for a long time” with Mrs. Blagojevich.
The governor’s office flatly refused to give the Tribune or any other reporters documents related to the company last year, claiming it would be an “unwarranted invasion of privacy.”
Anyway, back to today’s story.
K.K. Bio-Science abruptly closed down Jan. 19, giving its employees no warning. Company representatives then spent the next week tossing records and office equipment into trash bins, said other building tenants.
“They threw away an incredible amount of stuff,” said Paul Leslie Beals, who works across the hall at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. “I counted at least five Dumpsters in the hallway. There was a printer in there that one of my colleagues took. There were all kinds of files and documents. Somebody said they even saw some checks in the trash. They were throwing away everything.”
Gov. Blagojevich’s spokeswoman, Abby Ottenhoff, declined Tuesday to address the specifics of the investigation.
Mahajan’s bank has also lent millions of dollars to none other than Tony Rezko. What a coinkydink.
Meanwhile, back at the DeFraties hearing…
An administrative law judge halted testimony Tuesday in the case of two state workers accused of breaking government hiring rules.
Anthony Dos Santos ordered Blagojevich administration lawyers to hand over copies of job applications they claim were improperly handled by Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey.
DeFraties and Casey were personnel officials at the Department of Central Management Services. Gov. Rod Blagojevich fired them last spring for allegedly manipulating the hiring process. The hearing will determine whether they get their jobs back.
Blagojevich lawyers want to introduce handwritten logs that, according to DeFraties’ subordinates, show some applications got special treatment. The logs contain as many as 1,200 names.
The documents issue arose Monday during the testimony of CMS employee Marc Longmeyer. He said he would get job applications from DeFraties and Casey that had been graded and put into a computer database ahead of other applications. Longmeyer kept a written list of the names - nearly 500 of them - that came from DeFraties and Casey. The list was submitted as evidence.
Draper, though, argued that if the list was going to be used to impugn his clients, he was entitled to the application forms for he people on it. Attorneys for the state produced six application forms Tuesday, but Draper said that wasn’t enough.
He repeatedly complained that information was withheld from his clients that they need to defend themselves.
CMS Director Paul Campbell testified Tuesday that he signed off on termination proceedings against DeFraties and Casey based partly on a report from the inspector general’s office. However, Draper said the report has never been turned over to him or his clients.