* When Dan Hynes started running a negative ad slamming Gov. Pat Quinn over the botched early prisoner release program, I figured that Quinn would return the favor by dredging up the Burr Oak Cemetery tragedy. It happened this morning. You can probably safely bet that this issue will wind up in a TV ad.
From a press release…
The Quinn for Illinois campaign is calling on Comptroller Dan Hynes to give honest answers to consumers about the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Pre-Need Trust Fund – a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that flourished for almost a decade under the Comptroller’s direct supervision.
“When Dan Hynes claims in his TV ads to be a good fiscal manager, Illinois voters need to take it with a $100 million grain of salt,” said Quinn campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin.
The basic issue is simple: In 2001, Dan Hynes learned that the IFDA’s pre- need trust fund was losing money. In just one year, the fund balance had dropped from an $18 million surplus to a troubling deficit.
Yet, according to legal filings and newspaper accounts, Comptroller Hynes waited eight long years before taking action to protect consumers. As a result, an estimated $100 million in consumer dollars vanished from the fund, and hundreds of family-owned funeral homes throughout Illinois are facing serious financial losses – even bankruptcy.
“We all know that Dan Hynes waited far too long to act on disturbing reports about conditions at the Burr Oak Cemetery,” Austin said. “The IFDA scandal shows that Comptroller Hynes has a decade-long history of ignoring serious problems – with disastrous consequences for 50,000 Illinois consumers.”
Austin noted that Hynes has refused to provide documents requested by Bruce Rushton, a reporter for the Springfield State Journal-Register, that might shed light on the Comptroller’s delay in acting to end the fraud and protect consumers.
“When well-respected journalists file legitimate requests for information from his own office, Comptroller Hynes loses his enthusiasm for transparency, accountability, and the public’s right to know,” Austin said.
There’s more, and you can read it all here.
* Meanwhile, a second early release program has been suspended…
Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday suspended a second early prison release program, this one for nearly 1,000 nonviolent offenders, amid growing questions about the administration’s attempt to ease the state’s cash crunch by cutting costs in the Department of Corrections.
About 170 prisoners had been released so far under the program Quinn announced in September, according to the prison agency.
Asked why the program was suspended, representatives for the prison department and Quinn’s office would only say it was pending a review of all early release programs to be done when the governor appoints someone to the new position of chief public safety officer in the corrections agency.