* Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on several Chicago TV stations on Friday to defend himself after it was revealed that the feds are looking into his horribly botched 2010 anti-violence initiative. Here are some of the links…
* ABC 7: Quinn defends handling of anti-violence program amid probe
* NBC 5: Quinn Responds to Probe of Troubled Anti-Violence Program
* CBS 2: Quinn Takes Blame For Botched Anti-Violence Program — But Credit For Shutting It Down
* I’ve already dissected Quinn’s comments for subscribers today, so I won’t go into too many details again here. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t impressed or convinced.
And this is from the CBS 2 story…
“It was a program that was designed to protect the public safety and violence-plagued neighborhoods and to provide jobs for young people, mentoring,” the governor says.
Spending records CBS 2 obtained tell a different story. In Maywood, where murders dropped from a high of 10 in 2008 to two in 2009, Quinn’s program gave the Village of Maywood millions. In 2010, the Democratic machine in Maywood cranked out more votes for Quinn in 2010 than for Rod Blagojevich both times he won the governor’s race.
Quinn OK’d millions to Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, based in Dolton, to dole out funds to worthy groups. A document CBS 2 obtained shows politicians ruled the advisory board.
It included three state representatives, two state senators and Frank Zuccarelli, the powerful supervisor of Thornton Township.
* And the Tribune takes a look at recent history of busts and convictions over state grants…
Last month, Quinshaunta Golden, a onetime top aide to former state public health chief Dr. Eric Whitaker, pleaded guilty in a $400,000 state grant kickback scam. Prosecutors have agreed to request that Golden, niece of Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago, be sentenced to no more than 10 years in prison. Whitaker, a close friend of President Barack Obama’s, has said he is fully cooperating with the government and not involved “in any way” with the alleged crimes in the case.
Before that, the daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial former minister, was convicted of laundering thousands of dollars from a $1.25 million state grant for a Chicago-based job training program. Jeri Wright has said she will appeal. Her attorney argued Wright was a victim of a web spun by longtime friend Regina Evans, the former Country Club Hills police chief who was sentenced to five years on Thursday after pleading guilty to corruption in the case. Evans had secured a state job training grant but allegedly diverted the money.
Two Chicago women were sentenced to prison last October after pleading guilty to diverting grant money intended to encourage more minorities in Chicago to become nurses. One of them, Margaret Davis, said then-state Sen. Rickey Hendon helped secure the grant money. The flamboyant West Side politician abruptly resigned in February 2011, months after revelations that a federal grand jury issued subpoenas for records on dozens of state grants, some of which he sponsored. Hendon has not been charged.
The task force’s efforts claimed the political career of former state Rep. Connie Howard, who pleaded guilty last year to diverting as much as $28,000 from a scholarship fund she created to benefit needy students.
Democratic state Rep. Derrick Smith, already expelled once from the Illinois House, is scheduled to face trial this month in Chicago after federal investigators alleged he pocketed $7,000 from a day care operator who wanted him to write an official letter supporting a bid for a $50,000 state grant in 2012. The operator was working undercover for the FBI. Smith, who lost his March primary election, has denied any wrongdoing.