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The governor’s claims aren’t holding up to scrutiny

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn has said over and over that he was “the first” person to spot the problems with his anti-violence initiative. But as Mark Brown clearly shows today, this just isn’t true

(A)ccording to his own account of events, the governor didn’t figure out he had a problem there until state legislators forced him to take a closer look.

Most of the recent stories about the governor’s anti-violence program say the controversy was sparked by a scathing February audit from Illinois Auditor General William Holland.

That’s true, but don’t forget that audit didn’t just spring out of nowhere.

Republican legislators in both the House and Senate raised questions about the program during appropriations committee hearings in early 2011.

Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, even introduced a resolution asking for the auditor general to be ordered to audit the program, but couldn’t advance it out of committee.

In 2012, Rep. David Reis, R-Ste. Marie, tried again with a resolution of his own in the House, but this time he found some surprising allies on the other side of the aisle.

Many Democrats from high crime areas, mainly Latino legislators, were upset that money from the program had not been spent in their communities, Reis said.

Together, they not only approved the audit in May 2012, but also cut spending for the program in half, to $30 million from $15 million. Reis said House Speaker Mike Madigan supported the effort.

Quinn’s own timeline of events, as prepared by his press office, says it was in June 2012 that “inadequacies in program monitoring and fiscal oversight” were brought to the governor’s attention by his staff.

* Meanwhile, the governor blamed partisan political games yesterday after the Legislative Audit Commission’s vote to grant itself subpoena powers

Standing outside the Capitol, Quinn dismissed as “politics as usual” a Republican state senator’s call for the Legislative Audit Commission to use subpoena power to dig deeper into questions that already have gotten the attention of federal prosecutors in Springfield and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in Chicago.

“It’s a political time of year,” Quinn said.

Trouble is, the commission voted 10-1 to grant the subpoena powers. All but one Democrat voted for it. This wasn’t just about politics.

* However, as subscribers know in more detail, the subpoena powers move is a bit more show than go

The proposal received bipartisan support; however, several Democrats on the commission voiced concerns that a probe from the commission would at best produce nothing beyond what will come out during the ongoing criminal investigations and would at worst impede them. “What’s the value at the end of the day that we’ll be putting on the table?” asked Hoffman Estates Democratic Rep. Fred Crespo, who sponsors HB 3820. “What can we do that they cannot do?” Crespo and others said that the commission does not have the resources to launch a major investigation.

Barickman, who chairs the committee, and co-chair Rep. Frank Mautino, a Democrat from Spring Valley, would both have to sign off on any subpoenas issued. Mautino was the sole vote against the motion. He argued that the information the committee needs is already available and that subpoenas may be unecessary. He noted that Holland’s office has several boxes of documents related to the audit and that no legislative staffers have gone through them at this point. Mautino said that the panel should first ask for the information and witnesses it is seeking instead of resorting to subpoena powers.

Holland said he would provide the commission with any information they want. “You don’t have to subpoena the records, and you don’t have to FOIA the records. You make an appointment, you come in and you take a look. That’s the way we do business,” He said. Holland also said that state agencies are required by law to comply. Barickman said that because the agency that oversaw the program has been dissolved and some of the people who worked on the NRI have since left state government, the commission may need the legal power to compel them to cooperate.

* And

It’s not clear if any subpoenas will actually be issued. There’s a dispute over whether the Democrats who run the House and Senate have to sign off on them; and if they do, it remains to be seen if they will.

* And in other news, the governor found somebody to throw under the bus yesterday

Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown’s partnership with her husband to tap into Neighborhood Recovery Initiative grants is “troublesome,” and her spouse’s dual role as an overseer and provider of anti-violence programming represents a “clear conflict,” Gov. Pat Quinn said.

In slamming Brown and her husband, Benton Cook III, Quinn Tuesday ramped up his defense against the growing political fallout from his self-acknowledged, botched Neighborhood Recovery Initiative in 2010 that is now under state and federal investigation. […]

The governor also blamed Chicago Area Project, the West Side non-profit that hired Cook and that Quinn’s administration chose to participate in the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, for “letting all of us down” by neglecting to perform a criminal background check on him before giving him a supervisory role in overseeing $2.1 million in anti-violence programming in West Garfield Park. Such a check might have found Cook’s 1999 felony conviction for writing bad checks in Tennessee.

The head of the Chicago Area Project in his first public comment since the scandal broke said the organization was unaware of Cook’s criminal past when he applied for the job.

“During the application process, during the interview process none of that came out,” David E. Whittaker, the organization’s exectuive directory, said in an interview with WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight.” “Nothing that was in his background would have led us to believe he was not qualified for the position.”

* And, finally, some Republicans are privately saying that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s probe of her fellow Democrat may be politically suspect. One such Republican made sure to point me to this Tribune revelation today

Federal authorities in Springfield have made inquiries about the grant program, which was absorbed by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Both Alvarez and Brown are members of that board under state law.

A spokeswoman for Quinn declined to say if it was a conflict of interest for Alvarez to sit on the board of an agency that took over responsibility for the anti-violence program, saying “it’s up to the state’s attorney to determine whether there is a conflict or not.”

Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly said it was not a conflict for the Cook County grand jury to subpoena documents from an agency on whose board Alvarez sits. She declined to answer other questions, noting that the investigation of the grant program continued and the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


106 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly said it was not a conflict for the Cook County grand jury to subpoena documents from an agency on whose board Alvarez sits.

    That is obviously a wrong thing to say based on the facts, but an obvious thing to say based on the politics.


  2. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    Well everyone saw the bus coming from Brown…

    The optics on this are getting worse and worse for Quinn… Either he is somehow playing rope-a-dope with Rauner or he is off his game…


  3. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    Someone was going to have to get under the bus, because Illinois (and Chicago specifically) is not going to stop the free rides for the rest of the connected that are on it.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:33 am:

    Somebody “tackle” the Governor.

    Honestly, speak honestly. If not, say nothing, or come up with better *cough* truthful *cough* answers.

    It’s like Quinn can’t help himself. Agree to cooperate, you shut it down, be beyond available, and just “eat” this in the real-time present.

    Quinn is making the Rutherford “Friday Fiasco Crew” look… competent. Do you know know how difficult it is to make Rutherford’ Crew and Rutherford himself look better than you?

    Pretty difficult. You are proving it may be possible.


  5. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:33 am:

    Lisa Madigan versus Bruce Rauner in 2014? Democratic State Central Committee Members start your engines!


  6. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    I wonder who will be the next person rahmner will have to destroy to get his way?


  7. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    “During the application process, during the interview process none of that came out,” David E. Whittaker, the organization’s exectuive directory, said in an interview with WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight.” “Nothing that was in his background would have led us to believe he was not qualified for the position.”

    Was there anything in his background that led you to decided he was qualified?


  8. - Walker - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Good reporting Rich.

    Quinn proven to be at best badly informed, at worst deliberately misleading.

    Barickman’s move for subpoena power obviously political, and of no practical value, so far as can be seen now.


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:40 am:

    my enemy`s enemy is my friend.


  10. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    The moment he “granted” the $54,000,000 to these people is the moment Pat Quinn needed to have taken a high personal interest in where that money went. It won him reelection, according to many, so according to many more, if it was wasted, which it was, these same folks would have no other reason to believe it was nothing but a political pay-off.

    That is very easy to understand, even by a CapFax blogger like me. So, to an old political veteran, famous for his reform good government rants, this shouldn’t have been difficult to fathom.

    Quinn, dropping the ball for us, and for his political viability, exposes him as a man incapable of being the government watch dog, we all thought we knew he was.

    The guy who claimed he was a junk yard dog protecting Illinoisans, was exposed as both the guy who unlocked the gate to our treasury, then fall asleep to let them rob us blind. Then needed to be awaken by the opposing party asking why the money was being hauled away.

    Pat Quinn has been uncovered as a very incompetent man - at best.


  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    –Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly said it was not a conflict for the Cook County grand jury to subpoena documents from an agency on whose board Alvarez sits. She declined to answer other questions, noting that the investigation of the grant program continued and the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.–

    Did I miss something? I knew Alvarez asked for documents, but there’s a grand jury seated on this?


  12. - Anyone Remeber - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    As the only no vote was Rep. Frank Mautino (who was also the only no vote on the 2002 ERI, and his concerns were proven right), his vote against subpoena power gives one pause. Particularly in view of the fact that Auditor General Bill Holland has such power.


  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    –The moment he “granted” the $54,000,000 to these people…–

    These people?


  14. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    William uh… I thought Rauner was lining his pockets on the state dime taking $25 million in fees for his company delivering exceptional returns for TRS… Your comment only shows the depth of the serious nature PQ brought on himself. There is more coming…None of it good… Perhaps save a little bit of blame for the Governor who is in the seat while this happened? Not the one who is not in his seat …yet.


  15. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    Yes, this is all a Rahm conspiracy ….

    Don’t think Pat Quinn needs any help trying to do do good in his mind without thinking things through….


  16. - Mason born - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    Someone here said it when it first came out “it’s not good when the best narrative to come out of this is incompetence.”

    As this goes on PQ the politician is looking as incompetent as PQ the governor. Some free advice Pat that is as old as the hills it’s the coverup that gets you.


  17. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    Great point Walter! Quinn could have avoided all of this if he had just givin Rahm that darn casino!


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    ===It won him reelection, according to many, so according to many more, if it was wasted, which it was, these same folks would have no other reason to believe it was nothing but a political pay-off.===

    Pretty big leap.

    Inept at keeping track of the monies, I will let the Auditor General report speak for my belief on the ineptness.

    Going to “nothing but a political payoff” by Pat Quinn? I will let the US Attorney walk me through a door like that. That is why we have investigations in the first place.


  19. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    peo·ple [pee-puhl]
    noun, plural peo·ples

    1. persons indefinitely or collectively; persons in general: to find it easy to talk to people; What will people think?

    2. persons, whether men, women, or children, considered as numerable individuals forming a group: Twenty people volunteered to help.

    3. human beings, as distinguished from animals or other beings.

    4. the entire body of persons who constitute a community, tribe, nation, or other group by virtue of a common culture, history, religion, or the like: the people of Australia; the Jewish people.

    5. the persons of any particular group, company, or number (sometimes used in combination): the people of a parish; educated people; salespeople.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    ===Did I miss something? I knew Alvarez asked for documents, but there’s a grand jury seated on this?===

    Sally Daly buried the lede?

    Great pickup, - wordslinger -.


  21. - MrJM - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    If I had Gov. Quinn’s ear, I would advise him to do everything he can to make Dorthy Brown and her husband the goats.

    Not only is the conflict of interest within that household self-evident — “If you didn’t know it was wrong, why didn’t you disclose it?” — putting it on them could also shift the perception of the problem from a problem of state government mismanagement to another instance of Cook County crony-ism.

    In addition, Brown’s blatant but undisclosed conflict of interest has made a lot of powerful people connected to CAPS and CJIA look very, very stupid — people who might have been Brown’s allies and defenders. The Governor might find it politically expedient for Brown to take the fall for this, but Quinn’s play would be backed by people who think Brown deserves to take a fall for this. In other words, the downside for Quinn is minimal.

    Someone with a “name” will go down for this, Pat — the usual somebody nobody heard of ain’t gonna be good enough. But Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown’s name is just big enough to fit the bill.

    If I had Gov. Quinn’s ear…

    – MrJM


  22. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    William… Now that is much better outside of the box thinking!


  23. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    Rahm and rauner (rahmner for the sake of time) are nothing if not vindictive. Btw great temperament for public service!


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Do. Not. Feed. Trolls.


  25. - Juvenal - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    Chicago Area Project let us down by hiring an ex-con? To oversee a program encouraging young people to make better choices?

    Does the name Arthur Bishop ring a bell?

    I hope that reporters and editorial boards are not that gullible.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    ===I hope that reporters and editorial boards are not that gullible.===

    The reality is the Auditor General and the US Attorney investigating an Administration sells papers better than any other fish that may need scrutiny.

    It’s not gullibility, it’s what makes news, news.


  27. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    Rich… Is it time to put the poll back up about PQ? Or just wait a day and make it weekly as news leaks… ? Only half snark… I do learn and have been influenced by others opinions almost daily. It’s a selfish ask, I know. But I wonder if folks like me would give a much lower grade.


  28. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    WJK - hey, I was the first to “Rahmner” on Capitol Fax. Waddya need around here, a trademark? :-)

    Oh Pat - you could have had a glorious single term standing up for your principles, but you fell in love with the power and prestige of being “governor” and betrayed it all. So sad.


  29. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    As a “reformer”, Pat Quinn should have easily seen how his “grants” of $54,000,000 would look to other reformers, such as himself, should the money disappear.

    As a “reformer” Pat Quinn would have been extremely interested in a similar scenario as the one he unleashed here, if it had been unleashed by someone else.

    Pat Quinn has been a reformer all his political life - but couldn’t see or imagine how he was setting himself up by doing this?

    As a “reformer” Pat Quinn should have been on this like well, a reformer. Any governor should appreciate the importance of their power to give millions of dollars their citizens earn, and feel it important to ensure that the money was used well. For it to happen to our “reformer” governor, is very disappointing.


  30. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    When Quinn said no dice on 750 million in new Chicago property taxes, I think that was when Rahmner said time to play the Blagojevich card.


  31. - too obvious - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Fortunately for Quinn the “Quinn brand” can withstand a lot hits. People have a hard time accepting he could be corrupt.

    Rauner? Not so much. This stuff they supposedly have on Quinn is trivial compared to all of the big stuff a sleepy press corps is mostly ignoring about Rauner’s business dealings.

    Bottom line, Rauner has gotten filthy rich from shady dealings, while there’s no evidence Quinn has ever made a penny that wasn’t on the up and up.


  32. - Just Me - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    Clearly administering isn’t this administration’s strong point; pointing fingers is.


  33. - Barney - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    Problem for Quinn is that we are now in the 10th day of this story and it is not dying down and he keeps giving conflicting answers. The guy is putting gas on the fire.

    Quinn may or may not be culpable on the grants, but his conflicting answers and straight out false answers are tying him to the problem stronger, perhaps, than the facts are right now.


  34. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    Quinn’s got his share of problems but there is at least one storm building on the horizon for Rauner.

    It hasn’t happened yet in Illinois but there are some very serious investigations of the largest pension investment firm (not Rauner’s) in other states like Kentucky, Georgia and New York involving excessive fees and allegations of abuse of trust / duty. It appears there is a pattern of questionable practices across multiple firms and a national campaign is building against those actions. The only question is whether it will reach Rauner’s firm(s) and whether it will happen fast enough to have an impact on the Illinois election.


  35. - Milo - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    Typical response from Quinn. He didn’t know they were violating Shakeman until Shakeman pointed it out to him either.


  36. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    There is really only one lesson for the rest of you to take away from this Quinn story. Give Rahmner what they want! Don’t question them! Don’t look them in the eye! But that won’t be a hard lesson for most of you!


  37. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    RNUG… My guess it hasn’t happened in Illinois because it didn’t… $25 million in fees on the returns his company made would not rise to abuse of trust or duty…. If it did, it would be a story here. Ask TRS if they would trade the returns for the fees if they could in the worst economy in my history? I know it’s fun to beat up on the financial industry and in many instances well deserved. This one, can’t we enjoy that if our legislators would have funded close to what they are required to with the stewardship the fund has returned….We would never mention pensions again…


  38. - Conservative Republican - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Quinn, Brown, Alvarez…. lovin’ the fallout here! Heh, heh.

    Methinks there’s more to come. Even more fun with all the Rauner money to wave it all under everyone’s noses. There may be a political turnaround in this sorry state yet.


  39. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    Could it be that the Illinois “journalist” community is actually going after a liberal Dem without an indictment in hand?

    Shock and awe!

    It will be intersting if the Trib still finds a way to endorse Quinn (I’m guessing they will)

    Seriously, Rich, kudos for making this into the big deal it is.

    My opinion on this deal?

    This scam was a desperate move on the part of Quinn for re-election. He’s obviously not the innocent “babe in the woods” he’d have people believe. No one prospers as he has politically in today’s Illinois with clean hands.

    I believe he pushed this program to pay for boots on the ground with taxpayer dollars.

    I believe he was ok with those with political ties feeding at the trough to mobilizwe their foot soldiers to get out the vote for him.

    I believe this whole program was part of his poltical strategy, and he sacrificed the police protection that $54 million could have bought, and saved dozens if not hundreds of lives and injuries, for his personal political gain.

    One thing Chicago pols are NOT very good at is covering their trails. It’s part denial that the local state and US attorneys (and press) will go after them. I expect that just as with George Ryan, the small dominoes will fall first, they’ll rat the people up the ladder out, and eventually it will reach Quinn unless he pulls a “Michael Corleone” and gets rid of his “buffers”.

    I think this will keep on going through election day.

    It will be intersting to see if our new US attoney is as adept and dedicated at going after corruption as his last two predecessors.

    Any feelings out there on this?


  40. - Juvenal - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    Willy and Word:

    Must have slipped by you. The grand jury is old news, originally subpoenaed state documents, with the writ withdrawn after agency pledged to provide them voluntarily.

    Not sure this under the bus strategy is gonna work.

    Auditor General’s report makes clear that Chicago Area Project was not the only lead agency that had problems.

    Also makes clear that the Governors Office directed lead agencies to give clergy a voice in selecting providers.

    Also makes clear that “an official” from the Governor’s Office was involved in the minutiae of operating the program.

    I don’t think we know who that official is yet. That is the only real bombshell potentially for the governor…if that person has some high-fallutin title like Deputy Governor or Senior Muckity Muck. It becomes darn near impossible for Quinn to distance himself from the story.


  41. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    My guess is Rauner’s firm may have been on the legal side of things but there is a national narrative building against investment firms and the brush will tar everyone.


  42. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    ===I don’t think we know who that official is yet. ===

    Subscribe.


  43. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    ===…eventually it will reach Quinn unless he pulls a “Michael Corleone” and gets rid of his “buffers”.===

    What does that even …mean? Are you suggesting gangland-style warfare?

    Hope that was snark.


  44. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    People have a hard time accepting he could be corrupt.

    After our two previous governors, it really isn’t hard anymore. That is a big problem for Quinn with this.

    Reformer past or not, he is looking like just another Illinois governor.

    Deja Vu - all over again!


  45. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Note to PQsters on this board. THIS IS NOT ABOUT RAHM. You guys can keep pushing that narrative all you want but it only makes you look bad.

    The Auditor General issued a scathing report that demonstrated at least the appearance of political intent in using $50 million in taxpayer dollars. The Feds have launched an investigation and apparently there’s a grand jury in Cook County on this. Yesterday a bipartisan group of legislators voted to give themselves subpoena power.

    Good grief people (and yes William J Kelly, I mean you), wake up. This is a certified, genuine scandal and it’s not cooked up by Rahm. Come up with better talking points.


  46. - Peter - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Is this whole thing just some kind of plot to get Quinn off the November ballot and Lisa Madigan on instead? So she didn’t have to run in the primary?


  47. - Cassandra - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    Isn’t the Chicago Area Project a venerable nonprofit dating back to the earlier part of the 20th? Its board seems to be chaired by Z. Scott, a former state executive inspector general with a pretty impressive resume. If they aren’t doing background checks on administrative employees who coordinate state contracts, they musn’t be the only ones.

    Not clear on why Quinn has decided to make them the villains here, especially given the relatively small sums involved, but maybe he figures they won’t talk back if they are desperate for state funds. Yet another reason why nonprofits shouldn’t get too dependent on taxpayer dollars. Better to make the effort and do a little more fundraising.


  48. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    RNUG… Like at the NEA last month with PQ and Rauner… When Rauner was in the hostile environment and Quinn started calling for Rauner to return his fees… Rauner responded with facts. The return THEY got on their investment. I saw all I needed on the subject there. If PQ or any one wants to specifically go after Rauner on this…. You will give him a wider audience to hear how great he did do for the tax payers… It hasn’t been used against him because it is overwhelmingly positive. Ya think the hate for finacial services will stick on the guy that HAS made great returns for the state… I think we can agree it stays buried. It’s neutral at best not a negative for Rauner.


  49. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    - Peter -, only if your tin foil hat is angled “just right”

    (Tips hat, very graciously, to - Chicago Cynic -…)


  50. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    ==People have a hard time accepting he could be corrupt==

    I would say for most of the State (those who aren’t tied to Quinn or the Party), the exact opposite is true. Most people have a hard time accepting a premise that politicians in this State are NOT corrupt.


  51. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    Lake county democrat, I would never want to slight you or your obvious genius, you are my inspiration in all things and I want to also congratulate you on the invention of the internet.


  52. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    RNUG 10:06

    Links to any articles?


  53. - Juvenal - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    Oof. Scratch that.

    She now heads the Chicago Public Safety Action Committee I believe. I doubt she is gonna fall on her sword, but I suppose we will find out when either a reporter or the Legislative Audit Commission gets ahold of her.


  54. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    RNUG and Walter, couple things.
    In some respects, Illinois has already “been there.” The New York and Kentucky (for the most part) problems related to finder’s fees paid on investments, which IL prohibited almost 10 years ago. (thanks, Bob!) The only GA issue I know about is the City of Atlanta that underfunded and mismanaged its fund down to 16% funded. (looking good Illinois!)

    The potential stink in the punchbowl for all big private equity and hedge funds is an ongoing SEC investigation of their fee structure and any irregularities in fee calculation, improper reimbursements, and so on. Early word is not favorable to the industry. OTOH, if a fund plays by the rules, there is still plenty of dough to be made even after they get their not miserly fees.

    Too early in my opinion to say if this could hurt Rauner, in part because all the underlying facts are hard to explain.


  55. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    –Is this whole thing just some kind of plot to get Quinn off the November ballot and Lisa Madigan on instead? So she didn’t have to run in the primary?–

    Yes. It’s the only thing that makes sense.


  56. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    AA, Thanks… Chicago business and other sources confirm the 25% return on the funds with GTCR The only ones asking any questions about the stellar results are here…today… Changing the topic at hand. I am not pro Rauner…Just pro facts… 20% fees to for the money that was made for TRS are appropriate and earned. If anyone else or firm could have done better… Build a better mousetrap…


  57. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    –If anyone else or firm could have done better… Build a better mousetrap…–

    Any index would have done just as well over time, minus the clout, fees and Stu Levine.


  58. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Wordslinger…Really? Please attach the index fund over those years that average 25% I will save you time.. They don’t exist.. The funds as important as these must be managed… Not by chance. The same reason it’s argued correctly a defined benefit is way better returns than a 401K…. Look at the fees your 401k charges… That’s the Wild West….


  59. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    ==Any index would have done just as well over time, minus the clout, fees and Stu Levine.==

    If they could have, they would have, but most didn’t. And none of that well give Quinn the paddle he needs as he currently sits up a creek without one.


  60. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    The topic is our current Governor is in serious trouble… I am done taking away from the real topic. Sorry all.


  61. - Walker - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    The Chicago Area Project is probably the cleanest of all the agencies trying to attack these almost impossible challenges, and has been for years. They just happen to have a political family member attached, and are a convenient first distraction.

    Many others involved I wouldn’t trust nearly as much.

    That’s why I truly want to see more — a lot more — out of these investigations.


  62. - Ghost - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    If the Govenors goal is to emphasize the problems and makes this look as bad as possible, his lan is working.

    he woudl be better served by something like; the intent of the program was and always has been to address the horrible violence in the city…. then quote some of the people demanding action to help chicago like the calls to use the national guard etc etc. Then finish with something like - There was an urgent need to reduce the daily deatsh and violence, so we rushed to find a solution. because of our rush we made mistakes rolling this out. We are commiteed to correcting those errors, making the program asound and working to reduce viiolence in chicago…. then fade to the violence statistcs before and after the program.


  63. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    –Wordslinger…Really? Please attach the index fund over those years that average 25% I will save you time.. –

    Show me how many years, what years, at 25%, you’re talking about. You’re cherry picking a couple of good years, for some reason.


  64. - Soccermom - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Chicago Area Project was awarded only $2 million of the program’s $54 million. I don’t think that focusing on Dorothy Brown is going to solve the problem here — although I am no fan of hers, by any means.


  65. - Mason born - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    “Fortunately for Quinn the “Quinn brand” can withstand a lot hits. People have a hard time accepting he could be corrupt.”

    I’m not sure that brand is as strong statewide. It is going to take a lot of hits over this. If the IDOT thing doesn’t go away then add those hits. To me it is like limestone and water every drop takes a bit away making a bigger hole.


  66. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Walter Mitty, I’m sorry but you’re just wrong. You can fault Rauner for a lot of things…and I’m happy to join the chorus when you do, but GTCR is a very successful PE firm because they know how to make money for their investors.


  67. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Cassandra, Walker, Ghost and Soccermom all make the same general point.

    Pointing the finger at Chicago Area Project is not likely to succeed in the long run, and it could actually make things worse.

    I think Ghost offers some sane advice.


  68. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    word, the 25% number we hear about is iirc the IRR on GTCR Funds VII and VIII (2000 and 2003 vintage.)


  69. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    Thanks, AA. Just the two years?


  70. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    word, that would be the life of the fund, or 10 years. It’s not exactly 25% per year, but not terribly far off. Both funds more than doubled the investors’ original investment iirc.


  71. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Quinn’s current line of defense appears to include blaming the individuals involved with mismanaging and abusing this program for doing so. That is logical.

    Problem is, the people and organizations you throw under the bus in 2014 are the same people and organizations you were allegedly relying upon for voter turnout and possibly your winning margin in 2010.


  72. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    AA… You are correct.. I am wrong… Other folks can give the returns back first…As they are below slightly from the 25%…Only in Illinois we complain that our pensions are underfunded…And when the topic is the most serious in quite some time …Must we complain the money is too green because of the dislike of the process or the man… Self imposed ban for 1 day starting in 3…2…1..


  73. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    == You’re cherry picking a couple of good years, for some reason. ==

    Where did this allegation come from?


  74. - Anyone Remeber - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    Oswego Willy

    =Are you suggesting gangland-style warfare?=

    Depends upon the availability of cannoli.


  75. - Chris - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    “It will be intersting if the Trib still finds a way to endorse Quinn (I’m guessing they will)”

    Wait…what? Are people *seriously* expecting the Trib to endorse PQ?


  76. - orzo - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    The Tribune has been signaling their endorsement of Rauner through editorials and columns for months. This gives them an excuse.


  77. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    I always forget the “Cannoli Factor”.

    The “buffers” for Quinn could be looking for seats on a bus more than guys with violin cases.

    Way too early to speculate on the bus seats, but I feel pretty good about no one with violin cases visiting anyone in the name of Pat Quinn.

    Great, now I have a taste for Cannoli…


  78. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Orzo:

    Sure, because they weren’t moved by the tax increase.

    Back to the post, Formerly Known As, I do not think anyone in their right mind is alleging that Chicago Area Project was engaging in GOTV activities.

    I haven’t seen any data demonstrating that Quinn benefitted at the polls from this program at all. If as alleged, Quinn spent basically $54 million on vote buying in five wards, the impact should be obvious to a blind man.

    Unless the argument is that as a corrupt politician, Quinn is inept?


  79. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    - Original Rambler - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    You can start here and just keep following links.

    http://pando.com/2014/05/05/leaked-docs-obtained-by-pando-show-how-a-wall-street-giant-is-guaranteed-huge-fees-from-taxpayers-on-risky-pension-investments/

    It probably won’t hurt Rauner directly, but if it keeps snowballing there will be a lot of dirt flying around. As others have said, the returns for the State were good; nobody is disputing that. But just being associated with the industry could end up a negative.


  80. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    YDD you may want to take a look at this post of Rich’s from a couple of days ago and the reference to Maywood…

    http://capitolfax.com/2014/05/05/quinn-tries-to-respond/

    Also don’t forget some of that money went to pay people to march with him at a parade. Doesn’t seem like that is violence prevention to me…


  81. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    ==Must we complain the money is too green because of the dislike of the process or the man==

    Maybe we should be trading in blood diamonds or just having the Mob shake people down if that doesn’t work out.


  82. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===Also don’t forget some of that money went to pay people to march with him at a parade===

    The Quinnsters say the kids weren’t paid.


  83. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    –I do not think anyone in their right mind is alleging that Chicago Area Project was engaging in GOTV activities.–

    Isn’t that the whole ball of wax regarding the “political slush fund” allegation?


  84. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    == The Quinnsters say the kids weren’t paid. ==

    Oh… Glad to see they had at least that much sense..


  85. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    == I haven’t seen any data demonstrating that Quinn benefitted at the polls from this program at all. ==

    That is one possible view. Another possible view is that Quinn saw his weakness in polling and in certain areas well before election day, which is part of what prompted this effort.

    Which makes me wonder… what would his performance have been like without establishing this “outreach” shortly before the election?

    Would Quinn have performed even worse without the VRI?

    We cannot know for certain, any more than we can point to the fact Quinn underperformed in certain wards as evidence of his motives for or against the VRI program.

    This doesn’t make him guilty or innocent of anything. Nor do election results speak to his motives or intent. It just means he underperformed in certain areas and still won a close election.


  86. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Regarding GTCR funds and their returns, keep this context in mind:

    “The return on its 2006 Fund IX was 0.1% through the end of last year, although that was above London-based Prequin Ltd.’s pooled average of negative 3.5%. GTCR’s more mature 2000 Fund VII returned 26%, beating a Prequin median of 19%, and the 2003 Fund VIII has returned 27%, above the 21% median.”

    While 20 and 25% may sound great, and GTCR’s funds outperformed similar companies according to a private equity research and data firm, when the median rates are 19 and 20%, GTCR’s performance, while good, is nothing to crow about in the way Walter Mitty is crowing about here.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20110618/ISSUE02/306189996/chicago-private-equity-firm-gtcr-is-on-a-roll#


  87. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    == The Quinnsters say the kids weren’t paid. ==

    Interesting. That definitely sounds different from what CNN said records showed and what they told CNN in the initial story.

    == A four-month CNN investigation found that not only did the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) pay teens to hand out fliers promoting inner peace, it also paid these at-risk teens to take field trips to museums, march in a parade with the governor, and even attend a yoga class to learn how to handle stress…

    The NRI also paid teens from the Better Boys Foundation to march in the 82nd Annual Bud Billiken Parade on August 13, 2011, with Quinn, according to records and video of the parade.

    “Their job was promoting positive messages, etc., which is what the parade is about,” a spokesman for Quinn said. ==

    http://capitolfax.com/2012/12/03/a-ridiculous-waste-of-precious-money/


  88. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Saying nothing would be better than what Quinn has been doing. Stop. Shooting. Yourself. In. The. Foot.


  89. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    PC - you left out a few key parts from that article praising GTCR for their exceedingly impressive performance. For example

    == “We’ve made a lot of money with them, and they’ve been very successful,” says William Atwood, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Investment, which oversees three state pension plans. ==

    We apparently come away from that article with two very different impressions of how well they have performed. Especially since GTCR’s track record of returns runs far longer than just one year in their worst-performing fund (Fund IX) of that year.


  90. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Precinct-
    1) your source quotes a State investment chief as saying GTCR delivered “outstanding performance.”
    2) all 3 funds beat their comparable “sister” funds’ performance and two doubled their investors’ money.
    3) can you explain to us in a short paragraph (without the Google) the difference between a hedge fund and a private equity buyout fund?


  91. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    A good man must be hard to find (or is it the other way round?). Is anyone not bothered that the Clerk of the Circuit Court is married to a former felon? Well, that is trivial in comparison to the fact that her office operates like a New Orleans ward organization that is more interested in hustling votes than in performing its job.

    Many lawyers will tell you that they miss Morgan Finley or Aurelia Pucinski.


  92. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    UFR –

    I think we have a member of congress who is married to a felon… In Illinois it isn’t a big deal.


  93. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    @OneMan:

    You’re correct, but Brown also works in the judicial branch. There used to be higher standards in that department.


  94. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    ===- Upon Further Review -

    You’re correct, but Brown also works in the judicial branch. There used to be higher standards in that department.===

    Two words;

    Operation. Graylord.


  95. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    Or even “Greylord”

    Stupid auto-correct, lol


  96. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    –You’re correct, but Brown also works in the judicial branch. There used to be higher standards in that department.===

    Former clerk Morgan Finley got 10 years for taking bribes from an FBI mole.


  97. - Responsa - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    You know, it’s starting to seem like a lot of people don’t go into Illinois politics primarily to serve the public.


  98. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    @Oswego Willy and Wordslinger:

    Greylord wrapped almost thirty years ago.

    Finley left office in 1988. I wasn’t complimenting Finley for his ethics as much as I was for the office functioning better back in the day. It is worth noting that much of the paperwork and recordkeeping was maintained and performed manually in Finley’s era.

    Under Brown, it can take three weeks or more to retrieve a warehouse file. In times gone by, it was closer to seventy-two hours. For all of the advances and computer upgrades, Brown’s office is going backwards.

    @Responsa: Brown would be a better fit on the Chicago City Council.


  99. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    You’re correct, but Brown also works in the judicial branch. There used to be higher standards in that department.

    Among voters? Where is this fantasy Illinois and how do I get in?


  100. - Soccermom - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    Here’s the theme I think PQ should hang onto, hard — every time Rauner tries to dirty him up, pull out one of Rauner’s many financial shenanigans, from nursing homes to Stuart Levine to whatever else they have in oppo.

    And the kicker is always– Rauner cares about money. Pat Quinn cares about you.

    I think he can win if he stays with that. Because, incidentally, it has the added benefit of being true.


  101. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    @OneMan:

    No, not higher standards imposed by voters. Discipline and sanctions are meted out more frequently in the judicial branch. For example, Fast Eddie V. was on bad paper with the ARDC long before he ever did a prison stretch for crimes.


  102. - Responsa - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    ==the kicker is always– Rauner cares about money. Pat Quinn cares about you.==

    Soccermom–that humanistic theme only works if, after his 4 years as governor, enough voters still actually believe that Quinn cares about us. I would respectfully question that assumption based on the state’s worsening finances, recent polls, and the ongoing bad news swirling around him.


  103. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 5:45 pm:

    Soccermom:

    The problem with that strategy is that this isn’t Rauner trying to dirty Quinn up.

    As Rich reported, legislative Republicans, not exactly friends of Bruce, got the ball rolling.

    It got legs because legislative Democrats were miffed that Quinn was consulting with aldermen instead of them.

    The well-respected and independent Inspector General put it on the front page.

    State and federal prosecutors have put it on the evening news.

    Team Rauner doesn’t deserve ANY of the credit for this.


  104. - Holdingontomywallet - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 7:19 pm:

    Quinn needs to use the “Harry Reid strategy” and blame the Koch brothers.


  105. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 7, 14 @ 10:39 pm:

    Funny, Holding.

    Look, Rauner likely has the deeper pockets and therefore a longer reach.

    The way for Quinn to beat him is to get inside and work the body. And to do that, you have to take a punch or two.

    Just about the hardest thing for any candidate to do is learn to take punches. Kinda feel bad for Quinn because four years ago he was taking hits for early release and now he is taking hits for trying to keep kids out of prison in the first place.

    All he can do is hope this one ends like Rocky IV and not 300.


  106. - Soccermom - Thursday, May 8, 14 @ 7:35 am:

    YDD — You raise an excellent point. I should have said, “Any time something bad happens, the Governor should pull out one of Rauner’s….”

    At this point in the cycle, he can ascribe any criticism to Rauner — and he should. Most people will not be following as closely as you are. :)


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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