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Connecting too many dots

Monday, May 26, 2014

* This lede, while factually accurate, is quite a stretch

Gov. Quinn’s administration chose a well-known West Side social-service provider to distribute millions of dollars in anti-violence money across crime-ravaged Chicago neighborhoods in 2010, even though state audits just months before said the group couldn’t substantiate more than $200,000 in bills involving a summer-jobs program.

* And that morphed into this Associated Press lede

Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration chose a Chicago social-service provider to distribute millions of dollars in anti-violence money, just months after state audits raised serious questions about the way the group was handling money, according to a published report.

* The hugely hyped first line of a Bruce Rauner weekend press release built on those two media ledes to make this factually inaccurate statement…

In an explosive Sunday front page news story, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn provided millions in state anti-violence funding to a group the Governor, Attorney General and Auditor General knew to be under federal investigation:

* But here’s the timeline I put together based on the Sun-Times story

* June 22, 2010: IDOT internal auditors “raise red flag” about some Chicago Area Project grants, because time sheets from it and other groups were “typically vague, incomplete and noted activities unrelated to transportation and not in support of IDOT projects.”

* October 10, 2010: Results of a secret investigation by State Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza were forwarded to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who declined to get involved after being told of a federal investigation (which, after almost four years, has not produced any convictions or even charges).

* August-October, 2010: Chicago Area Project was put in charge of several West Side anti-violence initiatives.

* November, 2011: State Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza forwarded his findings to the governor’s office.

* Nov. 22, 2011: Quinn’s general counsel responds to Meza by writing that he is “currently in the process of seeking to recoup the overpayments that were made to the five fiscal agents,” including the Chicago Area Project.

* May, 2012: Chicago Area Project, which “vigorously dispute the findings of the OEIG audit as regards performance and alleged overpayments,” appeals IDOT’s demand for the return of grant money to a state arbitrator. The arbitration case has yet to be resolved.

* 2014: Quinn’s office claims the governor, himself, was finally briefed on the situation.

* So, regardless of whether or not Quinn wasn’t briefed until this year, his office was not notified by the Inspector General until over a year after CAP was awarded those anti-violence funds. The Inspector General is required by law to keep his investigations secret until he concludes the probes.

And, you’ll recall, Chicago’s US Attorney was investigating all sorts of allegations on the West Side back in 2010. They eventually ended up making several arrests, but nothing ever emerged about CAP.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


1 Comment
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 5:15 pm:

    A little “telephone” from the Rauner campaign. The story evolves with each telling.

    If they’re going to roll that way, they have no complaint when it comes to pushing granny down the stairs.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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