* Give state grant money to the head of one of the most effective Democratic political organizations in the state, and surprises are few…
Young job seekers in Chicago’s south suburbs stood to benefit from almost half a million dollars awarded by Gov. Pat Quinn’s now-defunct anti-violence grant program that’s under investigation.
But some of that money went to a local government official with ties to Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli, who is a south suburban power broker known for turning out the vote and a political supporter of Quinn, the Better Government Association has found.
Thornton Township Youth Director Jerry Weems, a Zuccarelli underling and campaign contributor, got part of his salary paid with state grant money; got nearly $10,000 for his own nonprofit; and even more money — $3,600 — for a company owned by his sister-in-law. […]
With the grant money, the nonprofit paid teens $8.50 an hour to pass out anti-violence literature at events. It also paid Weems’ own nonprofit organization, Vision Management Services, $9,600 in 2012 for leading young adult workshops on stress management, anger resolution and basic social skills, according to interviews and records.
The Youth Committee Program also gave Weems a salary of more than $14,000 total in 2011 and 2012 with grant funds. The payments were in addition to Weems’ annual township pay, currently $127,722. Separately, the Youth Committee Program paid Enhanced Skillstreaming Professionals Inc. $3,600 with grant funds in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. State records show that private company is owned by Toinette Hill, Weems’ sister-in-law. Hill declined to comment.
Again with paying kids to hand out anti-violence fliers. This is nothing but make-work. OK, it gets kids off the streets for a few hours, puts a few bucks in their pockets, but is it really accomplishing anything?
The legislative commission that last month opened hearings into Auditor General William Holland’s audit of Gov. Pat Quinn’s scandal-tainted Neighborhood Recovery Initiative announced Tuesday a new hearing date in July to continue delving into the report.
The Legislative Audit Commission has set July 16 and, if necessary, July 17 to continue hearing testimony on Quinn’s 2010 anti-violence grant program that is now under state and federal investigation.