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Corruption roundup *** Updated x2 ***

Monday, Jan 29, 2007

Federal Judge John Grady has an interesting state corruption hearing docket this Wednesday, all of them tied to the ongoing hospital board scandal. Check out the last entry [emphasis added].

1:05-cr-00408 USA v. Glennon 10:30 Status Hearing
1:05-cr-00408 USA v. Hurtgen 10:30 Notice of Motion
1:05-cr-00408 USA v. Hurtgen 10:30 Status Hearing
1:05-cr-00408 USA v. Kiferbaum 10:30 Status Hearing
1:05-cr-00408 USA v. SUPPRESSED 10:30 Status Hearing

Meanwhile, the AP has a story today about the numerous holes in the administration’s case against former CMS personnel honchos Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey.

The state executive inspector general’s office, which conducted a yearlong investigation, concluded that many job applications were submitted through the governor’s office or state lawmakers. The inspector’s confidential report, obtained by The Associated Press last summer, also indicated that the allegedly improper practices continued for months after DeFraties and Casey left CMS. […]

The case centers on 28 so-called “special applications.” The administration claims that for all but one of those applications, DeFraties and Casey did not officially record a grade if it was below an “A” and let the applicant try again later.

An Associated Press analysis of the 28 cases in November showed weaknesses in each one. Investigators relied on the wrong dates for key events, some applicants who investigators said got “A” grades never got any grade, and some candidates were never hired. […]

The administration says it found the 28 improper applications in a log that Casey kept to track more than 2,000 “special applications” his office received. […]

Each line of the printed log is numbered chronologically, but the AP found there are 67 numbers missing. The administration and its lawyers have refused to explain what information is omitted.

Go read the whole thing.

Also, a recent Post-Dispatch story adds that the administration’s attorneys want to exclude evidence that people from the governor’s office allegedly lobbied DeFraties and Casey to hire politically connected workers.

*** UPDATE *** OK, I can’t help myself. From the Belleville News-Democrat:

A new statewide tax incentive for businesses is meant to promote the hiring of Illinois’ veterans, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Employers can now earn income tax credit of up to $600 for every qualified veteran they hire.

Apparently, state government has shut so many veterans out of the hiring process in order to fill jobs with political hacks that we need the private sector to pick up the slack. /snark

*** UPDATE 2 *** The SJ-R has posted an update on the hearing. I’d suggest you keep checking for more. [Hat tip to a commenter.]

Carl Draper will continue to represent two former state personnel officials in their attempt to win back their jobs.

Draper, a Springfield attorney, also might be called to testify in the appeals hearing before an Illinois Civicl Service Commission administrative law judge. That created a legal question over whethe Draper could be both a witness and a lawyer in the same hearing.

However, administrative law judge Anthony Dos Santos said this morning Draper would be allowed to testify if necessary while still representing Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cassandra - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:06 am:

    I’m certain that if you audited any government agency you would find problems with documentation and work flow processes.

    And if you are a state politician or Blago administration honcho, is it illegal to call over to CMS and find out how your mother’s aunt’s second cousin’s application for dogcatcher is coming along. If it is, why not discipline the politician or honcho?

    The administration panicked here. They should acknowledge that they overreacted, fix the Rutan loopholes if they feel some atypical ethical urges, and settle this case. Give them some money
    to make them go away. If they were double exempt they worked at the pleasure of the guv anyway, I doubt they have a “right” to their jobs.
    Although most state employees, exempt or not, seem
    to quickly develop a strong sense of belonging to a permanent welfare state by virtue of their state of Illinois employment.

  2. - Outraged! - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:22 am:

    “The administration’s attorneys want to exclude evidence.” Talk about running scared……
    How come the media’s not all over this?

  3. - He Makes Ryan look like a saint - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:22 am:

    Orders were followed, grades were fixed. All at the demands of the Governor’s office. When is Fitzy going to lower the boom on this guy?

  4. - Little Egypt - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    From what I have read so far, it appears that DeFraites and Casey have done a good job of “CYA”. I’m sure Blago & buddies are concerned about the e-mails and I can understand why they want them left out of the Civil Service Commission hearing. I’m thinking this is going to be closely watched by Patrick Fitzgerald and company. So what happens if DeFraites and Casey get their jobs back and are moved into a corner? Not a very pleasant work environment for sure. What if the CSC, which is padded with Blago buddies (and former nanny) don’t give them their jobs back? The CSC’s decision will always be suspect and could open the door for Fitz to subpoena the commission members and all information used in the hearing. This is a real mess and one that is certainly going to play out in the press. And I thought 2007 was going to be boring.

  5. - Number 8 - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:35 am:

    What exactly does it mean that DeFraties and Casey havew 66 pages of printed emails? Did they choose which emails to print? If so, wouldnt that support the contention by the governor’s office that they present one side of the story? Would either of these two print emails that show themselves in a bad light? My guess is that these printed emails do not tell the entire story. Unless I’m mistaken, all email transactions from state email accounts are stored for an indefinate period of time. If this is the case, I’m sure that the government will have ample ammunition to come back and debunk whatever case being made by these two employees.

    The truth probably exists somewhere between the two sides. However, I would also guess that the actions by the mid level governors office stffers didnt break any laws, and whatever direction the two employees received from these staffers didnt instruct them to do anything illegal.

  6. - Who next? - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:42 am:

    Number 8

    Wonder who’s going to get thrown under the bus this week?
    “I’m clean as a houndstooth.” - Blago

  7. - Tightrope - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:57 am:

    What has Blagojevich and company’s legal wrangling cost the Illinois taxpayer’s to date?

  8. - Lori - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    Number 8
    If the administration has the “other side” of the emails, let them bring them to court. They must be afraid.

  9. - Little Egypt - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:08 am:

    Number 8. You state, “However, I would also guess that the actions by the mid level governors office stffers didnt break any laws, and whatever direction the two employees received from these staffers didnt instruct them to do anything illegal.” Blago’s “mid-level” employees are the ones getting him in trouble. The e-mails are primarily from the early part of ‘03, when Blago had just taken office. County chairmen, politicians and campaign contributors were hungry for jobs and Blago’s kids were too new to know the ropes. There was a feeding frenzy going on for jobs and Blago didn’t have sense enough to provide some good instruction in the “how-to’s” of hiring patronage employees. He didn’t know the rules himself. If he had taken more time, perhaps we would not be waiting for the results of a CSC hearing. The unfortunate aspect of all of this (for Blago) is that Blago has just done some of Fitzgerald’s work and Blago has just thrown in a few shovels full of dirt on his own grave. LMAO.

  10. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    We’ve been talking about this over here, and we are laughing at the stupidity of the administration’s people. What century are they living in?

    We keep all our emails. We have to. We deal with executives who are simple-minded. They make decisions, tell their flunkies, then forget about them. These people still think in paper. We have morons who ask a flunkie to print up their emails daily. These people are so out of touch.

    It is so easy to see how DeFrates and Casey kept their emails to cover themselves. They had to. They made very important decisions, and had a lot of people willing to shoot at them. What is even dumber was the Administration’s actions. They seemed to really believe that DeFrates and Casey were as dumb as they were regarding technology and procedures. Like many office workers, they were walking tape recorders, thanks to technology.

    The very idea of blaming them is hilarious! Who was so stupid to fire them? How daft are these people? We are laughing over here, thinking about the reactions these nimrods would have realizing that Casey and DeFrates saved and filed incoming and outgoing email. This isn’t 1977. Where are these people’s minds? Do they even have a computer?

    It is unbelievable that in 2007, we have an Administration so out of touch with technology and procedures, it couldn’t keep itself from torching a couple they hired to do their dirty work, thinking there would be no digital data trails. Personal computers have been around over 30 years, and this Administration still doesn’t understand what this means. Hilarious.

    I hope they all get full public spankings. These dummies are too dumb to even pull off a simple sacking.

  11. - What Would George Ryan Say.... - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    Outstanding Vanilla Man! We are rolling in laugher too.
    Gotta love karma….

  12. - This guy - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Anyone know when the hearing is scheduled to begin? What/who is the best update source?

    So many are on the edge of our seats.

  13. - UPDATE - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:43 am:

    Read SJ-R for update on hearing.

  14. - This guy - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:49 am:

    SJ-R reports Draper can continue to represent, regardless of whether he’s called to testify.

    Rock on.

  15. - He Makes Ryan look like a saint - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:57 am:

    This is just the tip of the iceburg. Wait until the Feds focus on the procurement side of the house. It will make MSI seem trivial.

  16. - One_Mcmad - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 12:06 pm:

    Question for anyone who may know:

    Has an appearance been filed by the state in the Better Government Associations lawsuit against the Office of the Governor?

  17. - One_Mcmad - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 12:17 pm:

    What the Office of the Governor should be concerned with is their legal representation and why they aren’t being represented by the Illinois Attorney General pursuant to state law and who gave the Governor the authority to hire his own legal representation when all state employees and agencies sued in the performance of their state duties are represented by the Illinois Attorney General.

    Stay tuned.

  18. - anon - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    This hiring hearing is sooooo boring I’m envious of Barbaro.

  19. - satin - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    Justice is slow and rare in illinois politics. Wait until they see the connections of the folks on the purse strings. It will truly boggle the mind of even the most cynical statehouse types. Guess who gets richer. I think blago gets out of it because the judiciary in this state has been bought and paid for for a long time. They are owned by the same group that owns the guv and leadership.

  20. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    Well, that didn’t work. Maybe if Blagojevich gets his goons to do a state tax audit on Draper…

  21. - one of the 35 - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 3:24 pm:

    Number 8 displays the height of naivity when he states, “However, I would also guess that the actions by the mid level governors office stffers didnt break any laws, and whatever direction the two employees received from these staffers didnt instruct them to do anything illegal.” In your dreams!

  22. - Team Sleep - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 3:50 pm:

    Saving certain e-mails proves that DeFraties and Casey were ahead of the curve. They could have easily deleted e-mails that would have implicated them and, if Blago’s office didn’t save said e-mails, no one will ever know what happened or what was said. Hooray for them.

  23. - Update - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    There is an article about what happened in court today in the Sun Times, incase anyone is interested.

  24. - One_Mcmad - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 5:48 pm:

    And Director Barry Maram, Illinois Department of Public Aid——oops the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services was the first one on the witness stand.

    I’m sure he has a lot to say about this case and another one. He should first start singing about why the name of the state agency that he directs was changed. Then tell why………………….and on and on and on.

    He might as well get used to the witness stand.

  25. - Anon - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 7:14 pm:

    I saw on the SJ-R website a summary of today’s proceedings on the DeFraties/Casey issue. It appears that the Governor’s office is essentially making the Wizard of Oz argument - “Never Mind the Man Behind the Curtain” pulling the strings. I agree with the Gov’s office argument that everyone should be held accountable - which is why the Gov’s office cannot escape blame.

  26. - reflector - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 7:54 pm:

    The bill that gives a $600.00 tax credit to a business to hire a veteran also gives the same credit ti a business that hires a released felon,plus there were other benefits in the bill for felons.Veterans were only in there to give the bill a chance to pass.There will be more of these kind of bills this sprig.

  27. - Papa Legba - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 9:28 pm:

    From the SJ-R update,

    “Lawyers for the Blagojevich administration urged an administrative judge Monday to focus on misconduct by two fired workers and not get drawn into whether the governor’s office pulled strings for some job applicants.”

    Huh? How can you separate the two? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    No wonder why my wife’s attorney pummeled Gagliardo in an employment lawsuit against the state. Has Gagliardo ever been successful in a case for the state? Or is he just another Blago hack racking up the fees?

  28. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jan 29, 07 @ 10:44 pm:

    I hate to wade into this mess, but Gagliardo isn’t a creation of this administration. He was frequently used and was quite well thought of in past administrations.

  29. - Gregor - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 12:26 am:

    I read the quote of Gagliardo’s argument from the Sun-Times story… I sure hope the administration enjoys eating those words they chose for him to say… the sentiment fits exactly regarding THEM.

    Is it a coincidence Rod is out in Califoenia now, paying the governator Ahnold and his fundraiser friends a visit, instead of facing the music at home?

  30. - Ryans Bed Pal - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 5:38 am:

    Lets see, King Rod signed an Executive Order stating that nobody can be hired, fired, promoted,transferred without his signature. Somebody tell me how Defraites & Casey had there own game going when it had to be approved by the King first?The King & George will look so good in prison together.

  31. - Flounder - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 8:56 am:

    Oh Boy! Oh Boy! This going to be good!

  32. - Markos - Tuesday, Jun 5, 07 @ 4:00 pm:


  33. - Apostolis - Thursday, Jun 7, 07 @ 12:06 am:


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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