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White’s “social relationship” causes him big trouble

Thursday, Nov 7, 2013

* Crain’s

A woman who until recently was the No. 2 official in an Illinois government unit that regulates the securities industry lied about her academic background, used multiple names on government records and listed a home address that turned out to be a UPS storefront, according to an internal state investigation.

The woman also billed the state for work as a home-health aide for hundreds of days when she was supposed to be working as the $75,000-a-year deputy director of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Department of Securities, the investigation finds.

The probe was conducted by Jim Burns, the inspector general for the secretary of state’s office. Released after a formal request by Crain’s, the report indicates that the ex-official, Marlene Liss, also known as Marlene Liss-Menendez and Mar Liss-Garcia, also is the subject of a parallel investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield that is part of a wider probe into Medicaid fraud […]

But Mr. Druker also said, in answer to a direct question, that Mr. White has known Ms. Liss for 15 years, originally meeting her when she ran a Springfield printing shop. Mr. Druker said Ms. Liss, now 36, obtained employment with the secretary of state’s office on her own, without Mr. White’s help. The two, though, do have a non-romantic “personal friendship,” Mr. Druker said. “It’s a social relationship.” […]

Despite her job title as chief deputy director, Ms. Liss provided only “administrative services,” such as keeping track of vacation and time off, Mr. Druker said. She “did not” work on securities regulation.

Oy.

A Republican state Senator asked me yesterday why anyone would ever want to be secretary of state. There’s no policy involved, he said. Well, yeah, I replied, but the SoS has plenty of nice goodies to hand out. Jobs, contracts, grants, etc. So if you like “helping people,” you’d love being secretary of state.

Maybe a little less “help” and a little more background checking is in order over there.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - anon - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:17 am:

    No matter how beloved a person is, remaining in office too long leads to complacency and abuses of power. It happens all the time.


  2. - 4 percent - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:22 am:

    Where there’s smoke, there’s likely to be fire. I’m guessing this may be the tip of the iceberg.


  3. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:22 am:

    This issue will really be great for the republican candidate whose name escapes me at the moment, maybe because THERE IS NO republican candidate…. God help us all! Lol


  4. - geronimo - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:24 am:

    =why anyone would want to be SOS==

    I’ve often wondered why elected people want any of those offices so badly. It’s not like they’re in it for the (legitimate) money. Must be extremely lucrative somehow. Somehow.


  5. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    Dear ILGOP: Please field someone, anyone, against Jesse White. You can’t beat somebody with nobody. Is this the same Jim Burns who was the US Attorney in Chicago?


  6. - Amuzing Myself - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    Seriously?! They didn’t even verify the college background of someone being hired in an admin role in Securities?! Someone’s head should role. “She lied to us” is a lame excuse, and a copout. How many more people in the thousands that work for that office lied to get their jobs? Utterly shocked. New blood in that office would be welcome.


  7. - Denny Savard - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    How exactly did she tumble her way through all this?


  8. - Bogart - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    Anon- Agree with your comment but for the fact the smoke has been there (This SOS) since day one.


  9. - Bourbonrich - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:43 am:

    I wish they had asked the IG if there had been a romantic interest. His response seems to say there is not one going on right now.


  10. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:50 am:

    What is it about these OLD elderly politicians and women half their age ?
    George Dunne, Jesse White, Rich Daley, Bill Clinton, ….

    As Kissinger said, power is the most powerful aphrodisiac I guess.


  11. - Out Here In The Middle - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that anything could cause Jesse “big trouble”.


  12. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    I wonder whether she was fired/forced to resign and if she landed anywhere else?


  13. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    Loose with titles? That explains the State phone book listing for the SOS office:

    - Duke of Driver Services
    - Count of Court of Claims
    - Archduke of Archives
    - Earl of Index
    - Monk of the Merit Commission
    - Prince of Physical Services
    - Secretary of State Police Poobah
    - Viscount of Vehicle Services


  14. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    Does anyone remember the unbeatable Cecil Parte? White better get a few of his “tumblers” in the republican primary before the republicans do! Lol


  15. - Downstater - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Is the second or third time Jesse White has made a bad call on appointing someone to a high profile position?


  16. - RNUG - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Business as usual in Illinois …


  17. - otoh - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    White was totally unaware about it, for fifteen years, until he just now saw it on TV.


  18. - Allen Skillicorn - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    Replace White with Derrick Smith?


  19. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    “Non-romantic” LOL I have no doubt that romance did not play any part in their social relationship so Druker is spot on.


  20. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    75K per year to keep track of vacation and time off?

    All while ther are serious cuts in services to needy people?

    Stay classy, Jesse


  21. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    ==75K per year to keep track of vacation and time off?==

    If I worked there and she had told me I was out of vacation days, I wonder if I could have gotten away with saying “But my alias Robert the Bruce hasn’t used any vacation yet this year!”

    Anyway, it could be worse - assuming she was completely unqualified to handle bigger tasks, at least she wasn’t assigned those tasks.


  22. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Illinois, the land of low-information voters.


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    ==- Plutocrat03: 75K per year to keep track of vacation and time off? ==

    I don’t see a problem, after all her boss is just a secretary!


  24. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    Didn’t Jesse Jackson Jr. refer to the D.C. cocktail waitress as a “social acquaintence” ?


  25. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    Olivia Pope (”Scandal”), phone should be ringing right about now.


  26. - Whatever - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    Memo to Jack Dorgan: Please find a (credible) GOP candidate!


  27. - dupage dan - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    This isn’t White’s first run in with this kind of trouble - inability/failure to pick/endorse folks with ethics and integrity. I appreciated his strong stance on young drivers. I had such a driver - a son - who benifitted (as did the rest of us!) from the higher standards/restrictions.

    White has squandered that with these shenanigans. I will write in Pat Paulsen before I vote for this guy again.


  28. - Lakefront Liberal Gay - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    I’m a good Democrat and Jesse White has always struck me as an embarrassment. Reeks of Strogerism and Daley clouting. Can’t we get someone better in that office?


  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    =As Kissinger said, power is the most powerful aphrodisiac I guess.=

    Yes, and for those who have that kind of power, money seems to always help or maybe even be required.


  30. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    Corruption in an Illinois State Government Office. How Shocking!!!!


  31. - Si Senor - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    White is notorious for featherbedding. The reason the Latino caucus has never seriously held him accountable for being the LAST public official to support driver’s licenses for immigrants is because so many of them have put people onto the SOS payroll. Small wonder that the patronage does not just benefit White politically, but also personally!


  32. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Jesse White is a friendly and popular guy. He’s got a lot of “social relationships”.

    This is a bit brazen, however.


  33. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:24 pm:

    Yet another rumor about such a “social relationship” for Jesse. Somehow you’d just hope that there’s nothing to it or it just means to grab a BLT sandwich somewhere together sometime…but, I already read the reaction “Oy,” so I’ll just go with “Ugh.”


  34. - been there - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    hasn’t jim burns always been there to try to defend jesse from himself? behind the scenes?


  35. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 8:13 pm:

    The real issue in the Crain’s article is the accusation of Medicaid fraud. Their link to the inspector general’s report is quite interesting.

    Liss was supposedly billing the state home care program for hours she did not work, since she was at the SOS office during those hours. Since that program is Medicaid funded, the feds are involved. The Dept. of Justice recently indicted 10 people in southern Illinois for the same sort of fraud. All are facing jail time.

    If Liss is charged by the feds with Medicaid fraud, this will look really different for Jesse White. The whole “social relationship” angle is worth a chuckle today, but explaining away how an SOS deputy director is under federal indictment for fraud would be a much more serious conversation.


  36. - Jon Zahm - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 10:08 pm:

    There is a credible conservative Republican candidate circulating. I have already turned in 50 signatures for him.
    Will Lindsay, a businessman with a background in real estate and sports marketing. He lives in Yorkville. www.secretaryofstate2014.com


  37. - Black Barbie* - Tuesday, Nov 26, 13 @ 10:22 pm:

    Obviously this woman owned a print shop. Had fake diplomas. She knew what she was doing. Secretary of State use to be long lines..slow service..rude clerks…no EXPRESS! Give the man some credit..


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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