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Governor claims to be “pretty upset” over Tollway nepotism allegations

Friday, Aug 31, 2018

* Marni Pyke has been all over this story for the Daily Herald

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the Illinois tollway to get its act together regarding reports about nepotism, potential patronage and infighting among executives.

At a Daily Herald editorial board interview Wednesday, the incumbent Republican said he “was pretty upset” regarding the tollway’s hiring the sister-in-law of GOP House Leader Jim Durkin as engineering manager in 2017.

“I’ve troubled by some of the allegations that have surfaced,” Rauner said. “I’ve called the board and said, ‘Look, guys, If I have to send in some investigators, I’ll do it.’” […]

Rauner campaigned in 2014 on ridding Illinois’ government of cronyism, and he frequently excoriates Pritzker and House Speaker Michael Madigan on that subject.

Laura Durkin’s last job was in office furniture sales in 2001, the Daily Herald reported; tollway leaders contend she was the most qualified person for the $80,000-a-year engineering department job. The tollway also has a $6.6 million subcontract with Morreale Communications as part of a larger engineering contract. The firm is led by CEO Kim Morreale, who is married to Chicago’s only Republican state representative, Michael McAuliffe. Tollway officials say they follow state procurement laws and the Morreale firm was hired on its merits.

Investigators? Is he gonna send the state cops in or hire a private detective or something?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Not Rich - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Rauner + Trump =’s SWAMP….


  2. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    Nepotism on Liz Gorman’s watch? Shocking.


  3. - Henry Francis - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    The Guv trying to sound like he’s gonna do something to clean up cronyism. How cute.

    Look, I don’t expect the Guv to be aware of everyone who is hired. But certainly Rep. Durkin knew about this? Right?


  4. - Cocoa Dave - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    That’s a good question Rich but in reality the state cops are already there. One of the largest state police districts in the state, including its own investigation division, is assigned exclusively to the tollway. Also, the tollway has its very own Inspector general with a healthy staff and budget. Problem is the state cops are getting rich on over time there and the inspector general’s office has been questionable from the start. If Rauner hasn’t recognized this by now he is hopeless. Maybe what we really need is an investigation into the investigators.


  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    ===‘Look, guys, If I have to send in some investigators, I’ll do it.’===

    Did he laugh when he said that?


  6. - @misterjayem - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    Investigators? Is he gonna send the state cops in or hire a private detective or something?

    Ask Aaron Schock and Dan Rutherford about the impact of Bruce’s ‘investigators’.

    – MrJM


  7. - Contract disputin’ - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Umm … the Governor appointed the Tollway’s inspector general. He already has an investigator there.


  8. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    ===But certainly Rep. Durkin knew about this? Right?===

    Knew about it? The fact that her last name was “Durkin” likely played a significant role in the determination that she was the most “most qualified person” for the job. Which begs the question, “what exactly are the qualifications to be hired as an engineer by the tollway and what specific skills made Durkin a better choice than other applicants?”


  9. - Contract disputin’ - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    Of course, the IG he appointed to the tollway happens to be married to the person he appointed as Executive IG, so it might be harder to have the appearance of a crony-free investigation of the investigators of nepotism.

    To be clear, both are fine professionals. I’m just pointing out how ludicrous Rauner’s holier than thou rhetoric is


  10. - XDNR - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    Obviously patronage and cronyism didn’t play a part in Rauner appointing Ken Dunkin to the MWRD board right?


  11. - Les Nessman - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    Really ruins your narrative Dance Band that all this happened Greg Bedalov


  12. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    Sgt. Schultz, of course, knows nothing.

    Who believes that any Illinois governor would not know that’s his party’s House caucus leader got a fat patronage job on his watch?

    But there goes Rep. Durkin under the bus. Thanks for carrying my water all these years.

    Who believes that Rauner called board members, threatening “investigators?” Ins. Clouseau, perhaps?

    But, based on the governor’s concerns, perhaps the state’s attorney or U.S. attorney might want to turn their attention to the tollway.


  13. - Sugar Corn - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    Um, the tollway hiring stories surfaced many months ago.

    When did he call the board?
    What did he ask them to do?

    I hope the DH edit board didn’t eat Rauner’s pablum.


  14. - J. Griddle - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    Perhaps he is referring to the Hiring and Employment Monitoring Unit of the Office of the Executive Inspector General? Now that’s a mouth full!


  15. - RNUG - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    == “I’ve troubled by some of the allegations that have surfaced,” ==

    He is troubled this topic is back in the news.

    I’m kind of disappointed Rauner didn’t call for the State to sell off the tollway to solve those problems. /s


  16. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    Not to mention the tollway hired a connected PR firm for $6.6 million for “communications.” Even though the tollway has an entire communications department, with 10-12 full time employees who have handled all communications right up until Rauners chairman was appointed. Coinkidink? I think there is some inspectin’ to do Mr. Gov.


  17. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    I’d be troubled too if this happened on my watch


  18. - Columbo - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    == “I’ve troubled by some of the allegations that have surfaced, others not so much” /s

    There, fixed it for you Bruce


  19. - Flynn's Mom - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    I’ve been troubled since he was elected. How can he look at himself in the mirror? He is surrounded by cronyism. Such a hypocrite. When is Ken Dunkin stepping down from the MWRD?


  20. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    Les Nessman
    My bad. I had the timing of the Tollway controversies mixed up.


  21. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    Another bus driven over loyal members who voted with and stayed with the Governor during his catastrophic 4 years.
    Durkin should have been watching what happened to Radogno and realized it was only a matter of time before he got the bus as well.


  22. - BC - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    An opportunity for JB here. Why not hit Rauner hard on corruption? Tollway nepotism, the warehousing lease agreement with the Cellini family, the business meeting on the porch of the mansion, etc.

    “He promised to ‘Shake up Springfield,’ not shake it down.”


  23. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    I bet when Durkin started the week with a presser criticizing JB he didn’t envision the week ending with Rauner throwing him under the bus.


  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    Leigh John-Ella wins the day.


  25. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 11:48 am:

    Leigh John-Ella this is where we need a like button or the laughing emoji


  26. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    I’m shocked to find gambling in Casablanca.


  27. - Jocko - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    ==Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the Illinois tollway to get its act together regarding reports about nepotism (and) potential patronage==

    Where I’m from, we call that “corruption” /s


  28. - Sir Reel - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 12:41 pm:

    Office furniture sales … engineering management… note to self: avoid using the toll roads.


  29. - theCardinal - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    Croynyism accusations from any politcal party about a government body may be the most hypocritcal thing ever….its is laugable. But if it sticks to the wall keep slinging it baby. If you’re a hack, you’re a hack, just be a good one and show up and do the job.


  30. - Roadrager - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    ==Obviously patronage and cronyism didn’t play a part in Rauner appointing Ken Dunkin to the MWRD board right?==

    I’m certain neither of those nefarious influences played a part in Rauner appointing Corey Brooks to the Tollway board, either.


  31. - Long Time R - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    - Dance Band on the Titanic- All the hiring and contracts that are under scrutiny were long before Liz Gorman became the Executive Director.


  32. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    Because Durkin, Bruce?


  33. - DuPage - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    Meanwhile having Stuart Levine on the TRS and be on Rauner’s company payroll is OK?


  34. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    Can’t wait couple months Bruce Baby outta here


  35. - cdog - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Every time I travel to ORD on the 294 and have to pay $1.50 cash every 4 or 5 miles, I just thinks to myself….so much cash…

    On the road, off the road, pay the toll, on the road off the road, pay the toll… over and over again.

    What a mess. Are there any other toll systems in the country that are so ridiculously engineered? I haven’t seen one. Do you think the tollway execs know that people get MS and Phd’s in urban planning and civil engineering?

    At least the signage was changed at the Balmoral exit so when the google takes you off that exit, you aren’t blowing through a no-cash toll booth.


  36. - Flower Power - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 2:38 pm:

    Les Nessman and Long Time R - Liz Gorman is as bad as the others. She fired an employee connected to Director Gomez and replaced him with two of her connections. Get rid of one of the other guy’s people and bring in two of your own.


  37. - Siriusly - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    Given all the corruption and blatant hypocrisy in the IL GOP - it is no stretch to say that Rauner is the head of a party that is full of corruption and immorality.

    I applaud him for calling for an investigation, but it must be done by someone outside of his control because he has too many of his own people in there. An outside independent investigation.

    Also - what about some conflict of interest disclosures here? Doesn’t any state agency require bidders to disclose their ownership? Their relationships? Their campaign contributions? The simplest easiest amount of disclosure requirements from contract bidders could have prevented this.


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