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Corruption roundup

Friday, Feb 28, 2020

* Mark Brown and Robert Herguth at the Sun-Times

Worth Township Supervisor John O’Sullivan, who has been under investigation for his role in the SafeSpeed red-light camera scandal, told township officials he intends to resign Friday.

O’Sullivan, a former state legislator and Democratic committeeman, is under federal scrutiny because of his work as a sales consultant for SafeSpeed LLC.

SafeSpeed provides red-light cameras to numerous suburbs, including several where O’Sullivan has helped elect allies to local offices. […]

The Sun-Times reported previously that O’Sullivan, a political associate of [Patrick Doherty, who was indicted on bribery charges and is chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski], lobbied Oak Lawn officials to more aggressively ticket motorists identified by SafeSpeed’s cameras as potential violators.

O’Sullivan has a strong precinct crew that has done work for Speaker Madigan’s operation, among others.

* Tribune

Former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios and his political committees must pay $168,000 in fines after a judge dismissed his complaints challenging the ethics board’s findings and ability to sanction him.

The Cook County Ethics Board previously fined Berrios, the Committee to Elect Joseph Berrios Cook County Assessor and his 31st Ward Democratic Organization $41,000 in January 2018 and $127,000 more that May for accepting campaign contributions in excess of legal limits.

At the center of the ethics board’s rulings was a 2016 county ordinance stating that donors who seek “official action” with the county may contribute no more than $750 in nonelection years. Attorneys for Berrios sought to overturn the rulings, arguing that the county limits are unconstitutional and that higher limits set by state law should apply, among other objections. […]

“My office worked tirelessly to defend the actions of the Cook County Board of Ethics and demand accountability from Mr. Berrios,” Foxx said in a statement.

The ruling is here.

* Lauren FitzPatrick and Tim Novak at the Sun-Times

On a quiet street in Oak Lawn, a brick split-level home with a built-in pool sat empty for years, mold growing in the flood-prone basement.

Federal lenders seized the house after the couple who owned it split up. They sold it to the Cook County Land Bank Authority, a government agency established for just such a circumstance: to find buyers for vacant houses, usually in struggling neighborhoods.

Two developers offered to buy and fix up the home, which an inspector had warned “is not a rehab for the faint of heart or a tight budget.” But the land bank turned down both developers.

Instead, it sold the home in 2018 — at a lower price than what the developers offered to pay — to Natasha Cornog, executive assistant to the land bank’s top boss, and her elderly mother on the condition that they live there. And so the Cornogs paid $150,000 for the home the land bank had bought for $141,786. […]

But Cornog had another problem, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation found. She was taking homestead property tax exemptions on that house and also two more she owns, records show. The law allows you to take only one homestead exemption — on the home where you live.

Cornog has since been fired.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

4 Comments
  1. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    Why didn’t Cornog live in one house and take the exemption and have her mom on the deed on the other house and have her take the exemption? Also mom got in trouble for taking the senior property tax freeze because of Cornog’s income. Having her own home she could have taken it.


  2. - DuPage - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    Multiple homestead exemptions? I remember reading Rauner did something like that and nothing was done, so it must be OK./s


  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    It makes you wonder, out loud, if O’Sullivan plans to plea / make a deal by resigning.

    This red light camera investigation, once it appears all is out there, will be one for the record books, not in a good way.


  4. - Law Man - Monday, Mar 2, 20 @ 4:09 pm:

    Some public officials in Oak Lawn are sweating bullets with O’Sullivan resigning. If he’s cooperating, he can blow the lid off a few fundraising schemes and land deals in Oak Lawn. Word is that a Trustee is already cooperating


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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