Statewide update—April 30, 2012

Al Podgorski
/Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-TimesTask Force: Whistleblowers should get more protection, “Whistleblowers will get more protection and city employees will be required to report corruption under proposed changes to Chicago’s ethics ordinance that will be announced Monday. Those changes are among 34 recommendations by an Ethics Task Force recruited by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to overhaul the city’s ethics ordinance.”

  • The SouthernPublic larceny can be easy in Illinois, Feds: $30 million milked from one small town, “Ghost employees and phantom vendors aren’t characters in the next big horror movie. Rather, they represent just two of the ways government employees can defraud taxpayers. The recent arrest of a small-town finance official accused of siphoning $30 million over the past few decades highlights just how vulnerable to fraud the approximately 4,900 taxing bodies in Illinois are… Having only one person in charge of finances in small towns and other taxing bodies is a common arrangement, making taxpayer dollars inherently vulnerable to abuse and to theft.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesClout builder settles whistleblower suit for $6.4 million, “Walsh Construction — a behemoth builder of roads, bridges and buildings with long ties to the Daley family — has paid $6.4 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that accused the contractor of overcharging taxpayers on 11 federally subsidized housing projects, records show.”
  • State Journal-RegisterLegislators take aim at subsidy for retiree health insurance, “Legislation to do away with the health insurance premium subsidy available to state retirees opens a new front in the battle between legislators determined to cut the state’s retirement debt and unions representing state workers… The amendment to Senate Bill 1313 would eliminate subsidies for health insurance for retirees. Instead, the Department of Central Management Services would determine how much the state would contribute to ‘the basic program of group health benefits on behalf of retired employees, annuitants and survivors.”
  • Chicago TribuneCity seeks gag order in police neglect case, “In the wake of a damaging appellate court ruling against the Chicago Police Department, lawyers for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration have asked a judge to keep the family of a mentally ill California woman from speaking publicly about the case. The move was prompted by a sharply critical statement Christina Eilman’s family issued after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that their lawsuit could proceed after a two-year delay, a legal opinion that likened police conduct to throwing her in a lion’s den.”
  • (AP) State Journal-RegisterState lawmaker accused of bribery due in court, “A state lawmaker accused of bribery is due in federal court. The arraignment of state Rep. Derrick Smith is scheduled for Monday before U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. The Chicago Democrat has been charged with accepting a bribe in exchange for using his influence to obtain a state grant for a daycare center. Smith was arrested March 13, days before Illinois’ primary election where he won the Democratic nomination despite his arrest.”
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