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Report: Ex-top IDOT boss misused state post to get NASCAR tickets

Michael Stout former top employee Illinois Department Transportatiused his positiget NASCAR passes ChicagolSpeedway doled them out acquaintances lied investigators looking

Michael Stout, a former top employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation used his position to get NASCAR passes at Chicagoland Speedway, doled them out to acquaintances and lied to investigators looking into his conduct, the state inspector general charged in report released Thursday, May 10, 2012. In this picture, Stout (middle) is flanked by NASCAR driver Carl Edwards and former IDOT secretary Milton Sees.

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Updated: June 12, 2012 8:16AM



A former top employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation used his position to get NASCAR passes at Chicagoland Speedway, doled them out to acquaintances and lied to investigators looking into his conduct, a report Wednesday charged.

Michael Stout, who recently resigned as director of the department’s Division of Traffic Safety, tried to “look like a ‘big shot’” and engaged “in behavior that could undermine citizens’ confidence in state government,” according to the report from the state’s Office of the Executive Inspector General.

The inspector general’s office recommended disciplinary action against Stout last year for failing to disclose his secondary employment, misusing his state vehicle and email account, and billing the state for almost 100 hours of work the office found he didn’t actually do.

But Stout, 58, left the department in December. He had worked for the department since February 2003 and was making $108,288 a year.

A spokesman for the transportation department could not be reached for comment.

According to the report, Stout requested numerous passes to NASCAR events from a transportation department vendor during 2009 and 2010, then handed some of them out to six individuals who did not work for the department after misrepresenting them as department associates.

“Plainly said, Mr. Stout sought to look like a ‘big shot,’” the report stated.

He told investigators that those citizens were, in fact, conducting transportation department business at the Speedway “by wearing IDOT t-shirts and participating in an awards presentation,” the report states.

However, “five of the non-IDOT employees that received [tickets] via Mr. Stout denied that he or she performed any IDOT business or were asked to perform any IDOT business (or even wear an IDOT t-shirt), during the 2010 or any other NASCAR weekend.”

According to the report, only one of the non-employees said he engaged in behavior that could remotely count as official state business by carrying an IDOT award that Stout eventually presented to NASCAR driver Carl Edwards.

The vendor Stout received tickets from had done business with the state since 2007, rendered services at the Speedway (among other locations) and was the beneficiary of a $154,500 annual state grant.

Although Stout had the authority under the vendor contract to request passes for the purpose of conducting state business, he overstepped his bounds by giving them to non-employees.

This isn’t the first time Stout has been at the center of an ethical lapse relating to his job with the transportation department. He was one of the defendants in a lawsuit that alleged he and others fired 16 state workers in 2004 because they were Republicans.

A federal jury last year sided with the workers, and the state agreed to settlements.



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