Weather Updates

Emails subpoenaed in federal probe of Quinn anti-violence program

Gov. PQuinn | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

storyidforme: 68735544
tmspicid: 24390780
fileheaderid: 12147631

Updated: August 6, 2014 6:13AM

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed emails of five state employees who were connected with Gov. Quinn’s scandal-tainted Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The subpoena, issued May 13, asks for the emails of Barbara Shaw, Barbara King, Malcolm Weems, Toni Irving and Reshma Desai — from January 2010 to the present.

Shaw led the anti-violence program that funneled money mostly to inner-city Chicago neighborhoods prior to the 2010 gubernatorial election. Desai and King were her top deputies.

Irving was a former deputy chief of staff for Quinn, and Weems worked in the governor’s budget office.

Quinn’s office released a copy of the subpoena Friday.

The governor’s office also issued a statement saying that Quinn has directed all state agencies to cooperate with law enforcement inquiries to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

“We have taken the program’s mismanagement and oversight shortcomings extremely seriously,” the statement said. “We have zero tolerance for mismanagement, fraud or abuse.”

Quinn has said he launched the $54 million program to target violence in high-crime areas, but opponents have charged the money was used as a political slush fund to help get out the vote before a tight election.

The Illinois state auditor slammed the program in February, saying that spending was not adequately monitored.

In March, the Sun-Times reported that more than $2 million of the money went to an anti-crime project run by the husband of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Dorothy Brown — Benton Cook III. Cook, a felon, took in $146,000 in salary and benefits from the project and has himself been hit with a federal subpoena, the Sun-Times has reported.

Quinn’s challenger in the governor’s race, Republican Bruce Rauner, has fanned the flames, calling for Quinn to testify before the state Legislative Audit Commission investigating the matter.

“This news is extremely disappointing and deeply disturbing,” Rauner’s spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Friday. “The people of Illinois have seen too many governors fall under federal investigations, and this development looks all too familiar.”

Shaw, Weems and Irving — along with four others — were already subpoenaed last month by the Legislative Audit Commission.

In addition to the federal grand jury, Cook County State’s attorney Anita Alvarez has convened a county grand jury, requesting and receiving more than 1,000 pages of documents pertaining to the program.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.