2 mayors, township supervisor back school board chief’s pardon
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org April 28, 2013 4:42PM
Janet Rogers, formerly known as Janet Thomas, when she was booked into the Stephenson County Jail May 24, 2004.
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:26PM
Two mayors and a township supervisor were among the public officials who wrote letters in support of a pardon that Gov. Pat Quinn recently granted to a south suburban school board president to expunge her felony record.
Janet Rogers, president of Harvey Public School District 152, was convicted of felony theft and state benefits fraud in 2004. She falsified her income to get a better financial aid package for her son’s college education, prosecutors said.
In January, Attorney General Lisa Madigan — whose office prosecuted Rogers in 2004 — filed a lawsuit to remove Rogers from the board because of her felony conviction. But Quinn pardoned her last month, which could help her keep her board seat.
Last week, a Madigan spokeswoman told the Chicago Sun-Times that she wasn’t aware of the pardon. A Quinn spokeswoman said the governor relies only on the facts in the clemency petition, which doesn’t mention the attorney general’s lawsuit against Rogers.
In an interview last week, Rogers insisted clout played no role in her pardon.
On Friday, the newspaper obtained Rogers’ clemency petition through a Freedom of Information request.
The records show that Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli, Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg, Dixmoor Mayor Keevan Grimmett and Harvey Public School District 152 Superintendent Lela Bridges were among the public officials who wrote letters to Quinn in support of a pardon for Rogers.
In his letter, Zuccarelli said he’s known Rogers for more than 20 years and considers her a “dedicated civic leader and a voice for the underprivileged.”
“When it wasn’t very popular, Janet helped to fight for a Food Assistant Center for our Thornton Township community,” he said. “She realizes that too many seniors and families sacrifice many basic needs or go to bed hungry.”
Kellogg’s letter described her skills as a teacher: “She infuses her students with tremendous motivation and educational information. She aids without reprimand, corrects without disparagement, and teaches by example and experience.”