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Two dozen arrests not a problem for Illinois prison official

Xadrian McCraven

Xadrian McCraven

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Updated: January 10, 2014 6:02AM

Xadrian R. McCraven has a criminal history that includes “at least” 24 arrests on charges including arson, illegal gun possession, attempted robbery, drug possession and aggravated assault, according to federal court records.

He’s also an Illinois state prison official.

On the job since July 1, he makes $110,000 a year as an administrator with the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

McCraven, 44, who lives in Chicago, pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in 1989 and was found guilty of reckless conduct in 1998 in connection with a domestic-battery arrest, records show.

He was fired last year from another state job, with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but reached a settlement with the child-welfare agency earlier this year that rescinded his firing, awarded him back pay and called for him to be transferred from DCFS to an administrative job with the state prison system.

He’s now a senior policy adviser to the agency’s chief of parole, doing audits “of the implementation of policy, facilities use and management and job performance,” Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says.

“Mr. McCraven’s hiring was carefully considered, as are all IDOC hires,” says Shaer. “He has performed his job here well.”

Reached at work, McCraven declined to comment.

Before working in state government, the 1992 graduate of Northeastern Illinois University wanted to be a police officer. He applied to become a Chicago cop in 1993 but was rejected because of his criminal history, records show.

McCraven sued the city in federal court, claiming racial discrimination. He argued that the Chicago Police Department shouldn’t have counted the arrests against him because they’d been expunged.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys threw out McCraven’s lawsuit, saying there wasn’t any proof the police department’s background check was improper or that the department discriminated against McCraven because he’s black.

In his August 2000 ruling, Keys wrote that the police department background investigation found McCraven was known “to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members.”

In 1987, McCraven was convicted of disorderly conduct, and he pleaded guilty in 1989 to illegal possession of a handgun, according to Keys.

In 1994, McCraven began working as an officer for the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department. Then, in 1998, he was charged with domestic battery, accused of assaulting his former fiancee, and was found guilty of reckless conduct, the judge wrote.

McCraven was fired by the CHA in August 1999 for “violating department general orders forbidding unjustified physical attacks on or off duty” and bringing discredit on the department, Keys wrote. McCraven had argued his “discharge was reversed” and that he was to be reinstated by the department, which disbanded in October 1999.

In 2000, McCraven went to work for DCFS as a child-protection worker.

In 2003, his name appeared in a once-secret database of thousands of politically connected candidates for jobs, transfers or promotions that was kept by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, records show.

McCraven has made $1,000 in campaign contributions in the past three years to elected officials including state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago), state Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Cook County Commissioner Edwin Reyes (D-Chicago) and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.).

McCraven left DCFS in 2003 for a job as executive assistant to the director of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, according to his resume.

Fernando E. Grillo, that agency’s director at the time, was listed as McCraven’s political sponsor for an IDPR job, according to the Blagojevich database, which misspelled McCraven’s last name as “McGraven.”

Grillo says he doesn’t remember sponsoring McCraven for a job but says he’d met McCraven years before through his involvement in community groups, including a church group in Humboldt Park.

“I knew Xadrian,” Grillo says. “He came in and out of my life in different decades. He never had any negative issues at all when he was working with me.”

McCraven left state government in 2004 and started a development company, records show. In June 2007, DCFS rehired him as a public service administrator.

He made about $103,000 at DCFS in 2011, the last full year he worked for the agency.

In March 2012, he was fired after DCFS officials investigated allegations of unspecified “misconduct” against him, according to a wrongful-termination lawsuit McCraven filed. He dropped the suit in April, two months before DCFS agreed to reverse his firing.

On June 17, McCraven agreed to accept a 10-day suspension, and he got six months of back pay and the transfer to the Department of Corrections.

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