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GAMING   THE SYSTEM?

Chicago Teachers Unipresident Karen Lewis during Board Educatimeeting Wednesday August 22 2012. | John H. White~Sun-Times

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis during Board of Education meeting Wednesday, August 22, 2012. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 22, 2012 6:32AM



Perk place? Sneed is told Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is urging all Cook County agencies to conduct an audit for illegal tax exemption use by their employees.

He also dispatched a letter Thursday urging Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to check her office for property tax exemption fraud.

◆ Top tip: Berrios, who has been conducting his own office audit after a tip some of his employees may be gaming the system, has also offered his audit services to all Cook County agencies. (In the meantime, Sneed hears Cook County Clerk David Orr also plans to conduct a tax exemption audit.)

◆ Quoth Berrios: “Cook County employees serve the public and I believe these breaches of public trust should not be tolerated,” the letter to Preckwinkle stated.

“I have offered my employees a two week amnesty, allowing them to come forward and repay the money without penalties,” Berrios said.

The hammer: The deadline is Friday.

Stay tuned.

The Vaughn trial . . .

A sip of victory: Sneed is told the family of Kimberly Vaughn, whose husband, Christopher,
was found guilty of murdering
her and their three children, headed to a Joliet bar after the jury verdict for a sweet and sour celebration.

◆The reason: To salute the verdict with Kimberly’s favorite drink: a lemon drop martini.

Up at bat!

Sneed is told Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, 59, a former teacher, has homework to do.

◆ Translation: Lewis, who was raised Lutheran and converted to Judaism 20 years ago, plans to become a “Bat Mitzvah”— becoming an adult in the Jewish faith — in
June.

The Winnetka scandal . . .

Totes Inappropes?

◆ Teen translation: Totally inappropriate.

Will New Trier High School honchos decide to ban the use of cellphones on the school campus in light of the student sexting scandal being probed by the Winnetka Police Department?

Funder blunder . . .

What price bubbles? The champagne tower stacked with 350 bottles of $300 a bottle bubbly
at the Obama fund-raiser in Manhattan hosted by Beyonce and Jay-Z at his nightclub cost $105,000.

The Edwards file . . .

Cate Edwards, the loyal daughter of disgraced former Dem presidential hopeful John Edwards — who was willing to lie to the country about his secret mistress and love child in order to become president — had this to say recently to a group of college kids at Winthrop University in South Carolina:

“…The responsibility of making honest promises to people you’re speaking to should be nothing less than the bedrock of our political process and elections.”

$$$$$ . . .

Chair scare: Will the infamous Clint Eastwood chair used as a prop for an invisible Obama at the Republican National Convention show up on an Internet auction site.

◆Quoth RNC spokesman Sean Spicer: “It was probably put back right where it came from backstage.”

Let’s place a bet.

Horse sense . . .

Rocker Bruce Springsteen’s daughter Jessica, an internationally renowned equestrian, has purchased the Olympic gold medal-winning horse “Vindicat W” from the UK’s show jumping team.

◆Back story: She was an alternate for the US team in the London Olympics.

Wow!

A very happy birthday to two newly minted centenarians, Augie Barberi and Josephine Parrilli — and happiest of birthdays to Freddie Williams, who turns 107 on Saturday.

Sneedlings . . .

The Jesse White Tumblers took home $5,000 after winning a Chicago talent contest on NBC’s Steve Harvey daytime talk show Tuesday. The team of 17 boys took home the top prize — with the money going toward the team’s scholarship fund...Friday’s birthdays: Bill Kurtis, 72; Bill Murray, 62; and Ricki Lake, 44...Saturday’s birthdays: Joan Jett, 53; Debby Boone, 55; Andrea Bocelli, 53, and Bonnie Hunt, 50.

Oh oh Oprah . . .

Kiss & Tell: Oprah Winfrey, whose private love life is silent, is telling TV land how she’s been smooching actor Forest Whitaker in her role as his wife on the upcoming film “The Butler.” “I felt pretty good about it, let me just say. Forest is a good kisser, how about that?”



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