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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 1, 2012 6:39AM


Sneed has learned Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will demand an audit of the “disastrous” mega-million dollar Cook County Disaster Grant Funds program.

Preckwinkle wants to scrub the program, which was awarded $10.3 million to help Cook County residents repair basements and homes damaged by the 2008 flood. “All of the grant money is gone, and many questions have been raised about what work was actually done,” said a Preckwinkle source.

“There is no paperwork on how subcontractors who took the money were hired,” the source said.

Preckwinkle, who wants a full accounting of the management of the grants — which were doled out under her predecessor, Todd Stroger — plans to turn the complete audit over to Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard, whose authority she is also seeking to expand.

Scoopsville II...

Watch for Preckwinkle to push the Cook County board Tuesday for a procurement ordinance giving Blanchard, the county’s watchdog, stronger teeth and a bigger bite when dealing with those seeking to do business with the county.

◆ The bite: It would require anyone who is seeking a government contract to disclose any knowledge of political wrongdoing.

The Blago Beat...

It was reportedly a sad but touching sight.

◆ To wit: While her husband, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich waits for a jail job upgrade at a federal prison near Littleton, Colo., wife Patti was spotted recently “looking lovely, but lonely and a bit wistful like a walk down memory lane” at a venue location close to her hubby’s heart: a charity ball at A. Finkl & Sons.

◆ Explanation: It was where Blago’s late father worked, where Blago hosted his gubernatorial victory party in 2002, and from whence he announced his candidacy.

Mallett’s Mallette...

A memo to Fathers Daniel Mallette and William O’Donnell, who are playing tug of war at St. Margaret of Scotland’s Catholic church and making the rest of us Catholics look like idiots: Give us all a break. Your dispute might be good reading — but it is making Looney Tunes look like a Dostoyevsky novel.

◆A Sneed reader advises: Check out the film “Going my Way” starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald “for a similar plot line and dramatic arc” about two combative priests. (“Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral”!)

Health update...

Whew! Insurance powerhouse Pat Ryan, who was transported via fire department ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Thursday, was just having an adverse reaction to a change in medication, according to a Ryan source. He is home and doing fine.

Tips & Twaddle...

◆ Pray ’em: The Rev. Rick Warren, the controversial pastor who delivered the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, was briefly hospitalized this week for mysterious neck numbness in California. He is home, but the diagnosis is still unknown.

◆ Sell ’em: The Aspen mansion where former Dem presidential hopeful John Edwards’ mega mouth mistress Rielle Hunter hid out during their not-so-secret affair was just put on the market by former mega Dem donor Fred Baron’s widow for $19 million-plus.

I Spy...

Batter up! Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was spotted dining at the bar at Chicago Cut on Wednesday, fixated on the White Sox game... and on Thursday, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of “Morning Joe” were spotted lunching at RL.


A major welcome mat to my new right hand, Diana Novak, who just had a double-whammy: she just got engaged to Blake Jones, a Loyola University of Chicago medical student. What a combo — Sneed and Novak Jones! ... Divot data: The boffo décor for the Ryder Cup gala last week at the Rosewood Restaurant in Rosemont, owned by Jimmy Mandas, was described by gaping golfers as “out of an Oprah set”... Actress Bonnie Hunt was honored for her support of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute at their Minds Matter Benefit Dinner on Friday night.

Happy days

Saturday’s birthdays: Bryant Gumbel, 64; Jerry Lee Lewis, 77 and Jack
, ageless...Sunday’s birthdays: Fran Drescher, 55; Marilyn McCoo, 69, and Debbie Silverman Krolik, ageless.

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