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Executive sweep- The Stroger file . . .

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Michael Sneed


A whiff of Watergate- Sneed hears Cook County investigators hauled boxes of hard drives and photo electronic devices out of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's executive office at 118 N. Clark St., after business hours Thursday evening.

*Sweep 'em: Sneed is told they were concerned computer files/equipment may have been removed after a private company reportedly swept Stroger's offices for eavesdropping devices Wednesday night. Stay tuned.

The Peterson file . . .

A family affair: Sneed hears accused wife murderer Drew Peterson's estranged eldest son, Eric, is back in the family fold.

*Translation: Eric, whose mother was Peterson's first wife, Carol, is still alienated from his father -- but Sneed is told Peterson has been visiting his younger brother, Stephen, and his four younger siblings, while his father, who is incarcerated at the Will County jail, awaits trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio, his third wife.

*Back story: "For the past few weeks, Eric, who actually testified against his dad at a hearsay hearing in January, has been visiting the family home in Bolingbrook to get to know the kids and help look after them," said a source.

*Backshot: Stephen, Peterson's second child, has been taking care of the younger children: Thomas, a high school senior; Kristopher, a high school junior; Anthony, a second-grader; and Lacy Ann, who just started kindergarten. The mother of the two youngest children is Stacy Peterson, whose disappearance nearly three years ago has made their father a prime suspect.

Celluloid chat . . .

Fan alert! The movie "Contagion," starring a slew of A-listers including actors Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, shot scenes at the Palmer House Hilton Wednesday.

Rahm 'em . . .

Leaving no Dem donor wallet unopened, mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel is tapping out-of-staters big time.

*$$$$: Rahm's already hit a Cleveland fund-raiser.

*$$$$: Rahm's heading to Hollywood Nov. 4 to collect envelopes at the palatial home of entertainment producer Haim Saban, who has given the world "Power Rangers." Invitees include: Rahm's brother, Ari, who inspired HBO's "Entourage" character played by actor Jeremy Piven, and media moguls David Geffen, Bob Iger and Peter Chernin, amongst the Dems' biggest donors.

*The buckshot: The big bucks boys in Chicago are staying put until everyone has officially entered the mayoral fray.

I spy . . .

Actor Elliott "M*A*S*H" Gould, who loves his victuals, dined at RL Tuesday after hitting town to film "Contagion." . . . Basketball legend Larry ''The Hick from French Lick'' Bird chomping a BLT at Gibsons Thursday for lunch . . . Actress Kate Walsh spotted brunching at Billy Dec's Sunda last weekend.

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats to Ashley and John Hayes on the birth of their first child, Rollins. Grandparents David and Karen Gilbert are gaga . . . Today's birthdays: Bob Fix, 86; Deepak Chopra, 64; Brian Boitano, 47; Zac Hanson, 25; Catherine Deneuve, 67; Annette Funicello, 68; Christopher Lloyd, 72; Tony Roberts, 71; Jeff Goldblum, 58, and Pam Zekman, priceless . . . Saturday's birthdays: Sanjay Gupta, 41; "Weird Al" Yankovic, 51; Martin Luther King III, 53; Dwight Yoakam, 54, and Pele, 70.

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