THE WATCHDOGS: 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, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Juan Rangel’s resignation from his $250,000-a-year job as head of the scandal-scarred United Neighborhood Organization capped a classic Chicago tale of clout won and lost. As a boy, Rangel, the son of undocumented immigrants, lived in an attic apartment in Little Village. He went on to become an ally of, and then as a liability to, some of the state’s most powerful politicians.
THE WATCHDOGS: A University of Illinois at Chicago auto-mechanic foreman who lied about an attempted-murder conviction on job applications but got his job back under a court order has been awarded $636,443 for the six years he was off the job.
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THE WATCHDOGS: A wealthy North Shore family with deep ties to Mayor Rahm Emanuel stands to make a fortune over former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s failed Olympic dream. It’s a financial nightmare, though, for Chicago taxpayers, who now owe the Mills family more than $111 million for a 37-acre site along Lake Michigan that was home to Michael Reese Hospital at 29th and Ellis before the city bought it as part of Daley’s plan to lure the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.
Two months ago, the Illinois Medical District Commission picked Jack Higgins, a developer with close ties to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, to develop a $175 million project on the West Side. On Friday, Higgins abruptly walked away from the deal over questions about his personal finances — including $2.5 million he and his wife owe the Internal Revenue Service.
THE WATCHDOGS: Illinois law bars sentencing violent felons to boot camp, but the Chicago Sun-Times found that Cook County judges have handed down hundreds of improper boot-camp sentences to violent felons since 2006.
THE WATCHDOGS: The acting director of the state’s child-welfare system says she has begun assembling experts to examine the rising number of abuse and neglect deaths among children who have had involvement with the agency, in response to a Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ investigation.
Investigators first suspected something was wrong inside 3-month-old Jillian Kalous’ home in 2012 when she was admitted to Sherman Hospital in Elgin with multiple broken bones. The DCFS investigated, determining that the infant and her brother both were at “substantial risk of abuse.”
When Mayor Richard M. Daley agreed to pay $91 million for the Michael Reese Hospital property, he required the sellers to make $32.5 million in “charitable contributions.” The charity turned out to be City Hall.
THE WATCHDOGS: Lawmakers need to address the rising number of children who are dying from abuse and neglect in Illinois and also what more can be done to prevent deaths of children who have come onto the radar of state child-welfare workers, a key legislator said Friday in response to a Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ investigation.
This summer, the Metra patronage scandal erupted after an allegation that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan tried getting the rail agency to give a raise to a campaign worker who held a state job. Tempers once again flared after the Sun-Times revealed that the raise request — which Madigan said he later withdrew — came even as that worker, Patrick Ward, was already drawing a pubic pension roughly equal to his $57,000 annual salary. A new bill in Springfield, however, would ban such practices. The new legislation dubbed: “Retirement Means Retirement Act” proposed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, takes
A state appellate court panel has reinstated an ACLU lawsuit that aims to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration to assign more police officers to black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago.
THE WATCHDOGS: The Chicago Police Department closed more than 189,000 cases between January 2008 and March 2013 without anyone being charged even though the police said they knew who committed the crimes, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
A Cook County judge said Friday he’ll rule next week whether to unseal a special prosecutor's report in the David Koschman case. Read the entire story http://projects.suntimes.com/koschman/latest-news/judge-to-rule-wednesday-on-unsealing-report/
THE WATCHDOGS: State Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) and his brother John Rita Jr., a retired Cook County employee who’s now Blue Island’s public safety director, could one day each receive three separate taxpayer-funded pensions, a total of six between them.
A WATCHDOGS FOLLOW-UP: A contractor who hid the ownership stake former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s son and nephew had in a sewer company that got millions of dollars worth of city business was sentenced Wednesday to 17 months in prison.
THE WATCHDOGS: A Cook County judge dismissed 40 misdemeanor weapons charges Wednesday against Chicago steel-company heir James B. Finkl because lawyers for the city of Chicago didn’t pursue the case until the statute of limitations had long expired.
THE WATCHDOGS: Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is seeking a 60-day suspension for a sergeant whose gun was used in the shooting of a Northwest Side woman four years ago — a death that was ruled a suicide. Sgt. Steven E. Lesner has been suspended indefinitely without pay by McCarthy in connection with Catherine Weiland’s death pending a decision by the Chicago Police Board on his recommendation, which cites the officer for transporting liquor in a police car, bringing discredit on the department and “inattention to duty.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel sidestepped questions Monday about the future of a key political ally who runs the scandal-scarred United Neighborhood Organization’s charter-school network.
THE WATCHDOGS: When a Metra employee named Patrick Ward complained to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan last year that he wasn’t being paid enough, his gripe got him a higher-paying job. And it ultimately led Alex Clifford to leave the transit agency’s top post with a hefty severance deal and a host of explosive complaints about patronage. One reason Ward had Madigan’s ear: He’d done political grunt work the powerful Southwest Side Democrat needed.