Thursday, November 21, 2013

Michael Madigan Is the King of Illinois

The Democrat has ruled the statehouse for decades. At age 71, he’s as powerful as ever. But his latest moves make you wonder: What does Madigan really want?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Former US Attorneys in Chicago purport to undertake "independent investigations" to garner legal fees

Appearances are everything!

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of independent is "free from outside control; not depending on another's authority".

The definition of bribery is "The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.The expectation of a particular voluntary action in return is what makes the difference between a bribe and a private demonstration of goodwill. To offer or provide payment in order to persuade someone with a responsibility to betray that responsibility is known as seeking undue influence over that person's actions. When someone with power seeks payment in exchange for certain actions, that person is said to be peddling influence.

Regardless of who initiates the deal, either party to an act of bribery can be found guilty of the crime independently of the other.

The judicial system requires impartiality; neither party to a complaint are allowed to pay the Judge to influence a decision.


So, what is the logic in Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority compensating former US Attorneys now in private practice to engage in "independent" internal investigations? 


This would equate to King George III paying the revolutionaries to craft the Declaration of Independence!


According to Ordinance No. MPEA 04-02 (pursuant to Illinois Legislative mandate in 2004) requires the MPEA board chair to appoint an Ethics Enforcer. 


We are awaiting the results of FOIAs to obtain the identity of these Ethics Enforcers since 2004 to determine if the MPEA General Counsel complied with the legislative mandate.


You read that correctly; MPEA hires an outside law firm at $400 plus per hour to perform duties that are contained within the job description of the General Counsel as Ethics Officer! This is truly a circle jerk.


The outside law firm doesn't just assign one attorney to the task, so the effective hourly rate is substantially higher.


Any findings of improprieties or ethics violations on the part of MPEA employees or board members is reported directly back to the agency that committed these acts, cloaked in privilege and deliberately withheld from the purview of the public. 


There is no independent Inspector General that has jurisdiction over MPEA since MPEA is an authority 50% owned by both the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. 

To boot, MPEA has spent almost $10 Million in outside legal fees since 2008 and has a reported deficit of $999 Million according to the audited annual report.


Patrick Collins at Perkins Coie billed $80,000 for an independent report in 2009 that was not independent.

He had an opportunity to remove corrupt employees and instead engaged in a cover up.

In response to a Whistleblower Complaint filed in 2013 against MPEA for fraud, waste of taxpayer funds and breach of the public trust, Valarie Hays at Schiff Hardin, Collins' former associate at the US Attorney's Office, has just been engaged to undertake an ethics investigation at MPEA that will also cost taxpayers substantial funds. We eagerly await the outcome of this investigation and her findings.

This would be a wonderful opportunity for newly confirmed US Attorney Zach Fardon to join in the investigation of the abuse of taxpayer monies for personal gain. 


Mayor Emanuel filed suit to unravel the Millenium Park contract saying that the taxpayers were "taken advantage of". Mr. Mayor, we call upon you to personally look into the blatant drunken sailor spending spree at MPEA on wired deals to connected patronage employees and board members' friends and family. The MPEA scandal makes the Millenium Park deal look like chump change!


Mayor Emanuel, here is a hint. You are losing 50% of $43 Million in revenue for the next 25 years (not including the 4-20 year renewal periods). Simple Arithmetic. That is 1/2 Billion dollars just for the first 25 years! Corruption Busters welcomes the opportunity to share the results of our investigation of MPEA where you are a direct stakeholder. 


Feel free to invite us to a meeting.


Phone 847-780-6045

corruptionbusters24x7x365@gmail.com





Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FOIA Just Received from City of Chicago Law Department re Staff & Salaries

In an update to our blog dated September 9, 2013, we have now obtained up to date information regarding the number of attorneys employed by the City of Chicago Law Dept.

The tally 249 full attorneys (assuming they all passed the bar) at a total salary of $21,884,688. Average salary per attorney is $87,890.31 for a calculated average hourly rate of $42.25.

So, simple arithmetic indicates that these qualified employees could produce a ratio 6.98:1 hours of work against an outside legal firm attorney billing at $295.

In fact, Mara Georges, previous General Counsel for City of Chicago had negotiated a reduced hourly rate at $250 that she reported to the budget committee of the Chicago City Counsel in November, 2009. Therefore, outside legal firms billing at amounts greater than $250 per hour to City of Chicago and sister agencies must be compelled to refund the excessive billings. This will certainly result in some uncalculated funds recovery for the Office of the Mayor!

Here is a link to the spreadsheet obtained via FOIA
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B86hsukGDw90MDNfR0Y5cDM1T28/edit?usp=sharing

So, again we ask, why are City agencies continuing to hire outside counsel under the mistake impression that they are "more qualified than most" to provide legal work. The spreadsheet displays an array of talents in areas covering torts, real estate, federal civil rights litigation, appeals, labor...all those juicy areas now being parceled out to politically connected firms...so called "pinstripe patronage".

Mayor Emanuel, let's stop insulting these highly qualified city workers who would certainly welcome the challenge to gain experience and depth in these practice areas...and be a welcome cost savings to taxpayers!

Perhaps a responsible person will explain why Shefsky was paid $62,751,113.69 by City of Chicago between 2012-2013?

Here is a link to City of Chicago Vendor Payment Details on the portal  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B86hsukGDw90aG12Y1kzWngzd00/edit?usp=sharing

We look forward to a response....

Friday, September 20, 2013

What value did the taxpayers get for $15,707,800 grant monies allocated to Partnership for a Connected Illinois for expanding broadband by DCEO?

In a FOIA just obtained by Corruption Busters from DCEO, it was disclosed that on behalf of Partnership for A Connected Illinois, Drew Clark & Charles Benton submitted an application to Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) requesting "Funding to create innovative projects that will deliver broadband to underserved and underserved areas to spur job creation and stimulate economic growth and bridge the gap of the broadband divide by delivering access to the citizens of Illinois"

The project dates are 10/1/2010-10/31/2012.

Here are the recipient companies and the allocation of the grant:



We previously published information related to the failure of MyWay Village (aka Connected Living) to create jobs. Their application to US Dept of Commerce NTIA BTOP promised "over 100 jobs". The actual number of jobs created was between 30-40 and it is now evident that those jobs were not sustainable. In addition, they promised to get "over 3000" seniors and disabled folks in public housing sustainable broadband adoption. The actual number is closer to 400, and that number is dubious at best.

Don Samuelson claims that he directly worked to obtain State of Illinois funds for this project. His son was employed by Connected Living during the grant period.

In a press release dated 9/13/2010 entitled "Governor Quinn Announces Illinois to Receive Nearly $100 million in New High-Tech Investment Four More Projects will Create Hundreds of Jobs Across State" it announces "MyWay Village, will use its $4.7 million federal award matched with $1.2 million in state capital funds leveraged with $890,000 in private investment to engage thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities in 23 public housing communities to learn the basics of e-mail, Web access and other practical computer skills. MyWay
Village has partnered with local Workforce Investment Act organizations to help seniors who develop their digital literacy skills to find part time work." further "A longtime advocate of broadband-based opportunities in Illinois, Governor Quinn made sure funding for technology projects was included in the Illinois Jobs Now! public works plan."

It is apparent that these monies were provided without proper due diligence and DCEO failed to ensure oversight of these projects during the grant period.

We call upon DCEO to provide a detailed accounting to taxpayers on the use of these funds and the results of these projects to "spur job creation" and "expand broadband" to the citizens of Illinois.

It is also incumbent upon Mr. Clark & Mr. Benton, who facilitated the application and allocated funding, to be held accountable for the use of these taxpayer funds. All funds that were improperly abused and resulted in personal gain should be returned to the taxpayers. 

We call upon the Illinois Attorney General's office to investigate allegations of fraud and waste of taxpayer funds by the recipient agencies.

Monday, September 9, 2013

With 270 attorneys on staff at the City of Chicago Law Department why spend money 
on outside legal counsel?

There are approximately a total of 450 public employees in this department earning $32 Million in payroll (not including pension & healthcare benefits) yet work is still being awarded on a sole source wired basis to connected law firms. 

Estimates of outside legal fees to 24 of these select firms totals well over $100 Million.

For example, Shefsky & Froelich billed over $11 Million from 2006 to June, 2012. In 2012 alone, Shefsky submitted 9313 separate invoices for only 6 months work! Multiple attorneys are assigned to tasks at $250 to $295 per hour; in-house attorney's payroll would result in zero additional cost since it is simply a matter of assigning these cases during the daily workload. A staff attorney earning $75,000 would have a billable hourly rate of $36.05. A senior attorney earning $110,000 has a billable hourly rate of $52.88. Simple second grade arithmetic indicates a ratio of 4.72 hours production using in-house staff vs. 1 hour of outside counsel. 

270 attorneys attended law school and have garnered some experience in practice. Research at these named outside firms is not provided by the the lead partners but certainly by clerical and junior attorneys.  We do not believe that in-house counsel is inept and cannot adequately handle the workload!

In 2011 Stephen Patton announced that he would streamline best practices in the Law Department and would bring the work in-house.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-05-17/business/ct-biz-0517-chicago-law-20110517_1_law-firms-corporation-counsel-kirkland-ellis

We call upon Patton to publish the details of outside work performed vs. in-house assignments since his tenure began and seek accountability and transparency to determine if he has kept his promise to maximize taxpayer dollars and reduce dependence on patronage law firms.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is the Illinois Teachers Retirement System Hiding?

The Illinois legislature is working on pension reform while investor monies are walking out the back door into the pockets of politically connected folks who wired deals to obtain pension funds!


Here is a wake up call to all teachers who contribute pension payments to the TRS Trust Me, Trust Me money managers.

There are over 1 Million active members and annuitants who have properly paid into the benefit fund from wages earned as educators in Illinois schools.


In accordance with negotiated contracts, these funds are automatically deducted from pay checks and paid by school districts into the TRS.


The TRS has personnel who handle investment decisions on behalf of the folks who contribute to this pension fund. In addition, there are board members who oversee policy and who have a fiduciary duty to protect the assets and investments of the members. 


Corruption Busters issued a number of FOIA requests to TRS to obtain the names of the entities where private investment managers under contract to TRS placed funds. Corruption Busters was provided information that indicated a pattern of investment with political cronies whose sole purpose was to secure management fees irrespective of the investment performance.


Our July 2, 2013 FOIA request states "In accordance with FOIA, please provide in electronic PDF file format documentation related to contracts between TRS and Hopewell Ventures (David Wilhelm) and Healthpoint Capital Partners (initiated by convicted felon, Joe Cari) for private investment management of TRS funds." (Please refer to previous posts on this blog for details related to these two placements.)


Corruption Busters issued an appeal to the Illinois Attorney General's Office who determined that further inquiry was appropriate. Shari L. West, AAG, sent a letter to TRS on July 19, 2013 to provide a written explanation of the applicable exemption cited in TRS's denial.


The response from TRS dated Aug. 8, 2013 to Ms. West explains that the investment contracts and terms related to termination and management fees were DENIED under Illinois FOIA section 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(g) as proprietary trade secrets and confidential commercial or financial information.


The denial further states that there would be "Harm to TRS Members and Beneficiaries. If the records in question are disclosed to FOIA requesters, the chilling effect on the TRS investment program will negatively impact TRS' ability to invest trust assets pursuant to the fiduciary duties imposed by Article 1 of the Illinois Pension Code, and the exclusive benefit rule of Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code."


In goes further stating "As fiduciaries, the TRS Board of Trustees must invest the trust assets solely in the interests of the the participants and beneficiaries"


According to Section 1-109(b) Duties of fiduciaries

"With the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character with like aims:"

We would like to thank Cynthia Fain, FOIA Officer of the Illinois TRS for disclosure of this information as it now begs the question, 


"Why would a prudent person place any pension monies with private investors who have consistently racked up millions of dollars of losses and taken management fees that have diminished the value of the investments?"



  • The TRS is not a blind trust. Why is it deliberately concealing the identities of the end point investments made by these managers? Certainly Dick Ingram, the board members of TRS, employees or any prudent person would not hand over their personal investment funds to a third party without knowing where the funds would be invested!
  • What nefarious person invests in companies that have not provided any returns to the fund for 10 years unless there is a pattern of placing these funds with friends and family for personal gain? Read our previous posts disclosing losses and management fees garnered by Hopewell and Healthpoint.
  • Why has TRS failed to oversee these investments to trend losses and then make a decision to terminate these managers for poor performance? Certainly a breach of fiduciary!
  • Who is responsible for managing the funds on behalf of the members?
  • Why have these employees not been fired for gross mismanagement?
We have been previously informed that TRS has no knowledge and can't control the investments made by the private managers because that duty is not explicitly stated in the investment agreement.

A CALL TO ACTION!

We encourage 1 Million active members and annuitants to immediately request full disclosure of all investments made to third parties and demand termination of investments that are losing assets. We also suggest that those responsible be called to account for their lack of oversight to the detriment of those who contribute to this pension fund.

Here is contact info for the TRS:


Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois

2815 West Washington Street
POB 19253
Springfield, IL  62794-9253

Richard Ingram, Executive Director

executive_director@trs.illinois.gov







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Call for Transparency and Accountability in hiring patronage workers and board members

All public jobs should be posted and qualified applicants can then respond with their interests, resumes and letters of recommendation. A process that enables fair, open and honest evaluation of candidates should facilitate selection of the best folks for the job. This will be a prudent use of taxpayer dollars. 

Full disclosure on employment applications and financial disclosure filings will enable the public to readily access information via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for any elected official, municipal employee or board member.

There should be a section that divulges recommendations made to influence the hiring process. This information should also include any volunteer work for a politician, as well as paid employment including campaigns, grassroots politics and lobbying. 

The public has a right to know if there was a fair evaluation process that is unbiased based upon qualifications for a particular position or if there is favoritism based upon political connections.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune today revealed that Lois Scott, CFO City of Chicago, recommended Amer Ahmad for his position as City Comptroller. While there are no direct allegations of wrongdoing on Scott's part, it is interesting to note that her eponymous consulting firm Scott Balice had business interests in Ohio.

Illinois has a population of 13 Million. Certainly, Lois and the Mayor could find qualified professionals with integrity to perform public service without wiring hiring to politically connected folks.

Take the lead from corporations that post job opportunities and solicit responses from qualified applicants.

It will also be a good first step in removing patronage hiring and rewarding marginally qualified workers from getting a free ride at taxpayer expense.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Question: In Chicago, what can you purchase for $165,000?
Answer: a City of  Chicago Comptroller who has a history of awarding sole source contracts to friends and family in Ohio!

Amer Ahmad indicted facing Federal fraud charges for conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering in Ohio

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/public/2013/08/15/former-state-official-indicted.html

Are we sure he is not truly one of our own here in Chicago?

Who recommended him for the job as Chicago's Comptroller?
Who checked his resume and public record, including news coverage?

Let this person step forward and take credit for another boneheaded political decision that resulted in fraud and waste of taxpayer dollars. Applause, Applause!

It is comforting to note that Chicago holds no exclusive on corruption.

Per the City of Chicago website

Amer Ahmad was named City of Chicago Comptroller by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 16, 2011. As Comptroller, he is responsible for the City's cash flow and debt management, processing vendor payments and payroll, maintaining official financial records, preparing financial reports, administration of employee and annuitant benefit programs, and risk management.

The connection to David Wilhelm cannot simply be a coincidence....

Here is a record from the Ohio Legislature 
http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/JournalText128/SJ-12-07-10.pdf

"STATE OF OHIO
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
COLUMBUS
I, Ted Strickland, Governor of the State of Ohio, do hereby appoint, Amer Ahmad, from Powell, Delaware County, Ohio, as a Member of the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission for a term beginning December 3, 2010 and ending at the close of business December 31, 2010, replacing David Wilhelmwho resigned.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Ohio to be affixed, at Columbus, this 3rd day of December in the year of our Lord, two thousand and ten."



Is there a personal tie to David Wilhelm who fled Illinois under the cloud of improprieties with pension funds placed with him as private investments?

This information was blogged  June 10, 2010

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/202815.php

Ohio Treasurer's Muslim CFO Amer Ahmad hands out no-bid contracts, state jobs to fellow Islamic extremists, attends terror tied Noor mosque

Several articles have appeared in the past week in the Ohio media concerning accusations against the Ohio Treasurer's CFO and deputy treasurer, Amer Ahmad, that he has handed out no-bid contracts and state jobs to Islamic extremist friends associated with the terror-tied Noor Islamic Cultural Center, where he and his family attend.
The story began with the Dayton Daily news, who reported:
Boston-based State Street Bank won work worth $1.27 million from Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce’s office this year after hiring a lobbyist with personal connections to Boyce’s deputy treasurer. State Street Bank was the low bidder on a subcontract to be the custodial bank for global assets at three of Ohio’s five public pension systems — a job that entails keeping track of more than $23.6 billion in assets.
No laws were broken and Boyce’s office makes a solid business case why State Street got the work. But just two days before proposals were due, the bank hired an immigration attorney with little experience in banking or lobbying to lobby for the contract.
In fact, Noure Alo’s only lobbying contract is with State Street, according to records filed with the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission.
Alo, who lives in Dublin outside Columbus, also appears to have ties to Amer Ahmad, Boyce’s deputy treasurer.

To say that they have ties is an understatement. Noure Alo was the registering attorney for Ahmad's consulting corporation, Five River Partners LLC. Both attend the Noor center mosque, and Alo is actively involved in Ahmad's service organization, Salam Corps.
As both the Dayton Daily News and Cleveland Plain Dealer have reported, State Street won the no-bid contract to manage $23.6 billion in state assets just days after hiring immigration attorney Alo as a lobbyist. State Street is Alo's only lobbying client registered with the state of Ohio. State Street is currently facing a lawsuit filed by the state of California for defrauding it of $56.6 million - a lawsuit that had already been filed before the state of Ohio awarded the no-bid contract to State Street (who just happened to hire Noure Alo two days before the RFI deadline).

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Sunday that Noure Alo's wife, Walaa Waeda, was hired by Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce as an assistant for a job that was never posted, only announced at Ahmad and Alo's mosque, and she the only candidate who applied and was interviewed:
Ahmad said his wife belongs to the same professional organization as Alo, and he met him through her. They also have been involved in the same community service activities and attend the same mosque. In 2008, Alo filed business organization papers with the secretary of state on behalf of Ahmad and his wife. The company, Five Rivers Partners LLC, is related to consulting services Ahmad’s wife performs, he said.
Boyce hired Alo’s wife in late December to fill a sudden opening in his office. Ahmad said the job, which pays $37,500 a year, was not posted. He announced the opening at his mosque and Alo’s wife, Waeda, responded. She was the only job candidate interviewed, Ahmad said.

Ohio state jobs openings only announced at a terror-tied mosque? Not quite sure how that is legal.

Ahmad should have been properly vetted by City of Chicago's human resources prior to being placed in a position where he controlled millions of taxpayer dollars. Who is responsible for not performing due diligence of Ahmad by simply seeking information readily available on the Internet from 2010?

Editorial: Making Politically Appointed Board Members accountable to Illinois taxpayers

It is time to achieve transparency in the selection process

Daily there are news stories published that focus on breach of the public trust, waste of taxpayer monies and failure to safeguard the public's assets. 

Investigations are launched, such as the announcement yesterday of Governor Quinn appointing a task force for Metra. 
http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=3&RecNum=11451

Putting yellow crime tape around the scene simply provides a historical reference of the events. This is tantamount to holding a coroner's inquest after the commission of a homicide. Forensic investigation of the  crime after the fact; not preventative actions to avoid the death in the first place.

Conjures up the image of Ducky Lucky warning that the sky is falling in.

FACTS & BACKGROUND:

There are 13 Million citizens in the State of Illinois.

The Governor of Illinois has an Office of Executive Appointments Illinois Board, Commission, Task Force & Council List comprising 361 entities
http://appointments.illinois.gov/appointmentsListing.cfm

Using simple arithmetic, with an average of 7 appointees per commission, this is a haven for patronage appointments numbering 2,527. This represents 0.00019 of the entire population. Why be selfish? Let's give others a chance to serve.

Why do these anointed few vie for these coveted positions, many at no compensation? It can only be for ultimate personal gain in stature or financial reward!

Here is a challenge to the established press and watchdogs in Chicago who profess to seek honest government: 

We urge you to create an open forum and public posting of these nominations for 60 days to allow the public to scrutinize the reputation, backgrounds and motivations of these civic minded individuals. This vetting process will insure open and fair consideration of folks who have a fiduciary duty to budget and spend millions of taxpayer dollars. 

This process will also put elected officials on notice to appoint people with integrity and proper qualifications to represent the citizens of Illinois and make them accountable for their decisions.

Current Method #1  Nominate yourself
http://appointments.illinois.gov/bcForm.cfm

This looks legitimate but Illinois citizens can spot a rigged deal at 100 paces. There is almost no chance that an average citizen will secure an appointment simply by applying.

"Nobody that Nobody sent" would disrupt the political recommendation process and rewards for loyalty to elected officials. Having common folk perform these altruistic acts
of proper government would be a lot less fun but would surely result in getting proper use of taxpayer funds for the public welfare.

Current Method #2  Become an insider

It is Illinois. We are cynical. Method #2 is the only route to getting appointed to these boards!

These appointments all carry a finite term. Here is a little known secret. When the term has expired, board members continue to serve until new appointments are made; they do not vacate their offices like elected officials. 

There are also no term limits for service on these boards. We recommend no more than 5 years total. Churn is good to provide fresh viewpoints and prevent these board members from obtaining personal gain or influence based upon these appointments.

The insidious fact is that these people also game the system by moving from one board to another. Keeping track is harder than playing Wackamole!

How many appointees live south of I-80? Are any appointees from Cairo, Decatur or Danville? Maybe a handful at best.

Taxpayer Options

Report Misconduct
How to file a complaint with the Special Inspector General regarding any suspected instances of fraud, waste, abuse, or misconduct involving a Board or Commission.
Visit http://inspectorgeneral.il.gov/complaint.htm
Office of Executive Inspector General
32 West Randolph Street
Suite 1900
Chicago, Illinois 60601
General Number: (312) 814-5600
Hotline Number: (866) 814-1113
TTY: (800) 524-8794
Fax: (312) 814-5479

Online Complaint Link  http://www2.illinois.gov/oeig/Pages/FileaComplaint.aspx

Make the Illinois Senate accountable for their approval of these appointees.

There is a system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of Illinois government. The Senate should convene an oversight committee that reviews the candidates 60 days prior to voting on the appointments. Public disclosure of affiliations to politicians should be part and parcel of the vetting process. The public has a right know about potential conflicts of interest during the approval process.

Currently, appointments are rammed through a session at 3PM when nobody is paying attention. This is not acceptable, especially since there is no process for background checking on any candidate. This "all in favor say aye" approach to government is not in the taxpayer's interest.

Senators, you have the ability to fix this problem and we strongly suggest that you do this post haste!

Corruption cannot breed where safeguards are in place. Public awareness and the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers the citizens of Illinois to foster honest government. Reporting misconduct should keep the Inspector General very busy. Whistleblower complaints will keep these board members on notice that taxpayers will no longer tolerate mismanagement of public funds via sole source contracts to friends and family.

We have seen the failure of Governor Quinn to reform government with the Illinois Reform Commission. After 100 days, none of the recommendations proposed by Patrick Collins were adopted.

Our expectations are very low that he will succeed in reforming Metra until the current practice of patronage appointments is
eliminated. 

Today is a good day to start the cleanup, Governor.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So the old joke goes... "How do you become a millionaire? Start out as a billionaire!"

Employing his proven OPM (Other People's Money) strategy, David Wilhelm and Hopewell Ventures continue their losing streak of pension fund monies while increasing their personal take via management fees.

In our FOIA of the CTA pension funds held by Wilhelm, we have been provided with information that the initial investment of $5,000,000 now has a value of $2,176,934.21 as of September, 2012. This includes a non-refundable personal piggy bank management fee of $1,899,965.71 to Wilhelm & Hopewell.



Is this how the CTA pension fund trustees watch the store?
Breach of trust? Failure to protect assets? We are not convinced
that nobody noticed the funds shrinking under Hopewell's custodial duty.
No problem, its not their money!
 
At this rate, there will be no money left from the initial investment. Who gained from this transaction? Wilhelm and Hopewell, certainly not the contributors to the fund. Nice work if you can get it!
How about a recall vote from the employees and retirees who are counting on these funds and expect proper management of their assets??

Sunday, August 4, 2013

David Wilhelm & Hopewell Ventures continue legacy of 
failed pension investments while increasing his take from management fees.

Wilhelm's reverse Midas touch continues as Corruption Busters digs into his mismanagement of pension funds entrusted to him.

A new FOIA has revealed facts that Wilhelm and Hopewell Ventures had secured $5 Million in private investment funds from the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago (simultaneous to an investment placed with his buddy Robert Vanecko at DV Urban. This time, Wilhelm has continued his streak of losses... -17.2 IRR while grabbing $1,939,113 in non-refundable management fees at the expense of the municipal workers and retirees!

Strangely, our FOIA response was authored by Mary Patricia Burns from the law firm Burke, Burns & Pinelli, Ed Burke's firm on behalf of MEABF. Certainly Mary would not entrust her personal investments to Wilhelm with this track record! If she had, we are certain the she would have terminated their management agreement at the first hint of losses, especially with their charging a management fee not dependent upon success.

Our FOIA request obtain a copy of the investment contract was denied as a "trade secret". This is complete nonsense. Wilhelm holds no proprietary formula for success; rather, he has a continued legacy of losing funds from inception. We have appealed the denial with the Illinois Attorney General's Office and will keep you posted if we secure this information.

UPDATE 8/15/2013: Further information provided by the fund after mediation of Corruption Busters' appeal by the Illinois Attorney General. We have now obtained the yearly analyses since 2004 that verifies continued losses of investment funds entrusted to Wilhelm since Day One. 
The current value of the fund is just of $2 Million - a direct loss of close to $3 Million. The only winner here is Wilhelm!!

Previous action by the MEABF Board Vanecko was forcibly removed from management of the fund's investment by court order. We wonder why Wilhelm's contract was not terminated as he continues to make money while losing precious investment dollars.

Our latest tally of Wilhelm's management fees now totals $9.6 Million on management $25.5 Million with diminished value of the initial investments every year since 2004!

We strongly urge the contributors to these funds to initiate lawsuits for recovery of these funds that were granted to Wilhelm based upon clout and sole source deals.

The questions are 

  • What are the names of the MEABF board members who gave Wilhelm this contract?
  • Who appointed them to the board?
  • What are their patronage affiliations?
  • Should they face personal liability for breach of trust and abuse of pension funds entrusted to their care?
We eagerly await response to these questions from the MEABF.




Friday, August 2, 2013

A public call for revising 
The Illinois Municipal Tort Immunity Statute 
745 ILCS 10/ 

On a daily basis, the press and government watchdog agencies like Better Government Association, Reboot Illinois and Corruption Busters reports corruption, abuse of taxpayer dollars and breach of the public trust by elected officials, employees and patronage appointees serving on boards that determine policy and contract massive sums of taxpayer monies.

The latest Metra scandal illustrates how a small board can approve hush money in order to prevent a whistleblower complaint. Insult is added to injury by the egregious use of taxpayer monies to compensate politically connected outside legal firms to defend these actions.

We call for a revisit of the Illinois Municipal Tort Immunity Statute that provides indemnification of these public officials from personal liability and accountability for their poor judgment and waste of taxpayer dollars. Specifically, the statute must be revised to exclude acts related to exceeding authority, fraud, unfair hiring practices that provide an advantage to political influence, awarding of sole source contracts that result in overpayments and cronyism and the inability of taxpayers to obtain information about these acts routinely shielded by the veil of legal privilege or trade secrets.

Currently, taxpayers have no recourse to recover funds improperly awarded to these insiders who are in this not for the benefit of the public, but for personal gain.

Breaching the public trust should eliminate these officials from using public funds for their legal defense; rather, they should personally foot these bills and understand the ramifications of defending against judgments that could affect their personal property. This will serve as a deterrent to future looting of public monies and inappropriate spending.

At the present time, the only hope for relief is if there are criminal charges lodged against these perpetrators. Illinois taxpayers demand protection of their monies and deserve the ability to curtail abuse of authority by people who swear to uphold the best interests of the public.

We call upon the Illinois legislature to amend the Municipal Tort Immunity Statute and enable taxpayers to file civil lawsuits for recovery of these funds.

To view a list of Illinois legislators go to http://www.ilga.gov/


Monday, July 29, 2013

BREAKING NEWS!
In a new investigation of David Wilhelm's Hopewell Ventures just received via FOIA five minutes ago, it appears that he obtained a $10 Million investment from the Illinois State Board of Investment similar to that received from the Illinois Teachers Retirement System.

Wilhelm hastily left Illinois and returned to Ohio when the Feds were investigating Blagojevich. Illinois invites him to stand in front of municipal workers who are expecting that their retirement funds are safe and explain how he looted these funds for personal gain.

There was an additional investment obtain from the University of Illinois Endowment Fund for $500,000 that paid Wilhelm $197,729.96 in management fees now showing an ending balance of $225,378.77!

Apparently, his acumen as an investor parallels his success at TRS; the current value of the $10 Million initial investment is now valued at $4,507,575! This net amount also reflects his non-refundable management fees of $3,954,599.15.

These three ventures alone netted him and his partners $7.6 Million in management fees for $20.5 Million placed in his fiduciary care!! The value of all three funds has diminished dramatically to the detriment of retirees.

Again, ISBI refuses to provide the investment contract executed with Wilhelm so we have appealed this denial to the Illinois Attorney General's Office for review.

Devon Bruce, Chairman of ISBI should investigate who wired the deal for Wilhelm to obtain these funds at inception and would be prudent to initiate a lawsuit against Wilhelm to recover the principal and all management fees obtained. ISBI was another pension fund targeted by Wilhelm, Joe Cari, Thomas R. Reedy and Robert Vanecko for the express purpose of garnering management fees for personal gain.

Corruption Busters recommends that board minutes be reviewed to determine what board members are responsible for making the decision to award Wilhelm funds and determine what political ties influenced the decision.

First up - Nepotism ain't dead yet!

All roads lead back to the Daleys and Madigans with intertwining relationships in Chicago. 

The legacy of the Roger J. Kileys and how it pays to be part of the Irish anointed clan getting fat off taxpayer monies is noteworthy.

In Chicago, inheritance of the family business is key to insuring a constant flow of taxpayer dollars by working the "friends and family" system. The Kileys are no different than hundreds of patronage workers who engage in a secret plot to loot the public coffers. Stories have been written by ace news reporters, the reading public may get indignant for fifteen minutes, but public disclosure has done little to curtail these activities or return monies to the people unjustly gained via sole source, over billed back room deals.

We suggest you study intro Accounting with particular emphasis on one-column bookkeeping as only assets are garnered without suffering any liabilities.

So, for all you novices out there looking obtain residual income and steady employment, here is a primer on how to amass personal funds in a manner more reliable than investing in stocks or bonds.

According to Wikipedia, here is the story of Grandpa Roger Kiley.

"Roger Joseph Kiley (October 23, 1900 – September 6, 1974) was a United States federal judge.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Kiley received an LL.B. from Notre Dame Law School in 1923. He was a College athletic coach from 1922 to 1932. Professional football player, Chicago Cardinals (no dates). He was in private practice in Chicago, Illinois from 1933 to 1940. He was a member of the Chicago Board of Alderman, Illinois from 1933 to 1940. He was a judge on the Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois in 1940. He was a judge on the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Chicago, Illinois from 1941 to 1961.
Kiley was a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Kiley was nominated by President John F. Kennedy on June 20, 1961, to a seat vacated by William Lynn Parkinson. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 27, 1961, and received his commission on June 30, 1961. He assumed senior status on January 1, 1974. Kiley served in that capacity until September 6, 1974, due to his death."

Remember, you need to keep focused on the winning formula: Notre Dame, Chicago politics, JFK, Irish heritage and a sponsor!

Next up, Roger J. Kiley, Jr., quite the chip off the old block.

According to John Kass' article dated June 1, 1995
"Mayor Richard Daley is scheduled to announce on Thursday that former Cook County Judge Roger J. Kiley Jr. will succeed Gery Chico as his chief of staff, according to City Hall aides. The announcement follows weeks of reports about internal squabbling among senior City Hall staff over the post. Kiley, an ex-Marine, will sell his Oak Park home and move to Chicago after he assumes the job, sources said...Kiley is a member of a longtime political family and has been a friend of the mayor for more than 25 years. He is a senior partner at Mayer, Brown & Platt.
Kiley's understanding of politics is considered especially important at this time, with Daley taking on the responsibility of running the school system and losing trusted aide Timothy Degnan, who is retiring as intergovernmental affairs director.
Kiley, 58, has worked at Mayer, Brown & Platt since 1989. He has also worked as an outside general counsel to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and during the 1970s, was a law partner of Illinois House Democratic Leader Michael Madigan of Chicago. He was a judge for 13 years, resigning from the Chancery Division in 1989.

Fast forward to a 2005 Sun Times article by Steve Warmbir & Tim Novak re George Ryan. 

"ROGER KILEY (Jr)
Mayor Daley's former chief of staff is now a partner at the law firm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, the exclusive lobbyist for McCormick Place and Navy Pier.
While Fawell was running McCormick Place, he asked Kiley to hire Ron Swanson as a lobbyist, fulfilling a request from Ryan, prosecutors say. Swanson allegedly did little or no work under the deal that cost taxpayers $5,000 a month."

Here is the sole source contract and renewal gifted to Kiley by Renee C. Benjamin, General Counsel, MPEA that cost taxpayers $230,000. As a quasi State-City agency receiving direct funds from the Illinois Legislature annually to offset the operating deficits incurred by the management run by political hacks, why would MPEA need a lobbyist with an annual deficits of $287.8 Million for July, 2005-June, 2006? The answer is simply because they could pay outside legal fees without detection or taxpayer accountability!





We will come back to the MPEA connection below.


Next up, 3rd generation Roger J. Kiley, III, 31 years old at that time.




Kiley was honored by Loyola in 2010. Here is an excerpt from their writeup "Roger J. Kiley, Jr. earned his J.D. at Loyola’s School of Law in 1966, after earning his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame in 1958.  Judge Kiley is currently practicing law as a sole practitioner following his 2009 retirement from Mayer Brown, LLC where he was a partner for 18 years."

Kiley Jr left Mayer Brown and moved into Shefsky's offices at 111 E. Wacker Suite 2800, Chicago. This is no coincidence. He was insuring the family legacy for the next generation.

In a June 28, 2010 press release, Mayor Daley appointed Kiley Jr as an interim board member at MPEA to replace the board removed by the legislature for mismanagement of the Authority and signed into law by Governor Quinn in January, 2010.

Corruption Busters' ongoing investigation of fraud and mismanagement at MPEA reveals that simultaneous with this timeframe, Renee Benjamin hands Shefsky a sole source, no cap billing contract for a litigation matter resulting in over $300,000 of billings at $295 per hour with most of those hours billed, coincidentally by Roger Kiley III. So the family business continues to thrive. Daddy sure was watching the store!

On the surface, the negotiated rate for outside legal fees would appear to be reasonable. But, here is the rub. Legal services are never provided using just one lawyer. In most cases, the effective billing rate per hour is three times $295 or $885. MPEA employed a full time General Counsel at $195,000 per annum, an assistance general counsel at about $145,000 and a Senior Attorney at $110,000 plus other legal staff. The math is simple; Renee Benjamin's effective hourly rate is $93.75 and the senior attorney's rate is $52.88. Both went to law school and should be capable of litigating a contract dispute! This is certainly a breach of taxpayer trust and waste of funds for personal gain.

Looks like Board Member Kiley has the fiscal opportunity to sign off on his kid's invoices to MPEA! Where are the internal audit controls to safeguard taxpayer assets? Jim Reilly, MPEA CEO (formerly Trustee) should be watching the store more closely but he was appointed Trustee via the Illinois Legislature (read this Madigan) tossing out the previous board!

Corruption Busters has completed a forensic audit of the Shefsky invoices and has determined a pattern of milking the billings for personal gain. Failure to provide a cap on reasonable services by the General Counsel, Renee Benjamin resulted in gross over-payment of unnecessary professional services that should have been provided by her and her in-house counsel.

MPEA is now bankrupt with a 2012 fiscal deficit of $999 Million. Perhaps it is time to have a court appointed trustee oversee the daily operations?

We call for an investigation by the Illinois Attorney General, Governor of Illinois and Mayor of Chicago to audit these billings for gross overcharges with the intent of recovering taxpayer dollars.

There are 13 million citizens in Illinois who would also like to get in on the action. It certain pays in spades to be a member of the Kiley  clan!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Must be the Luck of the Irish to continuously feed at the taxpayer trough!

One of the stories that is told about getting started in politics is that on the way home from law school one night in 1948, I stopped by the ward headquarters in the ward where I lived. There was a street-front, and the name Timothy O'Sullivan, Ward Committeeman, was painted on the front window. I walked in and I said "I'd like to volunteer to work for Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas." This quintessential Chicago ward committeeman took the cigar out of his mouth and glared at me and said, "Who sent you?" I said, "Nobody sent me." He put the cigar back in his mouth and he said, "We don't want nobody that nobody sent." This was the beginning of my political career in Chicago.

Our ongoing investigation into Chicago patronage profiles folks whose family names are not as well known as Madigan, Daley or other members of the clan but who continue the legacy of corruption and personal gain at taxpayer expense via sole source contracts awarded simply because of who they know and who wired their getting political jobs.

The good old boy network is still alive and well in Chicago.
The last thing these people want is public exposure. Better put on your seat belt; this ride is going to be very rocky!

More to come....stay tuned!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bill Daley calls for more board appointments from the Governor in the Metra fiasco.

  • Why doesn't he review previous appointments that resulted in a breach of the public trust? 
  • Should these individuals be debarred from serving the public further? 
  • Why do these people covet unpaid board appointments and are tenacious in obtaining other board positions even after being removed?
  • Illinois has 13 Million citizens. Why continue to retread a small select group of politically connected folks who are interested in leveraging these positions for personal gain and ego?


Let's take a stroll down memory lane and review board appointments to Metropolitan Pier & Expo Authority, a 50/50 venture between the City of Chicago and State of Illinois.


Here is the track record for MPEA board members and employees: 

ANNUAL AUDITS OF MPEA
Examination of MPEA financial statements for the years 2006-2012 indicate annual deficits as follows:
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2012  $999 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2011$833.0 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2010 $696.5 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2009 $556.4 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2008 $408.3 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2007 $309.5 Million
·         Net Deficit June 30, 2006 $287.8 Million

The State of Illinois derives no fiscal value for its 50% interest in MPEA! MPEA is city-centric and is a destination venue for visitors who engage in per capita spending in Chicago.

PATRONAGE HIRINGS RESULTING IN EXCESSIVE OPERATING COSTS VIA INFLATED PAYROLL
Losing business, McPier added big salaries
Agency says cost-cutting is 'an ongoing plan'
January 4, 2010
BY CHRIS FUSCO, TIM NOVAK AND DAVE McKINNEY Chicago Sun Times Staff Reporters
Even as convention business has plummeted, the number of people on the payroll of the government agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier who are paid more than $100,000 a year has grown.
A Chicago Sun-Times analysis of payroll records shows 54 employees of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority were making at least $100,000 as of September 2009. That's eight more than the agency, familiarly known as McPier, had in 2006, the records show – a 17 percent increase.



Here are the appointed board members in 2009 under the tenure of Juan Ochoa as CEO and appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley (no coincidence, Bill's brother) and Rod Blagojevich (now convicted felon)





You will also note that board members with expired terms continue to serve indefinitely until they are eventually replaced.
What motivates these people to serve at no compensation??
All are political hacks who benefit from patronage to obtain these appointments in the first place.


REMOVAL OF MPEA BOARD FOR MISMANAGEMENT

On January 13, 2010 the Illinois Senate voted 39 to 11 to remove the sitting Board of Directors at MPEA for mismanagement of the Authority (SB1868). On February 17, 2010 Governor Quinn signed into law the ouster of the Board. These board members should have been permanently debarred from serving on any other boards.


Without missing a beat, Quinn appointed removed board member James V. Riley to State Police Board in April, 2010. On May 17, 2012 he sought Senate approval. Quinn also failed to realize that Riley should have been removed from the MPEA board in 2008 as he was a named defendant in a federal lawsuit in Atlanta for bid rigging related to outdoor signage.




Peter. J. O’Brien was named to the Illinois Capital Development Board, John S. Gates, Jr. was named to the Regional Transportation Authority Board, Bruce Meckler to the Judicial Inquiry Board. All of these appointments are fiduciary positions where taxpayer have entrusted monies for lawful purposes. Devon Bruce, who served briefly on the MPEA board, is now Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment that still has funds placed with David Wilhelm's Hopewell Ventures (see previous stories on his mismanagement of TRS pension funds). These appointments are typically rammed through the Illinois Senate in the early afternoon when legislators seem to be asleep. 

Both the Governor and Senators have breached their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers by not vetting these appointees and eliminating individuals who have already proven that they are not worthy to serve the public.


It is noteworthy and ironic that no MPEA management employees were removed despite their being directly responsible for day to day operations at the authority. They continued to draw their inflated salaries and continued to accumulate credit towards their public pensions at taxpayer expense.

So Bill, here is a question for you "as Governor would you appoint ordinary, civic minded citizens from Peoria, Decatur, Cairo or other locations south of I-80 to Illinois state board positions or continue your brother's legacy of patronage appointments that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars in waste, fraud and corruption?"

We look forward to your response. You can contact us at corruptionbusters24x7x365@gmail with your reply!