Quinn Responds to Probe of Troubled Anti-Violence Program | NBC Chicago
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Quinn Responds to Probe of Troubled Anti-Violence Program

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    Gov. Pat Quinn talks to NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern about the anti-violence program being probed on a federal level. (Published Friday, May 2, 2014)

    In a one-on-one interview with Ward Room, Gov. Pat Quinn responded to a new investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Federal prosecutors are looking into the program through the governor's office using taxpayer dollars after questions surfaced alleging mismanagement.

    Quinn said he wants to set the record straight, offering his explanation for a program within the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Program.

    "I saw problems in the Neighborhood Recovery Program to fight violence, and we shut it down," Quinn said, "and abolished the agency which was overseeing it. I think it's important to fight violence, but there were problems, and my job as governor is to identify the problems, get to the root of them and straighten it out."

    Republicans are calling the anti-violence program a slush fund for his election back in 2010. Quinn says that's not true. 

    "No group got any money until after the election," Quinn said.

    Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's spokesman Brad Hahn confirmed Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice called the office in March to ask for details related to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Program — and anti-violence effort in Chicago that was championed by Quinn — and information was turned over.

    Quinn says once questions surfaced about the $55 million program, he made sure it was shut down.

    "There were too many problems with management, time sheets and keeping track of those who were receiving the money," he said. "That's why we shut it down."

    He said he did the right thing and acted swiftly to make sure there was accountability.

    The governor's administration faces two investigations. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez also filed subpoenas for the same anti-violence program.

    Now the U.S. Attorney's Office of Springfield is opening its own file.

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