Oglesby Fired Amid Corruption Charges

Stroger vows to cooperate with investigators

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Deputy Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was arrested Monday in connection with an investigation into public relations contracts.

    Todd Stroger's deputy chief of staff Carla Oglesby resigned Tuesday after being hit with a $250,000 bond in her theft of government property case.

    Dressed in a black overcoat, with hands cuffed behind her back, Oglesby said nothing during the bond hearing.  Stroger is said to have asked for and received her resignation following her appearance in court.

    Stroger: We'll Let Justice Take Its Course

    [CHI] Stroger: We'll Let Justice Take Its Course
    Cook County President Todd Stroger briefly addresses the media after his Deputy Chief of Staff was brought up on corruption charges.

    Oglesby was arrested Monday for her alleged involvement in awarding a $24,900 county contract to her PR firm. She's been charged with theft of government property, a Class X felony.The State's Attorney says she defrauded the people of Cook County by steering thousands of dollars in contracts to her PR firm. Read the full bond proffer here [PDF].

    "The evidence shows that the defendant and others engaged in a scheme to defraud the people of Cook County through a series of sham vendor contracts '24-9' contracts," the state's attorney said in the charging document.

    Peraica: Stroger "Has a Real Problem Here"

    [CHI] Peraica: Stroger "Has a Real Problem Here"
    Cook County Board Commissioner Tony Peraica says charges for a top aide could mean big trouble for President Todd Stroger.

    "In addition to the CGC and Arrei contracts, Oglesby participated in awarding or approving payments for over a dozen other no-bid sole source contracts with purported communications companies. ... Payments were made to each of these companies prior to any work being allegedly performed under the contracts. To date, the investigation has found that little to no legitimate work was performed by any of these companies." 

     Stroger didn't have a lot to say about her arrest.

     "We will fully cooperate," Stroger said in a release. "It also needs to be state that the issuance of contracts under 25 th are a standard, and not an unusual process as being heavily reported by the local press." and "A we move forward I will work diligently with the Independent inspector general to make the corrections needed in this process." 

    Those close to Stroger say he is not culpable in the alleged felony because he didn't sign off on the contract.

    A County rule provides for unregulated payments to businesses as long as the payments are under $25,000. Eleven signatures are required to sign off on these 24/9 professional services contracts. Stroger is not part of the approval process, but his signature appears on the checks once they're written.

    While Stroger is playing it close to the vest, others have plenty to say on the issue.

    "He (Stroger) signed the checks, so he has to accept responsibility," Commissioner Tony Peraica said, despite the rule saying Stroger's signature was not required.

    "He doesn't need to sign off on any of this paperwork and did not sign off on Carla's contracts," a source said. 

    That doesn't satisfy Cook County Commissioners who already voted to limit Stroger's hiring power because of instances like these.

    "This is a pattern of conduct that goes direct to his door," said Commissioner Bridget Gainer

    "We have to be very careful the next two months to see what goes on behind the backs of commissioners with 24-9's," Commissioner Tim Schneider said.