Former DCFS Official Guilty of Corruption

Bamani Obadele accused of funneling nearly $200,000 to contractors with whom he had ties

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    A former deputy director of the state Department of Children and Family Services pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge Tuesday.

    Bamani Obadele, 38, was appointed to the post in 2003 by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich but resigned his $65,000-a-year post in 2005 in a contracting scandal.

    He’s a longtime friend of the former governor and worked on his 2002 election campaign. Blagojevich took a liking to Obadele in 1987 when the former governor was a young assistant state’s attorney and Obadele was a teen who worked outside a branch court shining shoes.

    Obadele was accused of funneling more than $190,000 in DCFS money to contractors in which he held a personal interest -- and skimming more than $70,000 for his own benefit.

    The contractors included Genesis Economic Development Corp., which he owned. The company sold promotional items such as magnets, yo-yos and frisbees to organizations that held DCFS contracts.

    The other company was Harvest Holistic Community Services, for which he served as a board member. Harvest provided child-welfare services on behalf of DCFS.

    After his 2005 resignation from DCFS, Obadele has served as a pastor on the South Side and has been involved in anti-violence efforts in the Roseland neighborhood. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 14.