Stroger Fires Felon with Patronage Job

Spokesman claims the president didn't know about the conviction

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was helping "someone who was turning his life around," a spokesman said of the patronage hiring of  former University of Georgia basketball player and convicted felon, Tony Cole.

His hiring went mostly unnoticed, but on Thursday, Stroger fired Cole from his assistant human resources job after being informed by the Chicago Sun-Times of Cole's conviction for writing bad checks in Georgia.

Stroger personally hired Cole, the Sun-Times reported, after receiving a recommendation letter from famed Louisiana State University basketball coach Dale Brown asking him to give the troubled player a chance.

Cole had recently promoted to a $61,000-a-year job in the budget department, but Eugene Mullins, a Stroger spokesman, said that Cole had not included the check fraud conviction on his application.

"If he had just told the truth, he would have been OK," Mullins said.

The Sun-Times reports that Cole's trouble began with a 2002 charge of aggravated assault with into to rape.  That charge was dropped, but the paper outlines a downward spiral for the college player which landed him in jail at least a half-a-dozen times.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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