The Bogus Expense Check Is In The Mail

Every month for Cook County commissioners

You know how it works: you gather your receipts and every few weeks, you fill out the paperwork and file for reimbursement of work-related expenses.

That is, unless you are a Cook County commissioner.  In that case - no surprise - it works in reverse. The county sends you a check for $1,200 every month and, if you feel like it, you fill out a one-page form at the end of the year and pretend that your expenses added up to $14,400, even if they didn't. You don't even need receipts.

"Welcome to Cook County," Commissioner Mike QuigleytellsFox Chicago’s Dane Placko.

Quigley is the rare - probably the only - commissioner who actually keeps his receipts and a log book detailing his mileage.

Other commissioners don't bother.

For example, Forrest Claypool's expense report for 2006 totaled $14,400.  In 2007, his expense report also totaled $14,400 - after claiming $11,107.67 in miscellaneous expenses to make his mark.

Deborah Sims just filed duplicate reports in 2006 and 2007.

And commissioners Bill Beavers and Joan Patricia Murphy don't even bother to fill out the forms, other than noting that they are simply taking the money as "income."

Beavers says he even pays income taxes on it, though Commissioner Larry Suffredin says taking the money as income may violate state law.

Commissioners already make $85,000 a year for what are technically classified as part-time jobs. The additional $14,400 puts them awfully close to six figures.

Welcome to Cook County.

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