Tony Cole Calling

Hundreds of calls made to Stroger's cousin instead

Todd Stroger's cousin and former Cook County chief financial officer, Donna Dunnings, insists that her relationship with ousted patronage worker Tony Cole was strictly business.

So that 46-minute phone conversation that began at 3:30 a.m. on Christmas Day? They were probably just talking about paperwork that needed to get finished up by the end of the year.

And those six phone calls on New Year's Eve and the first of the year? Surely they were just  planning a real strong start in the new year on behalf of Cook County taxpayers.

Those 100 calls between December and April, including more than a dozen on the day Cole was fired? Obviously they were talking about how much harder they could work for the public and what efficiencies they could bring to county government.

"County phone records suggest regular communication between Cole and Dunnings, both of whom have denied a personal relationship," the Chicago Tribune reports.

Gee, you think?

The phone records - released after the Better Government Association filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to get them - do more than "suggest" regular communication between Cole and Dunnings. They prove it.

The question is: What were they talking about all that time?

Teenage couples still in the hot flames of early love don't talk on the phone that often.

Cole's county-owned BlackBerry, for example, tallied monthly bills ranging from $113 to $586. (You can see the phone records for yourself at the BGA's website.)

It's still not clear, of course, just what Cole did every day in his "job." But whatever it was, it apparently required a lot of input from Dunnings.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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