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February trial set for former Stroger deputy

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BY LISA DONOVAN AND RUMMANA HUSSAIN
Staff Reporters

Two years after her arrest and indictment on public corruption charges, Carla Oglesby -- a top deputy to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger -- is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 11th.

Cook County Judge James Linn set the trial date during a brief Tuesday morning hearing at the 26th and California criminal courts building. Oglesby was not present.

Arrested in October 2010, Oglesby remains free on bail pending the trial on charges that include theft of government property over $100,000, money laundering and official misconduct. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Authorities allege she was behind a scheme to steer no-bid, no-work contracts to friends and her own private public relations firm.

Oglesby had been running a small-time public relations firm in 2009 when she was tapped to be Stroger's message maker in the final months of his ill-fated re-election bid. He would lose the February 2010 primary, but Oglesby was rewarded nonetheless.

Days after the election, Stroger put Oglesby on the county payroll as his his $120,000-a-year deputy chief of staff.

Authorities allege that from mid-February 2010 when she was hired to the time of her fall arrest, Oglesby doled out more than a dozen public relations contracts -- totaling $300,000 in taxpayer money -- to get the word out about anything from flood grant money available to residents to environmental initiatives. Problem is, the work was never done, authorities say.

Each contract was just under the $25,000 threshold - at the time --that would require approval by Cook County commissioners. And prosecutors allege that was deliberate.

Authorities allege she got a piece of the pie by steering a $24,976 contract to her private public relations firm, using the money for personal expenses and moving money around bank accounts in an attempt to hide its source.
Days after her arrest, Stroger dismissed her.

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