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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.


For Joe Berrios, the Cook County assessor who is also the county Democratic Party chairman, government is the family business. That got him in trouble with the county ethics board, which called for Berrios to fire three family members. But the Berrios family's presence on government payrolls extends beyond that, the Chicago Sun-Times found, with 13 family members now collecting a paycheck from the county or state, plus two more who recently retired and now get public pensions.

Dan Mihalopoulos has the whole report here.

Above, find the handy family tree created for the story by Sun-Times graphic guru Max Rust. Click the image to open the full-size version.

16069082H28391717.jpegIndicted former state Rep. Derrick Smith is now expelled from the Illinois House, but the people he tabbed to receive legislative scholarships for the upcoming school year will get to keep those tuition waivers.

That's the word Thursday from the Illinois State Board of Education, which administers the legislative scholarship program now in its last few weeks of existence.

In May, after his federal bribery indictment and after expulsion hearings had begun in the House, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Smith awarded nearly $185,000 in legislative scholarships for the fall in a move Gov. Pat Quinn called at the time "very disappointing."

Smith, accused of taking a $7,000 bribe in an undercover FBI sting, became the first sitting Illinois House member to be expelled from the legislative chamber since 1905 after the House voted for his ouster last Friday.

"Our stance is basically, at the time he awarded the scholarships, he was a lawfully elected representative and was exercising the duties of his office," said Mary Fergus, a spokeswoman for the State Board of Education. "He awarded the scholarships, which now essentially are the property of the students."

The Illinois House expels Rep. Derrick Smith

He'll still have to face court, but Rep. Smith's alleged acceptance of a bribe was enough to cause him to be the first sitting member of the House ousted in more than 100 years. Dave McKinney and Mark Brown report.

Storified by Craig Newman · Fri, Aug 17 2012 13:31:46

Rep. Derrick Smith ousted from state House by 100-6 vote - Chicago Sun-TimesBY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief State Rep. Derrick Smith arrives at the Federal Building for an arrainme...
Waiting for House to take up Derrick Smith expulsion case. Madigan at rostrum. Usually means serious business at hand.Mark Brown
House floor quiets for Smith expulsion debate. Now reading the allegations against him.Mark Brown
Not as solemn as for Blago impeachment session, as close to a precedent in legislators' experience.Mark Brown
HR1191, the resolution calling for Rep. Derrick Smith's expulsion, is now underway. Smith is an unexcused no-show today in Springfield.Dave McKinney
The only question: will anybody dare speak up in defense of Derrick Smith?Mark Brown
Chamber is silent through 4 speakers, including Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rocford), Smith's only defender. "What happens if...he's innocent?"Dave McKinney
Lou Lang: "Smith's silence in this case speaks volumes." Silence can be used against him.Mark Brown
Lang: Smith could have been here to say, "I didn't do it" without harming his criminal case.Mark Brown
Mary Flowers (D-Chicago): "He's innocent until proven guilty. That's what the Constitution says...What's the rush?"Mark Brown
Reboletti: "We as a body must police ourselves. If we don't do it, who will?"Mark Brown
Rep. Reboletti: Smith had 148 phone calls regarding bribe, some while House in session in Springfield.Mark Brown
Barbara Flynn Currie: We do not take lightly the expulsion of a member.Mark Brown
Currie: Alleged bribe "a stunning violation of the oath of office."Mark Brown
Rep Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) on Smith: "This isn't a speeding ticket...This goes to the very core of our democracy."Dave McKinney
Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford): "let the legal system handle the issue." Says he will vote present.Mark Brown
Derrick Smith expelled. vote of 100-6. three presentMark Brown
Rep. Derrick Smith is defiant in Chicago: "My former colleagues did not know the truth." Says he'll remain on the November ballot.Dave McKinney
Smith called the day "sad and happy." Sad because he's the first House member bounced since 1905 but happy knowing whom his friends are.Dave McKinney
No votes on Smith: M. Davis, Deluca, Flowers, Mayfield, Turner, Yarbrough. Voting present: Ford, Jefferson, ThapediMark Brown

Supreme Court Ryan.jpg

The Kankakee Journal is reporting that former Illinois Gov. George Ryan will be finishing his sentence for corruption in about five months at a West Loop halfway house.

Ryan is serving a 6 1/2 year sentence in the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on a corruption conviction. He's eligible for parole July 4, 2013, but has been trying to secure early release for several years, including his most recent failed bid Monday.

Lawyers for Ryan, who is nearing the end of his sentence, had argued last month that prosecutors had failed to prove he took bribes. But in a 16-page ruling issued Monday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, denying the 78-year-old Republican's appeal.

The Journal report says Ryan would be staying at the Salvation Army Freedom Center in the 100 block of South Ashland Avenue, though the Federal Bureau of Prisons refused to comment.