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Anita Alvarez: No conflict exists in anti-violence probe

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office on Wednesday said there was no conflict of interest involving a probe by her office into an anti-violence program even though Alvarez sits on a related board.

Alvarez’s office opened an investigation into an aspect of the troubled and now defunct Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, which involved $54 million in state grants. When the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was scrapped, it was folded into the Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Alvarez is listed as a vice-chairman of the Criminal Justice Information Authority board.

“I’m extremely limited in what I can say publicly,” said Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly, in reference to the grand jury investigation. “We do not believe that a conflict exists.”

Last week, the Sun-Times political portal Early & Often first reported news that a Cook County State’s Attorney criminal grand jury subpoena had hit Gov. Quinn’s administration asking the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to turn over records tied to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative — including those for the Chicago Area Project, a program tied to the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

When asked if there was any conflict involving the probe because of Brown’s husband role, Daly said: “No, absolutely not.”

The Cook County probe is in addition to a federal probe also underway into the program. In the past, federal and local authorities have sorted out the appropriate venues to pursue investigations.