Five things to know about the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative

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One of the major talking points of the gubernatorial election is the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a $54.5 million failed anti-violence program Gov. Quinn launched in 2010 and is now under federal investigation. The Justice Department has asked state lawmakers to wait 90 days before calling several former members of Gov. Pat Quinn’s inner circle to testify.

Here are five things to know about NRI:

1. RUSH JOB

The NRI was launched 30 days before the 2010 general election. Illinois Auditor General William Holland said the program was rushed into creation and did not cover some of the highest crime areas of Chicago.


2. BIG PAYDAY

More than $145,000 of NRI money went into the pocket of Benton Cook, the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.


3. RAUNER’S CONNECTION

The finger is mainly pointed at Quinn and the Rauner campaign often uses NRI in attacks against him. But a church led by a Rauner ally received some of the state anti-violence cash.


4. NON-EXISTENT PROGRAM

Some of the funds went to a prison re-entry program operating out of a day care center. In fact, there was no re-entry program at all — nor any proof that the organization, Project Hope, Inc., did anything for the $15,770 it received.


5. PAYING FOR A FREE STUDY

The state paid almost half a million dollars on a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago to see if the NRI helped reduce violence. The study was flawed and the University of Chicago Crime Lab offered to do the study for free.

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