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The Watchdogs

Investigations of City Hall, county government, politicians, education, business and pocketbook issues affecting taxpayers and consumers.

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Casino owner, others with gambling-industry ties helped Lori Lightfoot become mayor

But Lightfoot says campaign money and personal relationships will play no role in Chicago casino and other key decisions.

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Peoples Gas’ plan to replace all pipes in Chicago could cost consumers much more

The utility, which acknowledges its original estimate was way off-base, comes in for sharp criticism in a new report by a consumer group.

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Master keys for O’Hare Airport security access were lost, costing city in ‘five figures’

A set of keys that provides almost total access to O’Hare Airport were lost and never recovered. But there were rare consequences for the employee involved, a Sun-Times investigation found.

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FDIC wants $14.5 million from dead Bridgeport banker’s estate over massive fraud

Feds blast John F. Gembara’s handling of clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings, saying he gave no-collateral ‘loan advances’ without expecting repayment.

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Where is dead Bridgeport banker’s yacht?

The feds are trying to recover lost millions after the 2017 failure of clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings.

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Cook County judge, ripped for ‘insensitive’ racial comments, dumped from bench

Secret vote by circuit judges gives new, 4-year terms to 137 other associate judges, including another rated unqualified.

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Lawyer appointed as Cook County judge despite losing election, past judicial scoldings

Former longtime prosecutor Michael Gerber lost 2018 primary bid, previously was cited by courts for ethical lapses in 2 wrongful-conviction cases.

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Affordable homes to be built on site tied to Daley pension boondoggle

‘Lemonade from lemons,’ Mayor Lori Lightfoot says of SW Side Skender factory backed by Lincoln Yards developer.

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Baptist minister who lost 3 kids in fire cited in campaign ad rips Lori Lightfoot, Toni Preckwinkle

Chicago Rev. Dwayne Funches is angry that Cook County Board president apologized but didn’t drop commercial and at way the mayor handled family’s lawsuit against city.

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‘Windy City Rehab’ hit with stop-work order

Notice comes two months after HGTV show’s developer was called to meet with officials over neighbors’ complaints.

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Cook County’s secret election: Balloting is under way for judges, and you can’t vote

Whether associate judges get to keep their seats is solely up to a secret vote of circuit judges

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Despite reversals, controversies, associate judges try to keep their seats

Injustice Watch examination highlights problem jurists on Cook County bench

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‘Narco-junior’ who gave up ‘El Chapo’ now faces shorter sentence in Chicago next week

The Feds have asked for 17 years for Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the son of other top Sinaloa cartel boss.

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Chicago cop quit with full pension after lover said he goaded her to shoot herself and sued

City Hall refuses to pay to defend John R. Schuler from the lawsuit.

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Car insurance roulette: You could pay more because you’re a woman regardless of driving record

You could be a great driver but still have to pay more because of gender, ZIP code, other reasons unrelated to driving, a Sun-Times investigation found.

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Judge who convicted man in case with legally blind eyewitness retired in April

Judge Nicholas Ford, a former prosecutor whose rulings in a police brutality case, other criminal matters have come under fire on appeal, has retired.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s legacy: Neighborhoods didn’t flourish the way downtown did

To most who follow development, growth, "Mayor 1 Percent" tag hung on Emanuel is unfair. Others say he did too little for neighborhoods.

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FBI investigating engagement ring given to ex-Gov. Pat Quinn’s press secretary

The FBI is trying to determine who paid for the ring former Pat Quinn press secretary Brooke Anderson got from her husband Lou Bertuca, the ex-governor’s 2014 campaign manager.

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Judge gave teen 76 years based on eyewitness he didn’t know was legally blind

A Cook County judge found an eyewitness persuasive in a Chicago murder case. What he — and the accused — didn’t know: The witness was legally blind.

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‘Sort of shocks the conscience,’ judge says of ex-Chicago cop charged in beating

Former Chicago police Sgt. Eric J. Elkins, who quit amid two internal affairs probes, had been the subject of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation.

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Illinois’ Medicaid backlog leaves more than 100,000 without health coverage

Tens of thousands in Illinois are waiting months for health care because of state backlog in determining who’s eligible for Medicaid.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson under scrutiny in probe of failed Bridgeport bank

THE WATCHDOGS: Loan now part of a broadening federal probe of failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings that also includes bank president's hanging.

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O’Hare runway mishaps: Despite errors, city workers face little discipline

Even when they are involved in runway mishaps at O'Hare Airport that violate safety regulations and could pose a deadly hazard, Chicago city workers routinely escape serious disciplinary action, records obtained by the Sun-Times show.

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Ald. Edward Burke cashed in on projects he boasted of landing for his ward

Ald. Edward M. Burke's law firm has financial ties to nearly every development project he touted during his recent re-election campaign, a Better Government Association investigation found.

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Another O’Hare runway mishap: City worker drove in front of landing jetliner

A city worker assigned to ensure runway safety was involved in a runway mishap at O'Hare Airport on April 2, when he drove a municipal vehicle onto a live runway as an American Airlines jetliner was landing.

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‘El Chapo’ lieutenant Jesus Raul Beltran Leon pleads guilty to drug conspiracy

Jesus Raul Beltran Leon’s guilty plea scuttles a drug conspiracy trial set for next month.

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Do you have a recalled dehumidifier like one that caught fire, killing this dog?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to check the make and model of their dehumidifiers to see if they've been recalled, warning of fires.

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Costs pile up at CPS-funded charter network over CEO who ‘acted inappropriately’

Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools has spent $338,000 related to the sudden retirement of its CEO, who said he’d "acted inappropriately" with recent female graduates of the city’s largest government-funded but privately run charter network.

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Congress about to ban IRS from offering free online tax filing. Thank TurboTax.

House has passed a bill that would bar the IRS from creating its own online tax-filing system. TurboTax maker Intuit, H&R Block lobbied for it.

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Trump insider wanted to develop S. Loop site but couldn’t strike deal with Rezko

Convicted political fixer Tony Rezko’s former business partner Daniel Mahru confirms he had a deal set to sell undeveloped downtown Chicago property to Trump insider Felix Sater in the early 2000s for $175 million but says Rezko wouldn't do it.

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FBI grilled Cook County judge with ties to indicted Chicago cop

Judge Mauricio Araujo told the FBI that indicted Chicago cop David Salgado is "more than an acquaintance but not quite a friend."

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Once accused of strangling friend, Chicago man charged with choking girlfriend

Eleven years after a Cook County prosecutor twice told the Chicago police he wouldn't file a strangulation charge against a NW Side man, the man is charged in Florida with trying to strangle girlfriend.