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The Watchdogs

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

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4 involved in failed Broadway Bank backing Alexi Giannoulias’ run for secretary of state

His political career was derailed by the collapse of his family’s bank. Now, he’s taken campaign money from four officials who ran the bank whose shutdown cost the FDIC $383 million.

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Clout-heavy janitorial company sues City Hall to hang onto lucrative O’Hare deal

Rick Simon’s United Maintenance says it’s being pushed out and that city officials plan to bring in ABM Industries, Inc., which has faced accusations of not protecting female janitors.

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Chicago cop who accused ex-Supt. Eddie Johnson of sexual harassment seeking on-duty disability checks, citing PTSD

Cynthia Donald also is suing Johnson in federal court, saying he made her have unwanted sex with him for three years in his headquarters office and on out-of-town work trips.

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City clerk running for secretary of state got 2 contributions from trucking exec linked to government mole

Anna Valencia says she has no ‘personal connection to William Pacella or his company. . . . Given that Mr. Pacella has been a supporter of Democratic campaigns in the past, he was a part of our early donor outreach efforts.’

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Cook County carjackings on pace to be the worst in 2 decades: Camry is No. 1, most victims are men, Sunday’s the worst day

The numbers, bad last year, are more than 43% worse this year. Sheriff Tom Dart’s office has created a database to make sense of why. Some of the findings are surprising.

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Kaegi is giving tax breaks to vets on pricey homes even though they don’t qualify

So some get big tax breaks despite being ineligible. The Cook County assessor says he’s following the policy on the disabled vets property tax exemption his predecessor set.

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You pay more in property taxes because 27,288 Cook County homeowners pay nothing

As disabled vets, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and former Ald. James Balcer are among those with tax bills of $0. Income isn’t a factor in getting the tax break for disabled vets. In some states, it is.

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Complaint that state official pushed for Trump tax break ruled ‘unfounded’

But the Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General also found Mauro Glorioso improperly deleted emails and other files on the case and said he shouldn’t be rehired by the state.

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Camp run by Catholic religious order had 5 staffers later accused of child sex abuse

Camp Tivoli, run by Norbertine priests in Wisconsin for more than 50 years, attracted numerous children from the Chicago region. It also attracted clergy as counselors and administrators who were alleged child molesters.

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Chicago banker, lawyer who served 5 governors rejected for state gambling license

The Illinois Gaming Board rejected former Illinois Tollway board member James J. Banks for the coveted license, saying his ‘business and social associations . . . would discredit or tend to discredit the Illinois gaming industry.’

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Ex-cop gets probation for off-duty beating outside Andersonville bar

Erik Elkins, 47, also has to perform 40 hours of community service and is banned from working in law enforcement.

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The FTC can get money back for duped consumers after all, Chicago federal judge rules

The agency is still trying to recover $5.2 million for apartment-hunters who say they were duped into paying unwanted credit-monitoring fees to Credit Bureau Center.

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Chicago teams are betting on a Daley to win City Hall OK for ‘sports book’ wagering at arenas

Cook County Commissioner John Daley’s son is lobbying the Chicago City Council to approve sports betting at or near Sox park, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and the United Center.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson used same accounting firm that cleared Bridgeport bank before it failed

Defense attorneys in the alderman’s criminal case point to mistakes by the bank, the Bansley & Kiener accounting firm and even Thompson himself, writing that, "Mr. Thompson’s lack of organization and lack of attention to the details of his personal financial affairs are central to his defense."

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‘Wouldn’t have done anything different,’ says one of a legion of Chicago firefighters, cops who went to NYC after 9/11 and now suffer

They rushed from Chicago to help and bonded with their New York counterparts amid the grief and horror. Today, some face illnesses they blame on exposure to the toxic rubble.

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Donald Trump gets a $300,000 tax break on Trump Tower after Fritz Kaegi slashes assessment

The former president got the property taxes on Trump International Hotel & Tower this year after Kaegi agreed the skyscraper’s vacant retail space makes it less valuable.

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10 ‘senior tax freeze’ homeowners will have to pay $273,000 more this year in the wake of Sun-Times investigation

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has slashed their property tax breaks and is going after seven of them for $371,000 in back taxes he says they should have paid.

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How Nate Lindstrom’s death by suicide spurred a push for more accountability on clergy sexual abuse

No charges were filed against the 3 Norbertine order priests he accused — including a man convicted twice of sex crimes. But his death helped spur a broader investigation by Wisconsin’s attorney general.

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The U.S. Postal Service keeps cheating mail carriers out of pay, records show

Since 2005, the Postal Service has been cited by the federal government 1,150 times for underpaying letter carriers and other employees.

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A new back-to-school worry for Chicago Public Schools parents: COVID’s raging Delta variant

Some cautiously optimistic, others fearing the worst, parents are preparing for the return Monday of full in-person learning at Chicago’s schools.

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Car insurers’ pandemic windfall could have paid Illinois drivers $99 more per car in ‘coronavirus relief’ refunds

State Farm touted COVID-19 relief payouts and rate cuts. But business was so good it still gave its CEO an $18 million bonus last year — on top of his $2.1 million salary.

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Home solar demand plunges as Illinoisans can’t tap incentives amid standoff on energy bill

Unless legislators can send a fix to Gov. J.B. Pritzker this month, solar installations in Illinois will likely drop even more as companies lay off workers.

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Chicago’s Black, Latino communities face the brunt of latest, Delta-fueled COVID surge

Some parts of the city, especially low-income communities of color where vaccination rates are low, are getting hit hard.

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More Ed Burke case fallout: Lawyer accused of bribing alderman for sign is being foreclosed on

A new lawsuit accuses attorney Charles Cui of failing to make mortgage payments since shortly after he was indicted. The building is now in foreclosure.

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Ald. Walter Burnett, wife wrongly claimed 2 homeowner tax exemptions for 8 years

Only 1 of the tax breaks, which is for someone’s primary residence, is allowed. Asked about that, the alderman wrote a check. It covers 4 years. That’s all the county can make him pay.

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CPS special education still plagued with troubles 3 years after state ordered reforms

Thousands of families have not received legally mandated services, while dozens of CPS employees have resigned and the department leadership faces toxic workplace allegations.

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State orders $1 million tax refund for Trump, county moves to block it

If Trump ends up with the tax refund, it would come out of taxes due to the city of Chicago and eight other government agencies; Chicago Public Schools stand to lose the biggest chunk of money — about $540,000.

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Firm that ran Orland Park club got COVID payroll loan, but workers’ checks bounced

Convicted scammer Lee Anglin was arrested last week at the Riviera Country Club, which reopened in June under new ownership with his wife as president after closing under another owner.

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Dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ found in drinking water of thousands of Illinois residents

More than 100 community drinking water sources in the Chicago suburbs and around the state show contamination from harmful PFAS that can pose serious health threats, records show.

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Fugitive who served 12 years for $10 million scam arrested in Orland Park for parole violation

Lee Anglin, 50, was taken into custody at a sports and dining facility that his wife supposedly operated.

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Wheeler-dealer Lee Anglin, once tied to Outfit, on the lam after violating parole in $10 million fraud case

The convicted real estate scam artist failed to report to federal prison June 29 to serve six months for failing to tell his parole agent about several new business ventures.

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CPS poised to rehire Aramark to clean schools despite pledging not to and record of filthy schools

CPS planned as of Friday to ask the Board of Education as soon as next week to authorize rehiring the janitorial behemoth to clean all its school buildings, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.