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Former City Comptroller Amer Ahmad in 2011 | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Feds want to sentence former Emanuel city comptroller


Ex-Cook county worker charged with fraud in flood grant program

Barry Croall, 45, a former Cook County employee, swindled at least $330,000 from a federal flood grants program he was paid to manage, prosecutors say. The $10.3 million federal grant was meant to help residents affected by 2008’s severe floods. But working as a program manager in the county’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Croall arranged between 2010 and 2011 for three contractors to overbill for their services, prosecutors say.

A person adds a banner to the memorial for police violence victim Eric Garner, during a rally against police violence last week in the Staten Island borough of New York City. (File Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Heavy young men get labeled for the worse

Devonte Washington, in his second year at Kennedy-King College on the South Side, hauls a backpack when he goes to school. It looks like an itty-bitty thing against his imposing 6-foot-2-inch, heavy frame, and it is useful for more than carrying books. It alters his image. “Nobody bothers me when I have my book bag,” Washington, who is black, said.

Judge Richard Posner. | Sun-Times library

Dumb arguments against same-sex marriage don’t hide bigotry

You know what I admire about bigots? I’m referring to the real wackos, the warped, scary, neo-Nazi, open Klansman, proudly sign-their-name haters. You know what’s kinda great about them? At least they’re candid. 

Former City Comptroller Amer Ahmad in 2011 | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Feds want to sentence former Emanuel city comptroller

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Amer Ahmad — while Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s convicted former city comptroller remains in a Pakistan jail — because it could take years to extradite him and he may never return to the United States.

Chicago Public Schools' Safe Passage program is expanding to 27 more schools. | AP

Governor hands CPS $10 million for more Safe Passage

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday announced $10 million in additional spending for Chicago Public Schools’ Safe Passage program. The new money will bring the total spent on the program to about $26 million and allow for 600 more hires of yellow-vested workers around 27 more schools later this fall. In all, Safe Passage routes are in place at 133 elementary and high schools.

Nanci Koschman | Peter Holderness / Sun-Times

Judge rips defendants but dismisses Koschman 'cover-up' lawsuit

A federal judge blasted the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state’s attorney’s office but dismissed a lawsuit that accused police, prosecutors and City Hall of an “official cover-up” to keep former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko from being charged in the death of David Koschman. Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer cited the statute of limitations. But she said, "Many of the defendants . . . chose deliberately not to investigate [the case] or to exaggerate, twist or even manufacture evidence that minimized or exonerated Mr. Vanecko’s involvement."

Ald. Bob Fioretti says a questionnaire being distributed by a political action committee supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicates the mayor will raise property taxes and is intended to stifle dissent on the City Council. | Sun-Times library

PAC survey signals property tax hike is on the way, Fioretti says

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) said Thursday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to sock it to Chicago taxpayers if he is re-elected, and for proof, he points to a questionnaire distributed to aldermanic candidates by a super-PAC created to support Emanuel and his City Council allies. Fioretti is pondering his own run for mayor.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks to reporters after the Chicago Public Schools Annual Back to School Inter-Faith Breakfast at the New Life Community Church, 5101 S. Keeler, on Tuesday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Plan to turn 311 into two-way street could help Rahm

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is forging ahead with his plan to turn a 311 non-emergency number that fields 3.4 million calls a year into more of a two-way street in a way that could benefit him politically. One year after issuing a request-for-proposals to develop “constituent relationship management modernization software” for a 311 system virtually unchanged since its launch 15 years ago, City Hall has narrowed the competition to two and will begin contract negotiations with both bidders.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett at the Chicago Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

Chicago Board of Education changes how it ranks schools

Chicago’s Board of Education unanimously changed how it ranks its schools Wednesday, introducing minimums that will benefit the highest-performing schools and potentially lessen the number of schools at the bottom.

Jackie Robinson West Little League players at the rally at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Wednesday. | Al Podgorski/Sun-Times

Emanuel plans funding for city youth baseball, including JRW team

Play ball! Watch for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make a major announcement soon on government funding to finance city youth baseball — including the city’s Jackie Robinson West Little League Team. Sneed hears it could be part of a broader strategy for keeping inner-city kids out of street gangs and giving them the chance to experience all the life lessons taught when participating in our country’s national pastime. 

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