BGA, FOX HELP RESTORE $100,000 REWARD IN COP-KILLER PROBE

While doing research into the still-unsolved murder of Maywood Police Officer Tom Wood, the BGA and FOX Chicago help reestablish a six-figure reward after discovering that village officials had allowed it to lapse.

LAWMAKER SUBPOENAED OVER LEGISLATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS

Federal prosecutors seek records on state Rep. Dan Burke after a BGA/Sun-Times investigation raises questions about how he awarded taxpayer-subsidized college tuition waivers to the daughter of his former secretary.

CPS CRACKDOWN FOLLOWS CBS2/BGA PROBE

Prompted at least in part by a CBS2/BGA investigation, the Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general cracks down on abuses in the free and reduced school lunch programs, which are supposed to help lower-income students. Turns out numerous CPS employees, including principals, were inappropriately signing their children up for the programs, saddling taxpayers with the tab.  

LANSING KILLS PENSION PERK

On the heels of a BGA investigation, the Village of Lansing voted to repeal a pension spike for retiring first responders. Police officers and firefighters in the south suburb had been able to take a 25 percent raise or a $12,000 raise, whichever was greater, on their last day of work. The now-defunct boost enhanced their pensions by at least $6,000 in the first year of retirement alone, saddling taxpayers with huge long-range liabilities.

 

BILL ELIMINATING LEGISLATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS ENACTED

After the BGA, the Chicago Sun-Times and others exposed repeated abuses in how Illinois legislators award college tuition waivers — and following an aggressive lobbying campaign by the BGA policy team — the General Assembly voted to end the decades-old program, which had been costing taxpayers more than $13 million a year. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on July 11 and thanked the BGA for its doggedness.

RAHM RETURNING LOBBYIST CASH

After the BGA discovers that Rahm Emanuel’s campaign fund apparently violated a pledge not to accept donations from lobbyists, his political action committee announces it will return five donations totaling $7,650.

PROMISING MOVEMENT ON PENSION

Prompted in part by disclosures by the BGA and Chicago Sun-Times of a pension perk apparently crafted by a state legislator just for a member of one of Chicago’s most powerful political families, the Illinois Senate passes a bill to reverse the benefit. While the House didn’t take up the measure, it’s expected to be revisited in the next legislative session.

MORE COMPETITION, LOWER PRICES ON CPS MILK CONTRACTS

Following a series of stories from the BGA and the Chicago Sun-Times about a politically connected dairy company and its government contracts, Chicago Public Schools negotiated new terms that should save the system $750,000 in milk expenses. Officials also pledged to launch a “rigorous competitive bidding process” to keep costs down.

COUNTY WATCHDOG SLAMS HOSPITAL FOR DOC’S DOUBLE-DIPPING WAYS

Revelations by the BGA and NBC5 that a Stroger Hospital doctor was getting paid even though he no longer worked for Cook County government prompted an inspector general investigation that found “negligence” and recommended discipline against three employees, including a supervising physician. Also, the BGA’s inquiry prompted the return of roughly $80,000 to county coffers.

LEGISLATIVE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM KILLED

After the BGA, the Chicago Sun-Times and others exposed repeated abuses in how Illinois legislators award college tuition waivers — and following an aggressive lobbying campaign by the BGA policy team — the General Assembly votes to end the decades-old program, which had been costing taxpayers more than $13 million a year. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to soon sign the bill into law.