State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) was one of only five Illinois lawmakers who voted against a resolution calling for an audit of the Community Violence Prevention Program.
The April 7 measure sailed through the House without Davis’ support.
But perhaps he shouldn’t have voted in the first place.
Records show Davis’ wife was paid $83,500 last year with funds from the state’s Community Violence Prevention Program, which supports job training and parent leadership programs in some of the Chicago area’s most violent neighborhoods.
Jaclin Davis is a “program director” at Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, a Dolton-based nonprofit that oversees Community Violence Prevention Program grants in Thornton Township. Under the program Healthcare Consortium received $497,000 last year and is to receive $784,500 in 2014, records show.
As program director, Jaclin Davis is tasked with choosing how the state grant funds are allocated in the Thornton Township community. Rep. Davis says neither he nor his wife have anything to hide.
“I’m not opposed to any state program being audited,” he says. “It was a protest vote. I didn’t appreciate what Reis was trying to do.”
State Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill), who introduced the resolution, tells the BGA he wasn’t trying to grandstand. “We want to make sure the state dollars are spent right.”
The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act advises lawmakers to abstain from voting on matters where a conflict exists. But a lawmaker won’t face disciplinary action if he or she disregards that guidance, as Rep. Davis has done at least one other time.
The Sun-Times already reported Jaclin Davis was paid more than $137,000 in salary and benefits from Gov. Pat Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a separate but related grant program that was folded amid questions about spending and oversight. A scathing audit of that program was released in February, and federal and state prosecutors are now investigating the NRI program.
Rep. Davis voted against a May 2012 resolution calling for that audit, as well.
“That was a protest vote, too,” he says.
Suit: Class skipping while double dipping
Rita Turner held two government jobs, but may not have always worked two government jobs, court records allege.
She was hired to teach psychology courses for City Colleges of Chicago, at Harold Washington and Kennedy-King colleges. And she was a budget analyst for the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Government Operations, overseen by Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).
But officials at City Colleges now contend Turner was sometimes working her City Council gig when she should have been teaching – allegedly shortchanging students, and taxpayers covering her school salary.
The in-house watchdog for City Colleges investigated this, and City Colleges filed a lawsuit against her in February to recoup money, we recently learned.
“The investigation revealed that Turner’s employment as a budget analyst with the City of Chicago led to conflicts in her work schedule, which ultimately caused her to fail to attend 15 classes she was scheduled to teach and for which she was compensated for by City Colleges,” according to a statement from the college system.
Turner, though, insisted in a brief interview she did nothing wrong.
“I did nothing fraudulent,” Turner said, adding she had permission to work at both places. “I will stand before God, before any witness.”
City Colleges terminated Turner last July, according to a City Colleges spokeswoman. Turner also left employment with the City Council in October, though the circumstances of her exit there weren’t immediately clear.
Austin wasn’t real talkative when we reached her, but indicated she had no real beefs with Turner’s City Council work habits.
Turner was hired to teach four courses at $1,695 per course. She was paid roughly $56,000 annually with the city.
The lawsuit is seeking $794.55 in compensation from Turner for allegedly providing “false information or false statements to [City Colleges] regarding the hours she worked,” according to the complaint.