Stroger aide resigns amid corruption charges

Carla Oglesby, 41, of Chicago, has been charged with Theft of Government Property (Class X felony), Money Laundering (Class 1 felony) and Official Misconduct (Class 3 felony) in connection with the State's Attorney's ongoing financial crimes investigation into the awarding of a series of so-called "24-9" contracts by the Office of the President of the Cook County Board.

October 5, 2010 8:19:29 PM PDT
Bond was set at $250,000 Tuesday for Carla Oglesby, a former top aide to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who faces corruption charges.

Oglesby, who spent the night in jail, is facing corruption charges in connection with a series of no-bid contracts.

Amid the controversy, the county board president has asked for and accepted Oglesby's resignation, according to a press release from Stroger's office. Until Tuesday she served as deputy chief of staff for the Office of the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Some critics say the investigation may go beyond Oglesby, but for now, Oglesby alone is accused of stealing over $300,000 in Cook County taxpayers' money.

The 41-year-old has been under investigation for months ever since the Cook County state's attorney received some inside information that Todd Stroger's deputy chief of staff was allegedly benefiting financially from county contracts.

"Today's charges allege that Carla Oglesby rigged a series of sham no-bid contracts with companies that were allegedly being hired to performs communications work for Cook County government," said Anita Alvarez, Cook County state's attorney.

Alvarez says the contracts were approved and paid with no work ever performed. The no-bid contracts, known as '24-9' contracts because they are just under $25,000, do not need board approval. But that has changed.

"With the administration we had to restrict...giving out the 24-9 contracts. Now they are in a holding pattern as a result of this investigation," said Liz Gorman, Cook County commissioner.

"We've taken action. We're getting reports now on every contract within 48 hours. I'm hopeful that will be prophylactic enough to keep this from spreading," said Larry Suffredin, Cook County commissioner.

Prosecutors say Oglesby pressured others to sign off on contracts that were awarded to companies that she owned.

"This money was obviously being used not only to pay for some of her business expenses but also personal expenses as well," said Alvarez.

The state's attorney says those personal expenses included rent for an apartment and some ATM withdrawals.

Months ago, Oglesby told ABC7's Ben Bradley that while she still owned one of her companies, CGC Communications, she resigned from day-to-day operations once she signed on as Stroger's deputy chief of staff.

"In my mind, once I resigned and said I'm not going to have anything to do with day-to-day operations of the company, no I didn't think anything was wrong with that," Oglesby said in that interview.

Now, faced with theft of government property, money laundering and official misconduct, Oglesby's attorney says she is prepared to go to trial.

"There is a lot more of this case that meets the eye and we will be defending this case," said Anthony Schumann, attorney.

"We are going to work with the state's attorney and they are going to do their investigation and we'll let justice take its course," said Stroger.

Anita Alvarez says the investigation is ongoing and she invites anyone with more information about possible Cook County corruption to contact her office.

Alvarez would not answer any questions about Todd Stroger, who admitted there is a breakdown with the way county contracts under $25,000 are handled.

Oglesby was arrested and charged Monday night. She will spent Tuesday night in jail since her parents were unable to post the required 10 percent of the $250,000 bond.


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