For the past few months the I-Team has been looking into Cook County contracts for less than $25,000, the so-called "24-nine" deals made by County President Todd Stroger and his underlings, contracts just below the amount that would require county board approval.
It is "24-nine" contracts for county flood relief that are the centerpiece of the charges against Stroger aide Carla Oglesby.
While investigating "24-nine" county contracts, the I-Team happened to hear about a seminar for Cook County flood victims. It was supposed to be heavily promoted under a $24,975 contract awarded to CGC Communications.
According to county prosecutors Tuesday, CGC was owned and operated by Carla Oglesby, the deputy chief of staff to Cook County President Todd Stroger.
In court records, prosecutors said that the contract specified "a check payable to CGC Communications was to be personally delivered to Oglesby herself at the office of the president." And that "the sole signatory on this account is Oglesby."
Prosecutors claim that Oglesby's firm CGC "did not perform any work relating to the disaster relief grant" and quoted an unnamed county official as saying she "does not believe that CGC did anything regarding the relief effort."
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez began investigating Oglesby's side business last spring after questions surfaced about her company's flood relief contract.
Oglesby is also accused of assigning county workers to do the jobs that her company was paid to do.
Authorities say their probe also found that Oglesby then tried to hide where the money was coming from, and that is why she also faces money-laundering charges.
There were other companies involved in the scheme, according to prosecutors--at least a dozen named by prosecutors, including the two directly operated by Carla Oglesby. And there were numerous other sham contracts that investigators say they found, all just below the $25,000 approval threshold, all said to have been paid--but no work done.