Reporting Bob Roberts
(CBS) – The Cook County sheriff’s office has a new job: acting as the inspector general for south suburban Dolton.
“With local corruption, where can people go? They have nowhere to go,” Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday. “In Dolton, they’re going to have a place to go.”
Newly elected Village President Riley Rogers said Dolton is essentially broke. It made payroll and insurance payments this week only because it raided a tax-increment financing (TIF) fund, and Rogers said the corruption that made the move necessary makes him angry.
“Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas,” he said.
He said that in all, the suburb has $3 million in unpaid bills, including bills from the city of Chicago for Lake Michigan water.
Rogers said in the case of the Dolton Public Works Dept. fuel pumps, neighbors have reported seeing everything from cars to motor homes fill up in the dead of night.
He said the corruption has been so institutionalized that he cannot change things himself. That’s why he wants assistance from Dart, who said he will make monthly reports to Dolton’s village board, initiate investigations without village approval and — with luck — wipe out fraud and corruption.
Dolton residents who want to report fraud or corruption in village government can call or e-mail Dart’s office.
In addition, the Dolton Police Department will turn over much of its day-to-day responsibilities to sheriff’s police, including 911 calls and investigations.
Dart said to his knowledge the inspector general agreement is one-of-a-kind, but added he is willing to enter into similar deals with any other corruption-plagued community in Cook County.