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Former Head Of Disgraced State Anti-Violence Program Now Leads Private City Non-Profit

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — As investigations mount concerning spending within Governor Quinn’s anti-violence program, CBS 2 has learned the same woman who oversaw it is now running a private $50 million anti-violence initiative in Chicago.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent, Jay Levine reports that happened because of a resume with mixed messages, some of which apparently weren’t clear to the corporate executives recruited by the Mayor to run the $50 million city program before they hired her as its executive director.

The same Toni Irving, the press release announcing her hiring said she “assisted in developing the “Neighborhood Recovery Initiative,” the state’s now-disgraced $55 million program to reduce violence in Chicagoand.

The press release announcing Toni Irving’s hiring as executive director of Get-In Chicago said she, “assisted in developing the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative,” the state’s now disgraced $55 million program to reduce violence in Chicagoland.

Quinn shut down the program in January of last year. Just three months later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with help from First Lady Michelle Obama, unveiled the privately funded city anti-violence campaign. Co-chairs Jim Reynolds and Tom Wilson hired Irving last September.

Reynolds told Jay Levine, “We had no knowledge of any improprieties or alleged improprieties. Had we known, it would have been a significant factor.”

While Irving and Mayor Emanuel were together Wednesday, announcing near $2 million in grants, a spokesman is distancing the Mayor from her hiring. Mayor Emanuel had “…no input, no role in the search,” or for that matter, he told Levine, the organization’s getting grants.

“This is run by Jim and also Tom, not me. I purposely set it up that way. I raised the money and they did the evaluation,” said Emanuel.

Reynolds told Jay Levine he and Tom Wilson will be speaking with Irving over the next few days. Irving also called Levine Wednesday to stress carefully vetting community groups before handing out any of the $50 million pledged by the city’s corporate partners, which clearly wasn’t done with the program the Governor asked her to oversee.