Investigative Roundup for May 2, 2012

Por en Noticias 05/2/12 9:51am
Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell had a fiery response on Twitter to federal embezzlement allegations. (Phil Velasquez, Tribune)

Happy May, people!

It’s been a very full few days of investigative reporting.

Here are the highlights:

-The price tag in the alleged embezzlement scheme federal authorities are saying former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell ran has increased from $30 million to $53 million, according to CBS.

Crundwell allegedly used the money to support her RC Quarter Horse Company.

The former comptroller, whose Twitter profile says she is “Recently indicted on trumped up embezzlement charges,” tweeted the following response:

And I thought that I knew what #horseshit was!The Feds are making up numbers now!!! saukvalley.com/2012/05/01/ind…

-Also on the subject of misbehaving public officials, Jason Grotto and Hal Dardick have continued their groundbreaking analysis of pensions.  Whereas last year’s project focused on the state level, this year they’re looking at the city.

Yesterday’s story focused on the millions of dollars owed in pensions to Chicago aldermen.  Today’s piece by Grotto hones in on the role former mayor Richard M. Daley played in fattening his own pension.

-And on the federal level, Paul Merrion of Crain’s writes that that a campaign finance watchdog group complained Monday that  Rep Aaron Schock, R-Peoria illegally solicited a $25,000 contribution from a GOP congressional leader for a super PAC that helped unseat Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Rockford, in the March 18 Illinois primary.

-Shifting gears, friend and former colleague Angela Caputo has bitten into police misconduct in Chicago in her latest investigation for The Chicago Reporter.

No big surprises here:  A few repeat officers cost the city millions in legal payouts and operate with functional immunity.  This is the first thorough look at the Independent Police Review Authority, a reform body created in 2007 after a series of policy brutality scandals and headed by Ilana Rosenzweig.

The Reporter and NBC have also collaborated on a television piece that examines the same issue.

-Most, if not all, reporting about police brutality steps in the very large footsteps forged by John Conroy while he was at the Chicago Reader.  Michael Miner has this appreciation of Conroy, who has penned a play about the topic and who recently left his gig at the Better Government Association.

Miner writes that Conroy’s days as a journalist may be over.  If true, it’s a big loss.

-Speaking of the Reader, Mick Dumke’s latest piece about the drug trade in West Humboldt Park is a must-read for anyone interested in Chicago neighborhoods.  Dumke not only points out how hard to ignore the drug market is, he provides historical context for how the neighborhood has gotten to this place.

-Many people get to places by driving in Chicago, and Tina Sfondeles of the Sun-Times has used Illinois Department of Transportation data to map and report on the 20 most dangerous intersections in the Chicagoland area.  The article defines danger as the number, not rate, of accidents.

The dubious honor of filling the top spot goes to the intersection at 79th Street and Stony Island Avenue.  Anyone who has driven there will probably not be surprised.

Whether you get around by horse or by car, be careful and please let us know if we are missing any investigative gems!