Monday, July 30, 2012

Illnois corruption 7/30/12: 19 month long worker's comp investigation yields nothing so far

What is significant about 19 months?

From the Belleville News-Democrat:
That's how long the Illinois Department of Insurance fraud unit, aided by a Springfield law firm paid $177,000 so far by taxpayers, has been investigating millions of dollars in workers' compensation lump-sum partial-disability payments awarded to hundreds of guards from a single Illinois prison over a three-year span. Nearly all of these claimants cashed tax-free lump sum checks typically ranging from $20,000 to $80,000 and returned to work full-time.
The paper reminds us that the Penn State sex-abuse scandal investigation took just eight months to finish, the Warren investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination was completed in just in 10 months, and the Senate Watergate investigation ended after 14 months.

More from the News-Democrat:
A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday that the probe, which began in early January 2011, "continues to be a top priority."

However, state officials will not discuss details other than payments to the law firm -- Sorling, Northrup, Hanna, Cullen & Cochran, Ltd. -- which is paid $175 per hour for this work. There is no new contract on file for the firm for the 2013 fiscal year, according to state comptroller's office records.

Because of the time the investigation has taken so far, State Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, said he remains skeptical that it will produce results. Kay pushed for reform of the state's workers' compensation law after an ongoing series of investigative articles in the Belleville News-Democrat, which began in December 2010, concerning claims by guards from the Menard Correctional Center.
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