Whenever you need to be depressed about the state of democracy in this fair country, you can depend on Illinois politics to put you in a miserable place. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE says that the latest scandal involves nepotism, really bad judgment and a disgraced former college basketball star. Oh, Illinois politics, you never fail to amaze.
To say that Tony Cole has a checkered past is probably giving him too much credit. He was kicked off the Georgia basketball team after allegations by his girlfriend that he was involved in gang-raping her (the charges were later dropped). He was also a catalyst in blowing the whistle in the grade-fixing scandal that eventually cost Jim Harrick his job, and recently was charged with hitting his girlfriend and later threatening her over the phone.
Which probably explains why Cole was working as a busboy at a Chicago-area Ruth’s Chris Steak House when he was “discovered” by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who decided that clearing tables of dirty dishes and refilling water was the perfect background for becoming a human resources assistant in the county’s Highway Department, giving him a $58,000 a year job - all without doing a background check (or even searching Google).
So no one probably should have been shocked when Cole was arrested on Tuesday for violating the terms of his bail, but when the news came out, Stroger went into panic mode. Despite the fact that he was the one who hired Cole despite his lack of qualifications, Stroger forced Donna Dunnings - the county’s chief financial officer - to resign, who also happened to be his cousin.
At this rate, you can expect J.R. Rider to be getting a job in Oakland city government any time soon - perhaps in the communications office. After all, with the “East Bay Funk” it’s hard to find someone who did more to promote the area.