Employee claims jobs sold for up to $10K in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s office
FBI investigations into Dorothy Brown's office have been underway for nearly five years, during which the clerk has disputed accusations of misconduct. But according to one employee interviewed by federal prosecutors, at least one of Brown's hires may have come with a $10,000 price tag.
An FBI investigation that has spanned nearly five years – and rumors of job-selling that stem back even further – seem to have reached an inflection point in the clerk’s office for Illinois’ largest circuit court.
A recent court filing by federal prosecutors shows employees of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown detailing hiring practices in the clerk’s office that suggest a questionable pattern of “pay to play” arrangements.
One employee told investigators of a “going rate” of $10,000 to purchase a position at the clerk’s office, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The fee levied in exchange for employment, according to the employee, would be paid through her personal bagman. Financial records document funds traveling from the alleged bagman, who is also employed by the clerk’s office, directly to Brown’s personal accounts as well as that of a company she co-founded, according to the Tribune. Some of the deposits had then been transferred to Brown’s campaign fund.
“Showering gifts” on Brown, according to the Tribune, was described by another employee to federal investigators as a commonly understood path to earning a promotion at the clerk’s office.
The new court filing is the latest development in the pending criminal case against former Brown employee Beena Patel. Patel has pleaded not guilty to three counts of providing false testimony to a federal grand jury. Sivasubramani Rajaram, also formerly employed by the clerk’s office, faced similar charges. Rajaram was convicted in 2016.
Brown’s bagman, referred to as “Employee One” in previous court filings, had also faced prosecution initially, but was granted immunity and later testified to a grand jury.
Brown has not been charged with a crime and has continually rejected accusations of misconduct. But her office has been mired in controversy for years, including a murky real estate deal involving Brown’s husband and Narenda Patel, a donor to Brown’s campaign who is now deceased.
These latest developments seem to suggest the investigation is far from over.