4Dec/111

Is the Illinois AG Pretending to Investigate the Defunct Save A Life Foundation?

Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter

About five years ago, Chicago ABC7 I-Team reporter Chuck Goudie, in a series of investigative reports, exposed the questionable veracity of the founder of the Save A Life Foundation (SALF) and the organization’s claimed achievements. Here is the first of Goudie’s reports.

That was the beginning of the end for the “charity” founded in 1993.  During its lifetime, the SALF received millions of dollars ($7,856,869 to be exact) in federal ($2.6 million alone from the Centers for Disease Control) and state grants from several Illinois agencies.

SALF lived off the state and federal largess by enjoying the advocacy of a host of state and federal officials, including, but not limited to, Arne Duncan, who ran the Chicago Public Schools then and is now the Secretary of Education, Illinois State Democrat Senators Emil Jones and Donnie Trotter, plus U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D), and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) – a very active promoter for SALF.

It wasn’t all Democrats, though, who hyped SALF.  Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. MN) tried, but failed, to get millions more for SALF from the federal treasury. And, current Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk openly supported SALF and once accepted an award from the “charity”. But the majority of the pols promoting SALF were Democrats.

About three years after Chuck Goudie poked a hole in the SALF balloon, it closed up shop in 2009.  But that’s not the end of the story.

A writer for the conservative website, American Thinker, gathered all the Illinois Form 990’s – the annual forms that all charities are required to submit reporting their receipts to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  When the grant monies that SALF reported having received over the years were compared to what the various granting agencies reported they’d given SALF over those same years, there was a discrepancy.  SALF had not accounted for having received $853,709.  Oops!

In July 2010, this discrepancy was brought to the attention of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office – where apparently math is not a strong suit since they never noticed the discrepancy – and the AG’s Charitable Trust Bureau, the department responsible for monitoring Illinois charities, allegedly began an investigation of SALF’s finances.

It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half now, and the “investigation” is still…“open.”  Of course, “open” doesn’t necessarily mean being pursued. In only means…not closed. It could stay open for…well, indefinitely.  That would be The Chicago Way.

So what happened to the missing money? Can we say – Illinois Pay-to-Play?

21Nov/110

Chicago’s Political Prisoner Partially Released and Then Gagged

Thomas Barton, Illinois Pay-to-Play Political Commentator

On October 19 last, you read here of the continuing incarceration of former Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) employee Annabel Melongo in the Crook County Jail. There’s been a new development in her case.

After 18 months in the slammer, Ms. Melongo has been released under house arrest.  But she’s forbidden to speak to the media.  Illinois Pay-to-Play has made no effort to contact her, not wishing to endanger her semi-freedom from jail, if not her freedom under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The website Sidebar posted a thank you note she sent to several bloggers who kept her case alive during the last 16 months.

Allegedly, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office continues to “investigate” the $853,709 state and federal dollars in grant monies received by the SALF, but not reported on their Form 990 to the state. Nor, presumably, reported to the IRS’s via the federal 990.  If you think there’s a real AG investigation underway into the matter, then check the classified ads for cheap Florida swamp land.

Hey, what’s less than a million missing government dollars in the greater scheme of the national version of Illinois’ Pay-to-Play metastasizing throughout the United States of America? Billions are slipping away in various green, GM, Fannie & Freddie, and other schemes. The redistribution of wealth is in full throttle – but not going to the poor, but to the players.  But that’s another story.

One wonders: What’s the Court afraid that Ms. Melongo might say about what she witnessed at SALF before it went belly-up in 2009? What names of prominent pols (at the state and federal levels) might she mention? And where did unaccounted for government grant monies representing nearly 10% of SALF’s receipts go over the years of its operation?

Melongo was in a position to see where the money went; now she’s gagged. After being framed for corrupting their computer system. It’s the Chicago Way.

These are questions that the relentless investigative reporters at the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times are probing even as you read this – ah...well, no they’re not.

Fact is, we’ll never know where the money went.  But, look, it’s chump change. Unfortunately, the citizens of Crook County and Illinois are the chumps.