Why is Illinois a Fiscal Basket Case?

Taxpayers pay the salaries of public officials. When public officials create or fill salaried positions in the public sector taxpayers pay the cost of compensating the persons hired to fill those posts. But far too often public officials see public-sector positions as plums that can be gifted to politically connected cronies or campaign donors, regardless of qualifications or merit.

This is not a victimless crime. Taxpayers lose from patronage and nepotism because they get saddled with feckless incumbents chosen because of connections, not merit. Competing job applicants lose, to the extent their superior qualifications are ignored to give the job to someone with “an in.”

Our client, Lawrence Gress, has filed a complaint alleging that he applied for a position at the Pace Suburban Bus Company, but was passed over in deference to a vastly less qualified applicant who had one advantage that Gress did not: The father of the less-qualified applicant was Martin Sandoval, the then-Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee in Springfield.

Not surprisingly, the public officials who make a buck making a black market in taxpayer -funded employment positions seem to have passed very few laws that call that practice by its true name: theft.

It has often been been said that if you hold up a convenience store and get $20 you spend your best years in prison, but if you steal untold millions from Illinois taxpayers in patronage hiring, that it is just business as usual .

UPDATE as of January 15, 2020: Plaintiff Gress filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging that corrupt hiring at PACE was just one node of a much broader racketeering conspiracy masterminded by Sen. Sandoval before he resigned in disgrace.

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