After several new articles in the Trib and Sun-times about corruption and pay to play with Dorothy Brown, a new lawsuit has survived a Motion to Dismiss brought before ND Illinois Federal Court Magistrate judge Valdez.
Earlier this year Atty Nejla Lane filed a most excellent complaint against Dorothy Brown and company for her “pay to play” system where Nejla’s Plaintiff went to the FBI and sung like a canary. Tweetie Bird would be proud.
You can find the complaint here:
You can find the Memorandum and Decision Order here:
Recently DB has been in the news for her corrupt friends, here’s a goat deal that went down:
A former employee in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to a federal grand jury investigating pay-to-play allegations in the clerk’s office.
In pleading guilty to one count of perjury, Sivasubramani Rajaram, 48, did not agree to cooperate with prosecutors in the ongoing investigation. He faces up to 16 months behind bars when he is sentenced in September by U.S. District Judge John Darrah.
The charge alleges that Rajaram was hired by Brown’s office in September 2014, just weeks after he purportedly lent $15,000 to a company controlled by Brown’s husband, Benton Cook III.
Illinois secretary of state records show Goat Masters Corp. was incorporated in June 2014 by Cook, who is listed as the company’s agent.
In an interview in January with the Tribune Editorial Board, Brown said she and her husband founded the goat meat supply company after securing “several acres of land down south” and buying goats from Arkansas and Texas.
“They have a lot of babies. So you can buy a few goats, and you can increase the number, your profit, very quickly,” Brown said. “Goat meat is actually eaten by a lot of different groups in the United States. It’s very profitable.”
Brown also repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying it’s “impossible for me or anyone else to sell any jobs in that office.” But she has denied a Tribune request for copies of subpoenas related to the federal probe, saying they are not subject to state open records laws.
Really, impossible? Apparently her “impossible” sales deals leave bread crumbs behind and more workers are calling hard working Attorney Nejla Lane to represent them because they are coming forward with details of DB’s “pay to play”. Please call or email her offices if you know anything about this or are one of her victims. http://lanekeylaw.com/
and see this article on allegations of corruption tied to Ms. Brown:
In this article, she refused to turn over her office emails to the FBI! Incredulous. And, the FBI apparently backed down. Atty Lane will not be backing down.
For years we in Cook County have not had a computerized court system. You still have to pay $2 first page, $1 second page then .25 cents per page for court records. You can’t get them on the internet. Most files in the files rooms on the 12th, 7th, 8th and other floors are a disaster with crumpled beat up pages no where near in chronological order. This is a court system? It’s a disaster. An unmitigated disaster with surly clerks that dwaddle and ramble over slowly to help. And NEVER piss these people off or you will never leave there.
One time I printed out about 500 pages, paid for them, the printer failed, the supervisor said come back tomorrow, refused to email me the docts, and of course, I never got them. Still, to this day. They don’t care. I called and called. Always they say “I dunno”.
Pacer went into the Federal Courts in 2000–SIXTEEN YEARS AGO. Eight cents a page. Easy, simple quick system. Everyone likes it, tho it’s still very rudimentary, it’s not the dark ages filing system of DB.
I can’t say I will miss DB and her crazy ass filing system and lack of technology and service to the citizens and lawyers of Cook County.
But let’s give a great honor to Atty Nejla Lane for cleaning up the Court System of Cook County.
And in addition to Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez for upholding the law against such nonsense and Plaintiffs Mildbrandt and Zepeda for coming forward and fighting a very entrenched corrupt system.
from the Daily Law Bulletin
Judge allows suit vs. clerk to continue
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Patricia Munson
A federal judge has cleared the way for two employees to pursue a lawsuit against the Cook County circuit clerk over the clerk’s hiring practices.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria G. Valdez did not rule on the merits of a lawsuit filed by Maria Milbrandt and Esther Zepeda. But she rejected the clerk’s argument that the women waited too long to sue.
Milbrandt and Zepeda allege that Circuit Clerk Dorothy A. Brown was providing jobs and promotions to people of Indian or Pakistani descent in return for cash payments.
Valdez acknowledged that a two-year deadline applies to bringing a claim under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
And she acknowledged that Milbrandt and Zepeda’s allegations extend back as early as 2001 — 14 years before they filed their lawsuit.
But the women maintain they were not aware of the alleged system until recently, Valdez wrote.
The women’s first amended complaint alleges Zepeda was told by a “reliable source” — a co-worker of Indian descent — that money was being paid for employment and advancement.
The complaint also alleges a “reliable source” told Milbrandt in July 2014 that a former chief deputy clerk was given his position in return for a relative’s $50,000 payment to Brown.
Construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, Valdez wrote, citing Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667 (7th Cir. 2006), “the claim accrued within the two-year statute of limitations period.”
Valdez also declined to dismiss a Section 1983 claim against Cook County based on the purported system of hiring and promotion.
Milbrandt and Zepeda adequately allege the existence of a pattern or practice of paying Brown for career opportunities, Valdez wrote.
“While the complaint relates only two incidents in which plaintiffs were told about the ‘pay to play’ system,” she wrote, “that is not the same as alleging that the system was only implemented on two occasions.”
The lead attorney for Milbrandt and Zepeda is Nejla K. Lane of Lane Keyfli Law Ltd.
In an e-mail, Lane said Valdez “did the right thing.”
Her clients continue to face discrimination and harassment and to be denied the chance to advance, Lane contended.
“Too much discrimination and human rights, quality of life violations exist even to this date,” she wrote.
She contended pay-to-play in Brown’s office was “the norm” until the FBI began an investigation within the past two years.
The lead attorneys for Brown and the county are Cook County Assistant State’s Attorneys John E. Murray and Kevin W. Frey.
In an e-mail statement, Brown spokeswoman Jalyne R. Strong said the clerk “finds these allegations baseless.”
Brown, Strong continues, “has nothing further to add regarding this ongoing litigation, which is being handled by our attorney.”
Milbrandt and Zepeda still work in the clerk’s office at the 3rd Municipal District courthouse in Rolling Meadows. Milbrandt is from Mexico and Zepeda is from El Salvador.
They allege they were denied promotions and cross-training and subjected to a hostile work environment because of their national origin.
They also allege their supervisors targeted them with emotionally distressing scrutiny and harassing remarks.
And they allege they were denied equal protection of the law because of the purported pay-to-play scheme.
In her opinion Monday, Valdez dismissed some of their claims, included counts accusing the clerk of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Valdez held that such claims based solely on the discrimination allegations are pre-empted by the Illinois Human Rights Act.
But the claims based on the insults and constant scrutiny the women allegedly endured may move forward, she held.
The case is Maria Milbrandt, et al., v. Dorothy Brown, et al., No. 15 C 7050.
This week’s ruling came two months after a former Brown employee pleaded guilty to lying to a federal grand jury investigating pay-to-play allegations in the office.
The perjury charge against Sivasubramani Rajaram of Glenview alleged that he made a $15,000 loan to a company run by Brown’s husband in return for a job as a level-four senior clerk. In his plea agreement, Rajaram admitted to offering false testimony regarding personal contact with Brown after his hiring in 2014. United States v. Sivasubramani Rajaram, No. 15 CR 692.
Please note that our email address has changed: LKL@LaneKeyLaw.com