At just about every juncture, everyone I talk to now who complaints about corruption in their casein Illinois, and in particular, Cook County, says you file a complaint with the Illinois ARDC and the JIB and in the end it is either lost or denied.
Folks, these are valid grievances.
How does this happen? we can get a clue from the lawsuit filed in New York wherein a whistleblower at their offices make the following admission in a complaint (Anderson v. New York, find the complaint at this link:
19. For more than six years, Plaintiff was employed as a Principal Attorney at the DDC, which is responsible for investigating and disciplining attorneys found guilty of misconduct in representing the public.
20. Upon learning of the DDC’s pattern and practice of whitewashing and routinely dismissing complaints leveled against certain select attorneys – to the detriment of the very members of the public the DDC is duty-bound to serve – Plaintiff reported these wrongdoings. In response, rather than attempting to address and rectify the problem, the DDC embarked upon a campaign of abuse and harassment of Plaintiff – including a physical assault upon Plaintiff – purposefully impeding and obstructing her ability to fulfill and serve in her legitimate job functions, and ultimately culminating in her retaliatory dismissal. That retaliatory dismissal also came in the middle of Plaintiffs pending grievance and violated the Union procedural rules for due process.
29. For example, when Plaintiff learned of a complaint of misconduct against an attorney who was “favored” by her superiors, she witnessed that her fair and even-handed approach was not welcome in light of defendants desire to whitewash the pending complaint and contrive a quick dismissal of all charges.
A. Plaintiff Discovers Corruption At The DDC
30. From early 200 1 through in or about early 2003, as a Principal Attorney, Plaintiff worked independently, investigating complaints of misconduct from the public and adjudicating the merits of those complaints, as standard procedure. Plaintiff set forth her conclusions in memoranda, in the form a recommendation, which either argued in favor of bringing charges against the respondent or dismissing the complaint. Plaintiff’s work was then reviewed by her “case load supervisor,” Judith Stein. Ms. Stein would review Plaintiffs recommendations, and once approved, the recommendation would be sent to Defendant CAHILL. Once Defendant CAHILL reviewed and signed off on the recommendation, it would be sent to the Policy Committee, a body commissioned with the final recommendations for discipline. After reviewing the entire file, the Policy Committee would decide the ultimate level of discipline to be imposed. Defendant CAHILL’s First Deputy at the time was Sarah Jo Hamilton, who, while in that position, had not been involved in this review and approval process.
31. In or about the Spring of 2003, Hamilton stepped down from her position of First Deputy to Cahill. She then assumed the position of Secretary of the Committee on Character and Fitness. She was replaced in the position of First Deputy by defendant Cohen.
32. At first, Plaintiff’s job remained unaffected, as the First Deputy had never played a role in the direct supervision or the review of her work, as a Principal Attorney. Plaintiff thus continued to report to Stein, her caseload supervisor, who in tum reported to Chief Counsel Cahill, who would sign off on the matter. Suddenly, Cohen inserted herself into Plaintiff s work product, to advance her own agenda.
33. In 2005 Plaintiff began to discovered that Cahill and Cohen were apparently engaged in a “numbers game” and practice of selectively disposing of complaints – dismissing complaints that involved certain parties. These actions were taken for their own personal or political reasons, and lor if they believed that a complaint would be burdensome or otherwise “unworthy” of prosecution for them.
34. In addressing these dismissals to Cahill, Plaintiff stated that any such dismissal would constitute a fraud upon the public – as well as a grave injustice to the complainant to whom the DDC was duty-bound to serve. Plaintiff discovered that such complaints were being dismissed regardless of their merits – much to the detriment of the complainants.
35. Plaintiff was highly disturbed, as she knew that any such pattern or practice of
whitewashing certain complaints – in complete disregard oftheir merits – would plainly violate the rules and served to be completely inconsistent with the law, the mission of the DDC and constituted a grave and devastating fraud on the public.
36. Plaintiff, was extremely concerned at this situation, and Plaintiff began to become increasingly uncomfortable in her job, as she observed the actions of Defendants. Plaintiff also acknowledged and reminded CahiIl that she had a duty, pursuant to DR l-103(A), to report acts of misconduct.
37. In or about 2003, Plaintiff observed one such instance of corruption. Following a highly sensitive investigation which uncovered overwhelming concrete evidence of misconduct on the part of the respondent, Plaintiff concluded her investigation with a recommendation that the respondent be brought up on charges. Plaintiff received the approval of her case load supervisor, who in turn referred Plaintiff’s recommendations on to Defendant CAHILL.
38. At some subsequent point, however, Plaintiff was informed that the complaint had been dismissed. Plaintiff was stunned. In light of the copious evidence of misconduct uncovered during her investigation, both she and her supervisor had readily and reasonably recommended charges. Plaintiff queried the final result. Upon information an belief, it was soon discovered that the Policy Committee had never received the recommendation that she authored and that Stein had approved.
39. More shockingly, Plaintiff later discovered that the large file of evidence she had amassed during the course of her investigation had been gutted; the overstuffed file containing undisputable evidence of misconduct was suddenly paper-thin, lacking any of Plaintiffs significant evidentiary investigative findings.
40. Upon information and belief, the case file of the complainant in question had been gutted by Defendants CAHILL and COHEN, who conspired to cover-up the respondent’s misconduct and Plaintiffs recommendation, for their own personal and/or political incentives.
41. Upon information and belief, when Plaintiff inquired as to the final disposition of complaints -and discovered the cover-ups – Plaintiffs actions were closely observed by her superiors, Defendants CAHILL and COHEN. Shortly thereafter, upon information and belief, Plaintiff began to be regarded as a threat, as someone who was not a “team player” in the estimation of Defendants
CAHILL and COHEN.
42. Defendants CAHILL and COHEN’s corrupt pattern and practice of fraudulently
whitewashing certain complaints continued. In or about September 2005, Plaintiff completed an extremely complex investigation of a respondent. Although Plaintiff believed that the conduct complained of argued strongly in favor of charges, because of both a lack of actual proof of a conversion, and initial lack of cooperation from the client, Plaintiff and her case load supervisor, Ms. Stein, agreed that the matter be recommended for an admonition.
43. Ms. Stein referred the recommendation to Defendant CAHILL. Both Ms. Stein and
Defendant CAHILL approved the admonition. Defendant CAHILL simply requested an introductory paragraph, explaining to the Policy Committee the reasons that the DDC chose to recommend an admonition as opposed to charges. (The Policy Committee, after reviewing the entire file, decides the level of discipline to be imposed.)
44. Plaintiff complied and inserted such an explanatory paragraph, however, Defendant COHEN intervened. Despite Defendant CAHILL’s prior approval, Defendant COHEN stated that she intended to re-write the admonition because it was “too harsh” in its tone, and that she was afraid the Committee might send the admonition back to the DDC for the imposition of charges. Defendant Cohen
stated that she did not want to “tie up” an attorney “for six months” on a trial, if no charges were determined to be imposed.
45. Plaintiff responded that Staff attorneys were tied up on trials all the time, and that it was improper to re-write a document in order to skew it to achieve a particular result. Over Plaintiff s objections, Defendant COHEN stepped in and re-wrote the admonition, deleting facts Plaintiff had uncovered during her investigation, and misrepresented the conclusions that Plaintiff had reached.
Plaintiff was shocked, and such action was unprecedented.
46. By the time Defendant COHEN had completed her re-write, the document no longer reflected the conclusions Plaintiff had reached. Plaintiff refused to have her name used on Defendant COHEN’s new creation, as the document was no longer an honest and accurate representation of the facts uncovered and conclusions reached as a result of Plaintiff’s investigation.
47. Upon information and belief, Cohen intervened on this matter because she had a prior working relationship with the respondent’s counsel. Upon information and belief, Cohen sought to prevent the respondent from being brought up on charges as a favor to this counsel.
48. Nine months later, when Cohen had finally completed her re-write, she sent it to the Policy Committee. Lacking knowledge as to Cohen’s manipulations, the Committee unwittingly signed
off on the recommendation. Plaintiff was troubled that the Committee had never received an honest rendering of the facts; she believed that they had been deceived.
49. Plaintiff was also concerned that Cahill and Cohen, actively and tacitly – were engaged in a corrupt, criminal pattern and practice of fraudulently obstructing and manipulating the disposition of certain complaints. Such behavior in which defendants were engaged was doing a disservice to the public. Plaintiff was compelled to reported her concerns to Cahill, advising him that she believed
Cohen’s actions had been unethical and that he, also, had orchestrated and been a party to that unethical conduct.
You can read more in the complaint about how the NY Disciplinary Board wholly ignored certain complaints and how Plaintiff was a good whistleblower who had no protection.
But this is obviously going on in Illinois, judging from information I have seen in complaints about attorneys working in probate (Sykes, Alice Gore, both murder, both had millions missing; Jay Brouckmeersch–murdered, no action taken; Helen Rector–murdered and false arrests, no action taken; Mary Teichert, murdered, assets stolen, destroyed, looted, no action taken against attorneys at OPG Nathan Goldenson, etc. too many cases to mention.)