Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wierdness with the Strogers

Last fall, the story about Todd Stroger was that he needed money, and that the $1.1 million that his father had raised was not available for the son's campaign. Rumors were that the cash was gone. Turns out that wasn't exactly true, but the reports filed yesterday don't entirely clear things up.

John Stroger had three committees: Citizens for Stroger, Stroger for President, and the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, which John Stroger chaired and which supported one and only one candidate: John Stroger. Citizens for Stroger filed yesterday showing $266K available; they spent only $9K last fall. Stroger for President filed with $344K available, after spending $86K last fall.

It's in the 8th Ward RDO that it gets weird. The committee reported last July that they had $503,502 cash available on June 30. Yesterday's report, by contrast, claims $0 cash on hand on July 1. Poverty wasn't a problem; they spent a ton over the next few weeks, including buying a $440K CD on October 26th and giving $12K to "Friends of Todd Stroger for Pres of the Ck Cty" on November 17 (after the election, which means that transaction probably didn't violate their Statement of Non-Participation). They reported ending the year $426K in the hole.

This is just weird. Claiming a zero balance on July 1 makes no sense. If they'd shown the $503K that they claimed on June 30 as a starting balance, they'd end the year with $440K in CDs and $77K cash available. Which would show the three committees with $1.1M available; about what they reported on June 30. That would show that Todd Stroger's claims of poverty were inaccurate, and maybe that's the concern. Instead, we have to ask, where did the money go? What's going on with the Stroger funds?

Continuing with the weird theme, Friends for Todd H. Stroger for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners didn’t report receiving a $12K check from the 8th Ward RDO, or any check from any of John Stroger's funds. Maybe the check got lost in the mail? Maybe somebody has answers.

Not that it affected Todd Stroger. Friends for Todd H. Stroger for President of the Cook County Board reported spending $1.8M during the general election and ended the period with $247K cash on hand (and $525K in debts, including an apparently unsecured $500K loan from Amalgamated Bank). Friends for Todd H. Stroger, his older aldermanic fund, spend $36K and ended with $3K cash on hand. His opponent in the race, Tony Peraica, reported $1.25M in spending and a $1.4M debt to himself.

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