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Chicagoans tied to Vegas kickback scheme: reports.

Sunday, September 09, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by ART GOLAB

Las Vegas police have recommended the prosecution of the former head of Cook County

Hospital and two Chicago businessmen -- one of them Orlando Jones, the politically

connected godson of former Cook County Board President John Stroger.

As many as 36 possible charges were detailed in a 60-page document submitted Thursday

to the Clark County, Nev., district attorney, according to reports in the Las Vegas

Sun and on KLAS-TV.


In the reports, investigators allege that former Stroger Hospital chief Lacy Thomas,

as head of the financially troubled University Medical Center in Las Vegas, gave

"no-work" contracts worth millions to Chicago companies. In return, police said,

Chicago companies gave kickbacks in the form of contracts awarded to Thomas' wife,

according to the reports.


One contract, for more than $132,000, was given to Chicago-based Crystal

Communications, a company that shares a Loop office with Jones. Crystal was supposed

to evaluate University Medical Center's phone system. The money was paid, but no work

was done, according to court papers filed in January by Las Vegas police.


'I deny the allegations'


One of the contracts to Thomas' wife was awarded by Family Guidance Centers, a Chicago

drug rehab clinic that is a client of Jones. Again, money was paid, but the clinic

never opened.

The report also alleges that Thomas directed a $5,000 contract to Premier Alliance, a

company owned by Jones.


Jones told the Sun-Times on Friday that he had severed ties with Crystal and had not

done anything illegal. "I deny the allegations, I have done nothing wrong." He said he

has not been contacted by Nevada authorities.


The owner of Crystal Communications, Marty Pollock, who was also named by the Sun as a

target of the investigation, could not be reached for comment.



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