A former county employee
hired by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger remained in jail
Wednesday after a judge agreed his bond should remain high because he
violated the terms of his home confinement on a domestic charge.
Tony Cole, 29, of Chicago was working as a busboy when
Stroger hired him as an aide to his chief financial officer and cousin,
Donna Dunnings. Cole later was arrested on a domestic battery charge in
DuPage County, accused of punching his girlfriend in the face. He
pleaded guilty and paid a fine, but was rearrested when he was accused
of violating an order of protection the woman had obtained.
Dunnings then twice bailed Cole out of jail. Stroger
fired Cole and then later asked for Dunnings' resignation when he said
Cole began making "explosive" allegations against her. He did not
detail what those allegations were.
Tuesday's hearing at Cook County's Domestic Court was
merely to determine whether Cole's bond should be raised from $40,000
to $200,000 because he did not answer his door on three separate
occasions when probation officers visited him at home. Conditions of
his bond required him to do so.
Cole's public defender Peter D. Bormes implied Cole was
being treated more stringently than other defendants facing a "class A
misdemeanor." Bormes said Cole was being visited inordinately often -
76 times in 64 days, with some visits coming literally one minute after
a previous one and sometimes at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. in the morning.
Cole seemed to agree, piping up, "This is nothing but a conspiracy," before being silenced by the judge.
But assistant state's attorney Sara Sohn said the
number was not inordinate for the type of home confinement Cole was on,
an intensive visitation schedule under the new Cindy Bischof law
designed specially to protect domestic abuse victims. She also said
that Cole was verbally combative during visits and boasted to probation
officers that he "knew the judge."
Judge James Patrick Murphy noted for the record that he
was not sure if Cole was referring to him, but that the two did not
know each other. He also found that Cole had violated the terms of home
confinement and ordered the bond to remain at $200,000, of which Cole
must post $20,000 to be released.
Jesus Reyes, the interim chief of the Cook County Adult
Probation department said the number of visitations Cole received were
normal. The Bischof law intended to secure domestic abusers with GPS
tracking devices, but until the equipment can be purchased, Reyes said,
the county is obeying the spirit of the law by visiting those on home
confinement about once a day.
"The number of visits that Mr. Cole has is average for this population," said Reyes.