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William Beavers 'not worried' about federal subpoena
COOK COUNTY | Feds want his expense account reports

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
by Mark J. Konkol

Cook County Commissioner William Beavers says he's not concerned that the feds have subpoenaed expense account reports that outline how he spent a monthly stipend earmarked for out-of-pocket business expenses.

"It's just a subpoena," Beavers told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Over the years I've received a number of subpoenas. So, I'm not worried about it."

For years, county commissioners have quietly collected as much as $1,200 a month on top of their $85,000 salary. They are required to submit reports on how they spend money from the expense account -- labeled a "slush fund" by commissioners who refuse to accept the contingency cash.Internal Revenue Service investigators this month issued the subpoena seeking commissioner contingency account expense reports filed by Beavers in 2008 and 2009, according to public records.

While it's unclear how some commissioners have spent the money, some have reported using it to lease luxury vehicles and pay for graduate-school tuition.

Beavers, who calls himself "The Hog with the Big Nuts," has been upfront about pocketing the cash. In 2007, his expense report contained just one sentence: "Commissioner Beavers will claim his FY 2007 contingency as income." On Wednesday, Beavers declined to answer questions about the contingency fund or whether he claimed payments as income on his tax returns.

A U.S. attorney spokesman declined to answer questions about the subpoena, issued as part of a grand jury investigation.

Commissioner Tony Peraica -- who has tried to eliminate the monthly payments -- said the subpoena should "send a message" to his colleagues that the feds are watching how they spend money from that account.

"I do not collect it. I think it's inappropriate and raises all kinds of questions," Peraica said. "I proposed to do away with it, and I couldn't even get a second."

The Beavers subpoena was first obtained by the Better Government Association.



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