Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Forest Preserve watchman accused of growing pot outside county home

Friday, September 23, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
by LISA DONOVAN

A Cook County Forest Preserve “resident watchman” whose duties include stopping people from growing or smoking pot in the woods has been arrested — accused of growing pot in the woods.

The carefully cultivated cannabis was found growing near the forest preserve-owned house where Cynthia Wojtanowski, 45, lives at Tampier South Woods forest preserve at 135th and Wolf Road in southwest suburban Orland Park.

In exchange for a steeply discounted fee to live in the house, Wojtanowski was charged with clearing wood, removing snow, keeping an eye out for fires and reporting criminal activity, says Forest Preserve Supt. Arnold Randall.

Even reporting people smoking or growing marijuana?

“Yes, that, too,” Randall tells the Sun-Times.

Now Wojtanowski and her live-in boyfriend are each charged with marijuana possession and production, Randall said.

It began with a tip from the public this week.

“We were given a tip by a member of the public to our police force, which we encourage and appreciate, that there was marijuana being grown in the forest preserve in this particular area,” Randall said.

Forest preserve police quickly found the crop.

“We discovered cannabis on the grounds of the forest preserve district — in the vicinity of the home,” Randall said.

Randall didn’t know exactly how much marijuana was found. Asked whether the pot was being sold on forest preserve property or elsewhere, he said: “The amount that was being grown seemed like it was more than for an individual’s use. We do know there was definitely enough [marijuana] there that it may have been more than just for personal use.”

Details on whether the couple was jailed and court information weren’t immediately available.

Wojtanowski has been served an eviction notice and has 30 days to leave, Randall said. She has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing on Monday that could lead to her firing.

“She acknowledged she knew there was marijuana growing there. We have some strong belief that she had some responsibility for the marijuana being in that location,” Randall said.

He said the investigation continues.

Wojtanowski, who couldn’t be reached for comment, has worked at the forest preserve since 1996, and began serving as a “resident watchman” in 2004. That’s in addition to her duties as an $56,468 administrative assistant for the forest preserve, ordering supplies and tracking repairs for vehicles and other maintenance machinery.

The forest preserve did not provide the fee she is paying to live in the forest preserve home.

The forest preserve “resident watchman” program — which puts workers in homes throughout the system — has long been viewed as a reward system for political patronage workers.

But Randall — who just took the helm less than a year ago under newly elected Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — said the program is being overhauled and will include background checks on all adults living in the homes.

“It’s [a] slap in the face — you’ve got a resident, a government employee entrusted with a taxpayer-subsidized home, and here she’s accused of growing marijuana,” said Jeff Tobolski, who serves in dual roles as a County Board and Forest Preserve District commissioner.

Tobolski commended the forest preserve for moving quickly on the case and has asked for a full accounting, including the number and addresses of the forest preserve homes as well as the occupants.



Recent Headlines

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system
Monday, July 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune

New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings - stat
Monday, July 14, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Fitch cuts rating on Cook County
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Reuters

Man trapped in Cook County Jail 30-plus hours files court papers
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Man trapped in Cook County Jail visiting room for 31 hours
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Orr, Suffredin To Explain Expanded Voting Rules At Town Hall
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

County land bank sweeping up the debris of the housing crisis
Monday, July 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Exoneree Diaries: Jacques mentors in Cook County juvenile detention
Monday, July 07, 2014
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

No way to paper over Circuit Court Clerk's record keeping: critics
Friday, July 04, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Meeting on changes in election law
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Evanston Now

Winnetka receives $2M grant, authorizes stormwater project bidding
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Pioneer Press

Winnetka receives grant for flood control work
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Same-day voter registration coming to Illinois
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

County health system names new CEO
Friday, June 27, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County health system names new CEO
Friday, June 27, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Navy corpsmen sharpen skills at Stroger
Friday, June 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Interim CEO to stay on as head of Cook County hospital system
Friday, June 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP