Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



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

Cook County Inspector General wins round over Berrios on subpoena
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health weighs $70M contract to coordinate patient care
Monday, August 25, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Buck of the Week: Unplugged in Cook County
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois exchange on 3 additional insurers' radar for 2015
Friday, August 22, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health eyes new call center, more nurses to better compete for patients
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Obamacare money boost helps Cook County hospitals budget next year
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health puts brakes on plan to sell HMO on Obamacare exchange
Friday, August 15, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

City home values only glimmer in bleak Cook property value report
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Trends in Estimated Full Value of Real Estate in Cook County
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Civic Federation

Forest Preserves of Cook County Offers Wilderness Camping Opportunities for Families
Monday, August 11, 2014
Special to suffredin.org

Court: Bears owe Cook County $4.1 million in ticket taxes
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

3-week closures announced for Crawford repaving
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Skokie Review

Appeals court rules against Preckwinkle tax on business
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Panel: Cook Co. use tax violates state law
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

County awards $680K to groups working to curb recidivism
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Inmates signing up for Obamacare: Dart
Monday, August 04, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Property tax bills rise at Cook County's biggest buildings
Monday, August 04, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

9,000 Cook County Jail Inmates Enroll in Obamacare Amid Mental Health Crisis
Monday, August 04, 2014
5 NBC Chicago

'Transit deserts' don't serve workers, study says
Sunday, August 03, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Berrios relatives risk injury for right to crowd county payroll
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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