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Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown

Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago
by Steve Miller

Dorothy Brown

Dorothy Brown (Facebook)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A grand jury has indicted a Pennsylvania debt collector, accusing him of paying bribe money to Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

The purpose of the bribes, according to the indictment: to get more business from Dorothy Brown and the clerk's office.

The indictment said Donald Donagher and his debt collection company, Penn Credit, gave $5,000 in 2011 to Brown's Scholarship and Community Development Fund, and on another occasion, told a company lobbyist, "We are giving (Brown) 10K and want to make it count."

In 2012, Donagher also paid for hundreds of thousands of robocalls for Brown's campaign—later reminding his lobbyists that the company made a "----load of calls for Dorothy."

And in 2013, Donagher gave $25,000 toward Brown's birthday celebration.

Dorothy Brown herself is not accused of wrongdoing.

Brown's office released a statement:

"Mr. Donald Donagher, Jr., never approached the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office or the Clerk improperly in any way or at any time. All contract negotiations between Penn Credit and the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County were conducted in the appropriate manner with the Cook County Procurement Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office involved at all times."

Theodore T. Poulos, an attorney for Donagher, released a statement criticizing the allegations.

"The allegations against Don Donagher and Penn Credit are false and the Department of Justice should not have brought this case.

Poulos said the Department of Justice is attempting to criminalize entirely lawful, publicly-disclosed campaign contributions and laudatory donations to various charities, a scholarship fund and the partial sponsoring of a Women’s History Month event.

"Mr. Donagher and Penn Credit acted legally and in good faith, and we will prove that in court."



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