Friday, June 24, 2011

As Gery Chico distances himself from tainted Save-A-Life Foundation, past/present IL pols & a TV journalist send Facebook birthday greetings to SALF's founder/president

Yesterday and the day before, a batch of Illinois news stories reported that Gery Chico's nomination as superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education had been stalled. Here's the skinny via the Chicago Sun-Times:
Former Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico’s appointment as chairman of the state Board of Education hit a snag Wednesday amid GOP questions over his ties to a now-defunct non-profit organization.
...Senate Republicans put the brakes on Quinn’s appointment, asking that Chico personally appear before a Senate panel to explain his relationship with Save A Life Foundation, a charity that is undergoing a probe within Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.
...Chico noted that “most of Illinois’ political establishment” embraced the group, which received government grants to teach the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. Questions have surfaced in published reports about whether the millions of taxpayer dollars to train children in emergency response were spent properly.

“As far as any kind of allegation of wrongdoing, if they committed any wrongdoing, they should be held accountable,” he said.
Chico might be distancing himself because of revelations like these from Where Did the Save-A-Life Money Go? by Don Bauder, published last November in the San Diego Reader:
(Carol) Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting. Save-A-Life began raking in money from government grants. 
...But it wasn’t until November of 2006 that ABC 7 News in Chicago, in the first of several broadcasts, exposed more of Spizzirri’s untruthful statements. She had told the station that she was a registered nurse. But the station reported that the institution from which she had claimed to receive her nursing degree had never given her one. A hospital in which she had claimed to be a transplant nurse said she had been a patient care assistant, which is akin to a candy striper.
...(Spizzirri's daughter) Christina filed for an order of protection against her mother. A neighbor who lives four houses away was willing to be Christina’s primary caretaker. The complaint stated that Spizzirri had struck Christina “on several occasions and threatened her on many occasions.” The order of protection, granted the same month, barred Spizzirri from seeing her daughter at several locations such as school and work. Christina “fears her mother will attempt to harass her or retaliate,” said the complaint.
But, along with scores of personal friends who sent Facebook birthday wishes to Spizzirri yesterday, these past and present members of Illinois's political establishment remain loyal.

Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka

Illinois State Rep Richard Morthland (R), 71st District

 Illinois Farm Bureau Manager, Blake E. Roderick 

Former Illinois State Rep. Debbie Halvorson

Former Illinois State Rep. Walter Dudycz (who helped SALF buy a building in Springfield with a $200,000 state grant) even sang her a song.

Here's Bill Sarto, ex-mayor of Carpentersville, IL, whose fire chief threatened Spizzirri with legal action after Sarto initiated a partnership with SALF that left the city holding the bag for thousands of dollars.

Stephanie Kifowit, Alderman, City of Aurora, IL

Spizzirri also still has friends in the media like Terry Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Channel (the Prairie State's version of C-SPAN).

Here's a curious interview Martin did with Spizzirri in May 2009, in which she says she's working on pending legislation with Il Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez (3:30)

It's not known if Spizzirri's business partner and second-in-command at SALF, former Palatine, IL mayor Rita Mullins, sent her birthday greetings. But from better days, before their organization was under state and federal investigation, here's a cheeky photo from Spizzirri's Facebook of Walter Dudycz with the leading ladies of the Save-A-Life Foundation.

6/23/11 Facebook birthday greetings to Carol Spizzirri