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Confirmed: CTA Board Member Visited Arrested CTA Employee in Jail

By Margaret Lyons in News on Oct 24, 2007 2:25PM

Chicagoist just got off the phone with Gregory P. Longhini, assistant secretary of the Chicago Transit Board, who wanted to give us the CTA's version of the rumor about CTA board member Rev. Charles E. Robinson's visit to Miranda Smith, the CTA employee accused of identity theft.

2007_10_24.cta.jpg"He went over [to the police station] at the request of her grandmother," Longhini says, adding that Robinson is Smith's grandmother's pastor. "It is common for a minister to be asked to help someone in jail. Is it common for someone to flash a CTA [board] ID? No. But he goes to the station all the time in his role as a minister." Longhini says that Robinson had "no idea" that Smith's arrest had anything to do with her employment at the CTA, and that when Robinson found out, he left the station. Longhini says he thinks Robinson "referred" Smith to the CTA to help her get a job, but that she went through the same hiring process as anyone else.

The story started picking up steam on Second City Cop, and Longhini says he read the post over there after someone mentioned it to him. "I found that racist blog. It's horrible .... That blog is disgusting — seeing who they linked to — I turned the damn thing off." He added that anyone who wants to tell a scandalous story should "come out and say their name."