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Stroger A No-Show At Candidates Forum, Calls Shenanigans On Opponents

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 16, 2009 3:20PM

2009_11_cook_county_logo_again.jpg What was supposed to be a forum for the four remaining Democratic candidates for Cook County Board President turned into a Player Hater's Ball as the incumbent, President Todd Stroger, was a no-show, opening the flood gates for the remaining three candidates - Terry O'Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), and Cook County Clerk of Courts Dorothy Brown - to unleash some verbal attacks on Stroger. The S-T provides a sampling of what each candidate said about Stroger. As for Stroger's absence? His campaign manager, Vincent Williams, originally told the Sun-Times, "I haven't spoken to the president today, so I don't have an answer." However, this morning, Williams issued the following statement (via email) on behalf of the Stroger campaign:

Yesterday the campaign of President Todd H. Stroger was told of the Chicago Sun Time's investigation involving an alleged conspiracy involving Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown and Commissioner Terry O'Brien, against President Stroger. Due to the strong nature of the allegations now detailed on today's front page of the Chicago Sun Times, it was then decided that the President not attend the 43rd Ward forum held on yesterday. However the President did attend a candidate's forum on Saturday in Oak Park. Once again, it is increasingly clear that the Brown campaign has no credible interest in this election. Coupled with allowing state funded earn fare workers to gather her petitions, Ms. Brown's credibility in this race, as was the case in her 2007 mayoral run, continues to draw questions.

Indeed, the S-T reports today that the alleged shenanigans involve several workers but that it all starts with a pair of Democratic operatives, Sam J. Morabito and Teresa Navarro, who both notarized the petitions in question and are reported to have clout connections. Both Brown's and O'Brien's campaigns deny any wrong-doing and deny they're in cahoots.