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FBI Rooting Around County Homeland Security Program

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 16, 2011 4:14PM

2011_2_16_cook_county_Homelane_security.jpg the Sun-times and NBC5 reports that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security is looking into the county's homeland security initiative, Project Shield. The program, which started six years ago under the watch of former County Board President John Stroger, has been plagued by budget overruns, being years behind schedule, a lack of basic services such as security cameras not operating, and allegations of mismanagement of funds.

Federal homeland security officials found something in their audit of the program that "sparked the FBI's interest," but they wouldn't say what. A lawsuit filed in September alleges that grants earmarked for Project Shield were doled out by an aide to former County Board President Todd Stroger to companies in which the aide had a vested interest. Meanwhile, the program, which was originally supposed to cost $38.5 million, remains uncompleted.

Count Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office is cooperating with the investigation.