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Cook County's $90 Million Fuzzy Math

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 11, 2011 3:00PM

2011_6_11_cook_county_seal.jpg We wonder how long County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will be cleaning up the messes of her predecessor. Preckwinkle had to release a statement yesterday after it was revealed that $90 million in revenue was double counted by Todd Stroger's administration last year, yet another blunder from the Stroger Administration to fall on Preckwinkle's lap.

“It is in commitment to transparency and accountability to the residents of Cook County that I am putting out this statement,” Preckwinkle said. “We are currently in a process of cleaning up our financial house. We walked in the door with not only a $487 million deficit but no short- or long-term financial plans in place.”

Preckwinkle's staff found the discrepancies while preparing for a routine audit of the 2010 fiscal year. They discovered duplicate entries for sales tax revenue and cigarette tax revenue: $66 million and $24 million, respectively.

The employee responsible for the error, Faisal Abbasi, was fired earlier this year and questioned by County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard yesterday about the error. Abbasi contended that someone else made the double entry.

Preckwinkle also stressed that the clerical error would not have any effect on the $3 billion county budget.