Lester: COD hearing officer quits days after hiring
The College of DuPage's hearing officer has resigned less than a week after he was appointed to deal with the legal aftermath of the firing of two top financial officers.
College lawyer Tim Elliot says Joseph Morris, a former assistant attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and once an editor for the conservative American Spectator magazine, informed him Thursday that he was "declining to proceed" in the position.
Morris' resignation came shortly after a May 2014 complaint by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission began circulating. The complaint alleges a lack of diligence and misrepresentation in a 2007 case involving a home improvement business owner. ARDC spokesman Jim Grogan tells me a hearing on the complaint was originally scheduled for next Tuesday but has been moved to Nov. 10.
Morris could not be reached for comment.
Morris was to have conducted the private post-termination hearings for COD Treasurer Thomas Glaser and Controller Lynn Sapyta, who were fired this month after being on paid leave since June. Board officials said they were terminated for violating the school's investment practices and for accounting problems tied to Waterleaf, the college's high-end restaurant.
College spokesman Randy Samborn said appointing a replacement for Morris "will happen expeditiously."
Lining up votes
Samborn says that issue is not why last Thursday's board meeting -- where the college trustees could have continued on the path toward firing embattled President Robert Breuder -- was postponed.
Samborn says it was because of a schedule conflict with a board member whose vote was needed to pass COD's budget for the next fiscal year.
The board is scheduled to meet tonight, and a hearing officer item is posted on its agenda.
Local Walker backers regroup
In the aftermath of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's decision to drop out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary, a wave of suburban Republicans have shifted their support to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign.
State' Sen. Michael Connelly, a Wheaton Republican, chairs Rubio's Illinois campaign. He says he showed interest in the position, dubbing Rubio part of the "aspirational wave" of the party, and shortly after, found himself at a sitdown with the candidate in Chicago to talk about the job.
According to Connelly, more than 30 local Republican officials are supporting Rubio, including state senators Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove and Jason Barickman of Bloomington, state Rep. Barbara Wheeler of Crystal Lake and her brother, former U.S. Senate candidate Al Salvi of Wauconda, and former candidate for state treasurer Bob Grogan of Downers Grove. Oberweis, who calls Rubio a "fresh face and fresh voice" tells me he's also working to bring Chicago African-American pastors on board for Rubio.
Park Ridge's iconic Pickwick Restaurant, a favorite spot of 2016 presidential hopeful and hometown girl Hillary Clinton, reopened last week with a facelift and a new menu. Tim Griffin, who ran the now-closed N9NE Steakhouse in Chicago for 14 years, took over the Prospect Avenue icon in January, gutting it and giving it a feel he describes as "modern and comfortable with hints of art deco." He's also shortened the name to The Pick."
And, diner food begone. Look for menu items including smoked brisket, ribs, and mac and cheese.
"We do have some nice steaks, but by no means is it a steakhouse," Griffin says.
After a week of national media coverage because of the presence of Legionella bacteria at several of U-46 schools, district CEO Tony Sanders is inviting reporters to stick around to talk about test scores and other more positive developments.
Schneider to speak
Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider of Bartlett will address the City Club of Chicago Oct. 19.
Tim and Timmie Rappé of Warrenville sent this one in as they're conducting a baseball and softball camp in Dubai this week for the Cincinnati Reds. Next week, the Rappés are off to Qatar to do the same.