A former Illinois Department of Transportation official who was fined for allegedly campaigning while on the state clock remains the top candidate to replace convicted former Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, the aldermen with the most say in the decision said today.
“My support has not wavered, based on this incident alone,” Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, said of the Tribune’s report that Stanley Moore was fined $3,000 after a state ethics commission determined he did campaign work for a failed state legislative campaign during hours he was getting paid to work for IDOT. “I think Mr. Moore is still the leading candidate.”
Brookins will run a Thursday meeting of Democratic ward and township committeemen from Beavers’ former County Board district, which extends from the South Side into the south suburbs.
Each committeemen has a weighted vote, based on the number of Democratic voters within their wards or townships in the 2010 general election. Brookins backs Moore and has the most votes, but he must form coalitions for Moore to prevail.
Moore, a former deputy director for IDOT, acknowledged he was “let go” from his $86,388-a-year job in April 2009, less than a month before the ethics probe into his conduct was launched. The state ethics commission fined him $3,000 in October 2010 — a penalty Moore paid off Tuesday, two days before tomorrow’s meeting.
The pressure is on Democratic committeemen to find an unblemished candidate, with recent scandals augmenting the party’s reputation for corruption among its ranks. Last month a jury found Beavers, who also served many years as a Chicago alderman, guilty of taking campaign and county expense money for personal use without paying taxes.
“I would hope they would pick a credible candidate that can represent everyone,” said Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Berrios, who is not one of the committeemen who will be selecting the replacement. “I would hope that they would pick someone aboveboard.”
In addition to Beavers’ recent conviction, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and spouse former Ald. Sandi Jackson, 7th, pleaded guilty in February to illegally converting campaign funds for personal use. Authorities said the money paid for a holistic retreat, a cruise, pricey restaurant tabs, flat-screen televisions and even two stuffed elk heads.
Moore is among several candidates seeking Beavers’ spot for the remainder of his term, which lasts through late 2014.
Moore, 44, said he was dismissed from IDOT because a new administration was “going to take the department in a different direction” a few months after Gov. Pat Quinn first took office.
Moore said it had nothing to do with the allegations against him, which came later.
Moore said he could have proved the accusations wrong but did not have the resources to fight the charges, which were aired at a hearing in Springfield at which he did not testify.
“I disagree with the commission’s findings — respectfully disagree,” he said. “I just took my punch, paid my administrative fine and let it go, because it was too costly to fight.”
Brookins suggested the allegations against Moore were the result of taking on incumbent state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“Politics in Chicago is a full contact sport,” Brookins said. “I think that when people are running against you, as a public official you do everything you can to dirty them up.”
The probe of Moore by the state executive inspector general’s office led to an October 2010 finding that Moore clocked into work on three days when he was elsewhere soliciting campaign donations during his failed 2008 Democratic primary run against Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago.
Moore told investigators that on two of those days he went to IDOT work meetings, but the sign-in sheets did not show he attended, according to the finding by the state Executive Ethics Commission.
The ethics commission fined Moore $3,000. He made an initial payment of $100, and a check for the remaining $2,900 was received by the commission Tuesday, said Chad Fornoff, the agency’s executive director.
The only punishment available for the commission was to fine Moore up to $5,000 because Moore already had left state government, Fornoff said. Moore left IDOT in April 2009. That same month, the commission received a complaint about Moore’s alleged violations from the inspector general’s office.
Moore later went to work for the county as a capital planning manager and now owns and runs Judy’s Grill, a restaurant in the Brookins’ ward.
Noting Moore’s past government work, including jobs as a state legislative budget analyst and officials for both the United Negro College Fund and the United Way of Chicago, Brookins said that record overshadows an infraction he considers “minor.”
“I think it’s something to take into consideration, but I think I think you also take into consideration the life’s work of a person, instead of just one indiscretion,” Brookin said. “People tend to do (personal) things while they are at work."