Donna Dunnings said she was “shocked” when her cousin, Cook County President Todd Stroger, fired her at 10 p.m. last Thursday over the potential political fallout concerning her dealings with her former secretary, Tony Cole.Even Stroger explained it as trying to help a young black man. Like I said it's very easy to peg this situation as a "patronage" hire that went wrong. Perhaps the willingness to help this flawed young man was very genuine, but Stroger would just say that it didn't work out.
In an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday, Dunnings said she never had a physical relationship with Cole — a busboy with a criminal past whom Stroger hired in October to a county patronage job, promoted to a $61,000-a-year human resources post and fired earlier this month for lying about his criminal past on a job application. Cole also told the Sun-Times after he was fired that he was not involved with Dunnings.
Stroger “felt with all the allegations and things surrounding the whole situation that it would be better for me to step down,” Dunnings said. “I was shocked, but that happens in life. I trusted his judgment and his leadership. I know he would not do anything that was not in my best interest.”
Dunnings said she “loves” Stroger and doesn’t harbor any ill will against him. But he left her in a terrible spot.
Dunnings suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a single mother of two girls — one who has a traumatic brain injury. At the end of the month, Dunnings will be without county health insurance and forced to come up with $1,517-a-month for COBRA coverage without a steady paycheck.
“Am I worried about having health insurance for my kids? There are some concerns there, but no fear,” Dunnings said. “God is going to take care of me.”
Of course, the question could be begged. Was this all about the hiring of someone who was flawed? Also where did the sexual relationship angle come from if both Dunnings and Cole denies such a relationship?
I saw an interview Todd Stroger did with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight earlier this week. Stroger seems incredibly defensive and was very ready to either move on to other subjects or cut the interview off entirely. Even took a shot at the "fair and balanced" reporting of WTTW. He was stung because they questioned him so hard and seemingly Stroger didn't handle it too well.
BTW, remember this from over two years ago?
How about a blog about Todd Stroger (Hat-tip to Bill Baar's West Side)? Or is it Todd Stroger's Blog. I think it might be serious, but then again it can be very convincing satire. One thing that might be official about it is the official links to all the branches and operations of Cook County government from mugshots of Sex Offenders, to the Court System. There is even a site that makes "Todd Stroger (?)" laugh. There are only two posts there this month or in fact for the whole existence of the blog since it started this month.I forgot to link to his blog at the time although I probably linked to it a couple of more times. I thought it was a joke, but watching that interview has convinced me after all this time that it really was him. It talks in his voice and it's really not the type that can either be memorable or keep your attention.
That blog is embarrassing and perhaps even a testament to the idea that he really wasn't ready for his position as the head of one of America's most populous counties. I showed an out of state friend about it and he said for a guy who is president of a county this really looks like something that was thrown together.
It was often said that John Stroger groomed Todd for eventually taking his place. I wonder what daddy Stroger thinks now.