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Archive for November 13th, 2013

Madigan warns of scams related to Temporary Driver’s Licenses

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan advised Illinois residents to be on the lookout for scams related to the rollout of the Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL) program by the Illinois Secretary of State. Starting today, non-U.S. citizens who are ineligible to obtain Social Security cards may apply for Illinois driver’s licenses under the new program.

Madigan indicated her office already had received reports of driving schools soliciting more than $1,000 from undocumented immigrants for so-called “universal licenses” that are supposedly recognized in most states. Madigan’s office also received report of a scam targeting Illinois residents for hundreds of dollars supposedly to expedite a TVDL application.

“The only legitimate place you can apply for a temporary driver’s license is with the Secretary of State’s office,” Madigan said. “Other people who claim they can help get you a license or get it faster are only trying to scam you out of your money.”

“My office has spent the last 10 months meeting with immigrant advocacy organizations, legislators and interested citizens throughout the state to raise awareness on the procedures governing the application for and the issuance of TVDLs,” said Secretary of State Jesse White.  “A primary component of our presentations has focused on alerting the immigrant community to be on the lookout for scam artists. I applaud Attorney General Madigan for joining me in this effort and for her vigilance in this matter.”

The Attorney General said TVDL applications can only be processed at designated Secretary of State facilities after making an appointment with the Secretary of State. During the appointment, applicants will pay a $30 processing fee, complete a Verification of Residency Form and have to pass a vision, written and road exam. The Secretary of State then will verify the information provided by the applicant and, if approved, the TVDL is mailed to the applicant’s home approximately 15-20 days after the appointment.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam, Madigan offered the following tips to consumers:

Do not pay companies upfront fees to help you obtain a driver’s license. The Secretary of State’s office is the only designated issuer of TVDLs.

Do not pay a fee to schedule an appointment with the Secretary of State. A fee is not required to make an appointment. Also, there is no way to expedite the appointment or the application process.

Avoid offers for a “universal license” that is valid for driving in other states – there is no such thing.

Beware of anyone promising to “clear your record” and obtain a TVDL for you immediately. If you have previously had a driver’s license under a false Social Security number or had a DUI conviction in the past, you may still be eligible for a TVDL. However, you may need to comply with additional requirements before applying. Please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com for more information.

Do not go to a notario or notary public to obtain a driver’s license. Only the Secretary of State’s office can provide you with a valid license in Illinois.

Madigan encouraged Illinois residents to contact her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline with questions or to report potential scams:

1-800-386-5438 (Chicago)
1-800-243-0618 (Springfield)
1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)

1-866-310-8398 (en Espanol)

The Illinois Commission to End Disparities Facing the African American Community hosts Public Hearing

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Commission to End Disparities Facing the African American Community co-chaired by Senator Mattie Hunter (3rd District), and Representative Monique Davis (27th District) will host a public hearing in the South Suburbs to discuss disparities in the African American communities across the Southland Region.

The Commission is expected to hear testimony from community residents on issues ranging from healthcare, health services, education, criminal justice, housing, and other social issues to government contracting, employment, and other economic concerns.

The Illinois Commission to End Disparities was signed into law August, 2011 by Governor Quinn. The purpose of the Commission is to research the disparities facing African Americans, to hold public hearings and receive public testimony, as well as reporting findings and specific recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2013.

The upcoming public hearing is scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 (6:00 pm – 8:00 pm)

Brothers Keepers Outreach Church 283 East 14th Street – Lincoln Highway Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411

Members of the public are encouraged to participate and voice concerns.

For more information please contact the Illinois African-American Family Commission at: 312.326.0368.

Illinois Department of Human Rights Director Rocco Claps Inducted into Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) Director Rocco J. Claps today was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his service to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) community, and for his work as a longtime public servant in the state of Illinois.

“I’m deeply humbled by this honor and proud to be recognized by Chicago’s LGBT community,” Director Claps said. “I’m also very proud to work for Governor Pat Quinn, who, in word and deed, has been a longtime champion and unwavering supporter of the LGBT community. He believes in the mission of our Department and in inclusion for all, and I’m glad that I live in a state that does as well.”

On November 5, 2013, the Illinois Legislature passed the Marriage Equality bill, making Illinois the 15th state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. Governor Quinn has promised to sign the measure, which will take effect June 1, 2014.

“I congratulate Director Claps on this worthy inclusion into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. He is a strong, longtime member of my cabinet and I’m proud of the work he has done and continues to do for the people of Illinois,” said Governor Pat Quinn.

Claps, 52, is the first openly gay cabinet official in Illinois history. He was appointed IDHR director in 2003 and has become the Department’s longest-serving director. Under Claps’ leadership, IDHR was instrumental in passing legislation to include sexual orientation to the state’s Human Rights Act in 2005, making Illinois the 15th state to offer such protections. Claps also created a Fair Housing Division within the Department, which has effectively enhanced the Department’s service to the public. He also established numerous avenues to reach out to Illinois’ immigrant communities.

Claps began his career in public service as a Communications and Special Projects Coordinator for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan from 1987 to 1992. During that time, he worked on expanding Hate Crimes legislation to include punishments for anti-gay and lesbian acts of violence. Claps, additionally, held several federal positions in the Administration of President Bill Clinton between 1993 and 1999, highlighted by his tenure as Chief of Staff of the 1996 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago. Claps also held a key post within the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as Director of Scheduling and Advance for then-Secretary Donna E. Shalala.

On Tuesday, Claps was one of 14 honorees inducted at a ceremony led by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday night at the Chicago History Museum. Claps was lauded for his public service in political and government roles as an openly gay man and for advancing LGBT rights.

Hosted by the City of Chicago since 1991, the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame is the country’s only known government-sponsored hall-of-fame that honors members of the LGBT communities. The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to recognize the achievements of LGBT Chicagoans, their contributions to the development of the city of Chicago, and the help they have provided to others.

Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against should contact IDHR. IDHR’s main office is located in the James R. Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph, 10th Floor, Chicago, 60601, with other offices located in Springfield and Marion. IDHR can be contacted by dialing (312) 814-6200 (general), (312) 814-6229 (housing inquiries), and (866)740-3953 (TTY), (800) 662-3942 (toll free), or go to the agency’s website for additional information: www.illinois.gov/dhr.

State Health Department releases Roadmap for the Future of Public Health in Illinois

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois headed for national public health accreditation

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Embracing the goal of improving public health for all Illinoisans and the need for government transparency, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is releasing its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018. The strategic plan is a roadmap for IDPH to build the capacity of the Department to better meet the public health needs of all people and communities in Illinois. The plan is also crucial as IDPH works toward becoming a nationally accredited public health department in an effort to improve the quality and performance of the Department in serving all Illinois residents.

“We started developing the strategic plan by asking, how do we (as a Department) maximize our effectiveness, influence and value in promoting health equity, safety and improved health outcomes for residents here in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “After a year of hard work, I am excited to present a plan that will help us better direct our efforts to serve the citizens of Illinois as we work to become a mission-driven, high-impact, Illinois Department of Public Health.”

The plan focuses on five strategic priorities: partnership development; data quality, utilization and dissemination; reducing health disparities; regulatory improvement; and branding, marketing and communication. The plan also emphasizes creating a culture of measuring performance, quality improvement and customer service, as well as aligning the Department with the State Health Improvement Plan.

A strategic plan is among the requirements for becoming a nationally accredited health department. Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board signifies that a health department is meeting national standards for ensuring essential public health services are provided in the community. Accreditation increases accountability and credibility to stakeholders, partners and communities, and it better prepares the Department to proactively respond to emerging and reemerging health challenges.

First organized in 1877, IDPH is one of the state’s oldest agencies with an annual budget of approximately $500 million, with headquarters in Springfield and Chicago and with seven regional offices, three laborato­ries and approximately 1,100 employees. The mission of IDPH is to protect the health and wellness of the people in Illinois through the prevention, health promotion, regulation, and the control of disease and injury. With more than 200 programs, IDPH promotes healthy living through education, science-based practices and by encouraging disease prevention and control. Through a diversity of programs and services, IDPH touches virtually every age, aspect and stage of an individual’s life and makes Illinois a safer and healthier place to live. These programs and services include:

• Childhood immunization
• Food, water and drug testing
• Hospital and nursing home licensure
• Infectious disease control
• Chronic disease control
• Vital records
• Health statistics collection and evaluation
• Newborn screenings for genetic disorders
• Women’s health promotion
• Emergency management system licensure
• Emergency preparedness
• Workforce development

For a copy of the plan and to learn more about how it was created, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf.

Dr. Hasbrouck will also present his vision for IDPH at the City Club of Chicago on December 10, 2013

Fact Track on Aging: Social Security denied to many ethnic elders

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

FACT TRACK ON AGING: Social Security Denied to Many Ethnic Elders

New America Media

By Paul Kleyman

Even in this period of intense national debate over the National Debt, Americans fiercely want to protect Social Security from benefit cuts. But while 40 million seniors received retirement support from the program in 2012, about one in 10 seniors in the United States don’t qualify for Social Security, leaving many without a safety net.

Of the approximately 4 million U.S. seniors not receiving Social Security old age support, a disproportionate one-third are ethnic elders. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, one-in-six African American, one fifth of Latino—and nearly one-in-three (29 percent) Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) seniors cannot draw on the national retirement pension program to make financial ends meet

African Americans “Under the Radar”

Many older African Americans who don’t qualify for Social Security “have lived under the radar because they have worked in domestic roles and been paid cash for their labors” with no contributions going to the program, said Karyne Jones, president and CEO of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA) based in Washington, D.C.

Jones continued, “With most women, it’s the child rearing and caregiving years that don’t rake up any credit towards Social Security.” She added, “Let us not forget chronic unemployment.”

Also affecting access to Social Security support, she and other experts said, may be the high incarceration level among black men. As they get released at older ages, many will end up with little or no Social Security benefits. This would leave their spouses with inadequate incomes later in life.

Because the Social Security Administration calculates retirement benefits based on credits people receive for at least 40 quarters of covered work—10 years’ worth during one’s working life, she said, many African Americans paid cash or under the table don’t realize they benefit from the program “until it’s too late.”

Ineligibility for Social Security is particularly high for immigrants. Many who arrive at age 50 or older end up with very low coverage or none at all. About half of Hispanic seniors in the U.S. and 80 percent of older Asian Americans who receive no Social Security support are either naturalized citizens or immigrants.

While undocumented immigrants are flatly ineligible for U.S. benefits, many legally present immigrants do not have enough documented years of work to quality for eligibility.

Financial security for the growing number of black and other ethnic elders is a looming issue. A poll released in September [[http://bit.ly/HtgFq5] by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found, “Nearly half of black Americans (46 percent) — and about a third of white Americans (36 percent) — say they would ‘like to save for retirement, but don’t seem to have enough money to do so.’”

Wilhelmina Leigh, who coauthored the survey report, stated in an earlier study, “Modifying the Social Security system must include voices of African Americans and other racial/ethnic subpopulations whose dependence on the system is great, but whose patterns of usage may differ from the norm.”

Barriers Facing Immigrants

Making ends meet is especially difficult for Asian retirees. Those who do get Social Security checks average $2,000 a year ($13,066) less than the total for all U.S. retirees, says a 2011 report from the Insight Center. Pacific Islanders receive even smaller benefits–if any at all–says the study. For instance, Native Hawaiian seniors, because so many had low-wage jobs, average Social Security benefits of less than half that of other Hawaiian elders, including other Asians.

The Insight Center report’s author Meizhu Lui noted cultural and other barriers to assistance for Asian and other immigrants. “Language barriers lead to a lack of knowledge about the Social Security program,” she wrote.

Among other barriers to Social Security that Asian elders encounter, says Lui, are “cultural aversions to large bureaucracies, pride in being independent and a fear of government based on home-country experiences can make eligible foreign-born Asian seniors hesitant to apply.”

A University of Southern California analysis of Latino retirement cites another reason for many low-income immigrants. It calls agricultural labor “a telling example of sub-minimum wage employment where salaries and Social Security contributions for workers often go unreported.”

Ironically, the Social Security Administration has estimated that unauthorized immigrants contributed more than $12 billion alone to the program’s trust fund in 2010 more than the $1 billion the agency says it paid out in fraudulent benefits to undocumented residents. Many undocumented immigrants pay into the system through jobs they got using fake Social Security cards. But they can never collect benefits when they need them.

New America Media: “Fact Track on Aging” is a new monthly column on research findings about ethnic elders present and future. It is supported by a grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Fight continues to tear down Memorial to Jim Jones

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Pastor Jynona Norwood

New book honors the children

By Dr. Barbara Reynolds

“TEAR DOWN THAT WALL” was once the cry of former President Ronald Reagan to tear down a barrier between East and West Germany that walled in hatred for one another.

That wall did come down. Pastor Jynona Norwood carries a similar hope that a wall commemorating those involved in the murder and forced suicide of more than 900 innocent people, including 305 children ranging from ages 3 months to 18 years, will also come down. The innocents died in a South American jungle of Guyana upon the orders of Rev. Jim Jones, who had promised a socialist paradise that turned into a slave camp; then a death trap.

In 1979, Norwood organized the first community memorial in San Francisco amidst a standing-room-only crowd of bewildered and shocked San Franciscans and dignitaries. From walk-a-thons to prayer vigils a dedicated committee continues their valuable work in remembering the children who were there through no fault of their own.

Every year, they pause to reflect at the mass gravesite, where 406 bodies lay, including 40 infants in Oakland. Norwood has dogged determination to ensure that we never forget Jonestown and never forget that Jim Jones has been honored on the children’s sacred final resting place by his followers and family.

Pastor Norwood calls the current memorial the “Wall of Shame” as it places Jones alongside the innocent children. With the support of more than 100 celebrities and political leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House, the impassioned pastor envisions a new memorial that cherishes the memory of the children.

In a recent letter to Pastor Norwood, Pelosi said, “Cherishing the Children Memorial Wall will provide a place of comfort and solace to the Children’s relatives and loved ones as well as to those who wish to honor the memory of Congressman Leo Ryan and all those who lost their lives.”

This memorial would honor the innocent victims, including Rep. Leo Ryan, who was also murdered in the Jonestown massacre and not the shameful perpetrators, Norwood said.

In addition to Pelosi, she has garnered the backing of many other notables over the years.

“My special gratitude goes to Dr. Jynona Norwood for her remarkable compassion and determination to gather the funds and resources needed for your memorial,” wrote then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif) applauded Norwood for her perseverance. “Thank you for all of the work you are doing to create this memorial and your commitment to those in our community most in need.”

Norwood is pastor of Miracles of Action Faith Center, which is formerly Family Christian Cathedral in Inglewood, Calif. Four decades ago, the young evangelist had a warning dream of tragedy awaiting those who would follow Jim Jones from his California churches to Jonestown.

She vigorously warned against making the trip to Guyana. Her warning went unheeded and 27 loved ones in her own family, including her beloved mother with her 3-month-old Charles Garry Henderson, perished. Fortunately, she kidnapped/rescued her son who was being raised by her family while she traveled as a minister, forcing him not to go to Jonestown with their family, a courageous move that saved his life.

Shortly after the massacre, Norwood started a campaign and a fundraising drive to honor the 305 children and Congressman Ryan. Her plans were sadly interrupted when, in her words, “A shameful wall that includes the name of the perpetrator of these horrors, alongside the names of the innocent children was erected at Evergreen, the mass gravesite where 40 infants and most all of the 305 innocent children lay in their final resting place. All public donations went to Evergreen’s vendor as ordered by Evergreen. Not one penny ever went to a private individual.”

In an effort to keep public attention and public pressure on erecting the new wall and honoring the children who are the true victims of Jonestown, Norwood is releasing a book called Remember Me Today, Look at me Tomorrow on November 18th, the 35th anniversary of Jonestown.

The new book is the first of a 10 volume series which, through interviews with their parents, children and other loved ones, look to the future of who the children might have been and what they could have accomplished had they been allowed to live. Would they have been scientists, teachers, preachers, athletes, a Nobel Peace Prize winner or the President of the United States of America? To stress the point of their future even further, Norwood’s book also features age progressions, which are enhanced photographs of the children of how they aged and would look today if they had lived and fulfilled their destinies.

Norwood said, “The book will examine what lessons can be learned from their lives. What lessons can be learned from their death? Some actually saw the abuse before their family left for Jonestown but were either unable to communicate it to their families or were ignored when they did. This book includes family friendly resources on how to keep your children safe, who to call and information that will lead your children to safety when in dangerous situations.”

Norwood appropriately contrasts the murders in Jonestown with the more recent deaths at Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Imagine – if you will – that a memorial was erected to the victims of Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings, and that the names of the shooters were included on the memorial to the victims as victims themselves? Would you not be outraged? This is exactly what has happened in Oakland at the site of the memorial to the victims of Jonestown.

Pre-ordering of the Children’s Tribute Edition, Look at Me Today, Remember Me Tomorrow,will start on the 35th year anniversary, November 18th, on the website www.305ICANR.com. The first 1,000 pre-orders will receive the book at retail price and the DVD version at a discounted rate of $10.00 on December 8. The E-Book version will be released before December 8th . Supporters will gather at the official 35th Annual Jonestown Memorial for the 305 Innocent Children, Congressman Leo Ryan and the over 900 victims on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 11 a.m. at the Evergreen Cemetery, 6450 Camden Avenue, Oakland, Calif. Fraternities, speakers, singers, dancers and children will be performing to honor and remember the true victims.

Photo Captions: Dr. Barbara Reynolds and Pastor Jynona Norwood

Nina Raine’s Tribes, the sharp and funny tale of one family’s search for a common language, is on stage starting December 5

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Steppenwolf Theatre Company expands outreach to Disability Community through Community Partnerships and added accessible performances

CHICAGO, IL – Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s highly anticipated Chicago-premiere production of Tribes by Nina Raine, following the hit Off-Broadway production in 2012. Ensemble member Austin Pendleton is at the helm of what The Wall Street Journal hailed as “the best-written, best-plotted, deepest, most daring—and funniest—new play in recent years.” The cast of six features ensemble members Alana Arenas, Francis Guinan and Molly Regan with Steve Haggard, Helen Sadler, and John McGinty in the central role of Billy; McGinty joins the cast direct from Guthrie Theater’s production in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tribes begins previews December 5, 2013 (opening night is December 15; press performances are December 14 at 3pm and December 17 at 7:30pm) and runs through February 9, 2014 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – 82) are on sale now at steppenwolf.org.

Billy’s intellectual and proudly eccentric English family is its own tiny empire: private languages, in-jokes and fiery arguments. Billy, deaf since birth (McGinty, also deaf since birth), is the only one who truly listens. When he meets his girlfriend Sylvia (Arenas), he is introduced to a larger Deaf community, which sparks a struggle for self-identity and rebellion against his family. Tribes is a sharp, witty story about finding the place where you can be heard—and a family that feels like home.

“When I first read Tribes, I knew immediately that we must produce it here at Steppenwolf. I think the play speaks to all of us. It doesn’t matter that our family might not include a person who is hard of hearing. The huge struggle in every family, it seems to me, is how to balance the cohesion of our ‘tribe’ and the imperative of individuality,” notes Artistic Director Martha Lavey. “We are deeply and uniquely known in family. We are also, I would suggest, our own great mystery there.”

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is strongly committed to making all subscription and Steppenwolf for Young Adults productions accessible by offering American Sign Language-interpreted, open-captioned and audio-described performances, available for $20 for patrons utilizing these programs and their guests. Steppenwolf was named Best Accessible Theatre by the membership of Deaf Illinois in 2011, and was nominated again in 2013 for these efforts. For Tribes, Steppenwolf builds on this foundation by presenting eight additional performances featuring ASL interpretation or open captioning, donating tickets to area Deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations, and adding captioning for online video content. The Tribes Outreach Committee, chaired by Equip for Equality attorney Rachel Arfa, was also formed to address the opportunities presented by this production.

The cast of Tribes features ensemble members Alana Arenas as Sylvia; Francis Guinan as Christopher; and Molly Regan as Beth; with Steve Haggard as Daniel; John McGinty as Billy; and Helen Sadler as Ruth.

The production team for Tribes includes: Walt Spangler (scenic design), Rachel Anne Healy (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), Josh Schmidt (sound design and original music) and John Boesche (projection design). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting), Michelle Medvin (stage manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager).

Tickets to Tribes ($20 – $82) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. For additional student discounts, visit steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups.

United is the Presenting Sponsor of Tribes. Allstate and Northern Trust are the Corporate Production Co-Sponsor of Tribes. Tribes is supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Madigan: Software Giant CA Technologies to pay $11 million for government billing fraud

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Former employee alleges company falsely billed hundreds of government agencies

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced CA Technologies has agreed to pay $11 million to settle whistleblower allegations that the software giant fraudulently billed hundreds of public agencies for software maintenance renewal contracts from 2001 through 2010.
The settlement stemmed from allegations asserted by former CA Technologies employee Ann-Marie Shaw in a 2006 whistleblower lawsuit out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Shaw alleged the Fortune 500 company, based in Islandia, NY, violated the federal False Claims Act and similar state and local statutes when it defrauded its government customers, including the Illinois State Police, federal agencies such as the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Gallery of Art.

“CA Technologies illegally profited by over-billing government agencies in Illinois and across the country,” Madigan said. “This settlement will ensure that the company is held accountable for its fraudulent acts and restore taxpayer funds to the agencies that were overcharged.”

CA Technologies customers who purchased maintenance renewal plans for its software licenses were entitled to free upgrades, resolutions for glitches and web-based technical support for terms of one to three years. Prior to the expiration of a maintenance plan, the company would alert customers to renew their plans and avoid lapses in these services.

However, when a customer did renew, the lawsuit alleged, instead of starting the renewal date at the end of the current plan, CA Technologies set the renewal period to begin on the day it processed the renewal order. In effect, it was alleged, customers paid twice for maintenance services in the period between ordering a renewal and the actual end of the current plan for which they already had paid.
The second fraudulent allegation covered in the settlement involved a contract CA Technologies had with the Department of Defense for prepaid software under a “blanket purchase agreement.” The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that the company steered Defense Department customers away from ordering software from inventory the department already had paid for and convinced them unwittingly to spend more money to buy the same products through third-party vendors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York spearheaded the federal and multi-state legal action with assistance from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the Department of Defense. Madigan’s office and the New York attorney general’s office led the states’ efforts to negotiate the settlements, which involved eight states, the District of Columbia and hundreds of local government entities.

Assistant Attorneys General Jennifer Zlotow and Christopher J. Kim handled the case for Madigan’s Special Litigation Bureau.

Veteran and Community Innovators Fight Back Against Recession

Posted by Admin On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SBND extends appreciation awards to veteran and community enterprises for creating jobs, tax revenues and new legal enterprises in a poor economy…

CHICAGO, IL On Friday, December 6, 2013, at the 2013 SBND Appreciation Awards Expo, a local community enterprise support network, SSN Small Business & Nonprofit Development Group (SBND), will publically recognize elected officials, prominent corporations and social enterprises who invest in U.S. Veteran and Community Innovations that help create jobs, tax revenues and new legal enterprises throughout Illinois, Cook County and Chicago neighborhoods impacted most by recession. The event kicks off at 9:00 AM and will be at the historic Fine Arts Building, Curtiss Hall, 410 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605.

Notable SBND Premier Partner and Sponsor awardees include, Mark S. Allen, Chairman, National Black Wall Street Chicago; Dr. Karin B. Baird, PhD., Acting Director, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership; Johnnie Blair, Founder, President & CEO, Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce; Naomi Davis, President, Blacks In Green; Michael House, President (Retired), Chicago Defender; Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes, Senior Pastor/Teacher, West Point Missionary Baptist Church; Debbie Meyers-Martin, Program Coordinator/Community, Affairs Marketing Specialist, Office of Illinois State Treasurer; Barry Moltz, President, Shafran Moltz Group; Dante L. Mosely, V.P., Business Development Branch Manager, Hyde Park Bank; Stephanie D. Neely, Treasurer, City of Chicago; Yvonne Orr, Chief Professional Officer, South-Southwest Suburban Region United Way; Erica Sevilla, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Verizon Wireless; and Mary L. Swopes, President/CEO, Mahogany Scholarship Heritage Foundation.

During the awards expo, prominent expert panelist speakers will provide practical methodologies for growing and maintaining successful enterprises in a poor economy. For more information about the event and SBND, visit thier website at www.sbnd-bizhelp.com, email sbnd@ssncandoit.com or phone (773) 614-7619.

SBND functions as a “self-help” business support network with a mission to provide hands-on strategic organization planning, innovation support and fund development initiatives to start and grow prosperous community enterprises in Illinois, Cook County and Chicago.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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