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Archive for December 8th, 2015

Raoul, Black Caucus Call for Expanded Department Of Justice Investigation in Chicago

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Request federal probe into IPRA, Office of Cook County State’s Attorney

 

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and the other 31 members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus called for an expanded investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into not only the Chicago Police Department, but the Independent Police Review Authority and the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the ILBC expressed support for this morning’s announcement that the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is initiating a patterns and practices investigation into the CPD but asked the federal agency to press farther by examining the entire apparatus through which allegations of police misconduct are addressed in Chicago.

“As a former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, I am proud to join in the Black Caucus’ call for an expanded investigation,” Raoul said. “I know that there are many hard-working assistant state’s attorneys and police officers serving and protecting the people of Chicago. But there are also strong indications that a culture exists in which some are pressured to tolerate or even cover up excessive force and discriminatory policing.”

While sweeping law enforcement reforms Raoul and his House colleague, Representative Elgie Sims, sponsored this year will take effect on January 1, 2016, Raoul and Sims pledged to use their positions as chairs of their chambers’ judiciary committees to further additional policies addressing police misconduct and excessive force. They will continue to work with the Attorney General and with the Commission on Police Professionalism, which their legislation created to study and propose a system of licensing police officers, as many other states do.

“As a legislator, I will continue to craft policies that can prevent these inexcusable tragedies from occurring in the future, but I will also advocate for a full, external investigation that will reveal the truth the public deserves,” Raoul said. “Now that Attorney General Lynch has sent the Department of Justice to Chicago, it is important that we not squander this opportunity to uncover every practice, every policy and every system that enables chronic miscarriages of justice.”

December 7, 2015

The Honorable Loretta Lynch
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

On December 1, 2015, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested an investigation by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division of the Chicago Police Department. Specifically, Attorney General Madigan asked for an examination of the CPD’s use of force, including deadly force; the adequacy of CPD’s review and investigation of officers’ use of force and allegations of misconduct; the CPD’s provision of training, equipment, and supervision to officers to allow them to do their job safely and effectively and whether there is a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing. We, the members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, strongly supported the investigation request and are pleased with the announcement that the DOJ will initiate a pattern and practice investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

Despite internal investigations and the work of the Independent Police Review Authority, officers within the Chicago Police Department rarely face consequences, criminal or disciplinary, for excessive use of force. The citizens of Chicago have lost confidence in their police department’s ability and desire to serve and protect every citizen. Therefore, we respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division extend the investigation into patterns and practices of the Chicago Police Department to also determine whether there are systematic violations of the Constitution or federal law by the Independent Police Review Authority and/or the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney.

The fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald and the overall increase in shootings of unarmed African-Americans in Chicago illustrate a troubling pattern of conduct that has detrimentally eroded the trust that must exist between a community and the law enforcement agencies sworn to protect, maintain public safety and accomplish justice. Yet the practices that have severed the cords of trust in Chicago are not limited to the Chicago Police Department. The crisis of confidence stems also from actual and perceived delays in the investigation of officer-involved deaths and the use of excessive force, allegations and perceptions of selective prosecution and the failure of meaningful oversight and discipline of police at the local level.

As Attorney General Madigan noted, the Independent Police Review Authority has investigated nearly 400 officer-involved incidents since 2007, but has found the officer’s actions unjustified in only one of these instances. Recent data also shows that only three percent of public complaints result in discipline of an officer; yet, the City of Chicago has paid more than $500 million in police misconduct settlements since 2004.

Lorenzo Davis, an IPRA supervisor terminated from his position in July of this year, has said that the Scott Ando, chief administrator of the agency, asked him and others to change his findings to favor police officers in three cases. Ando’s resignation was announced December 6 without explanation. While it is important to remove all individuals who overlook wrongdoing from their positions, it is clear that an independent and impartial probe is needed to investigate these serious allegations so members of the public know they have genuine, unbiased recourse when they make complaints of unjust treatment by Chicago Police Department officers.

Ensuring public trust in the criminal justice system also requires fair and impartial prosecution. State’s attorneys possess a high degree of discretion and power. The Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s history of delayed, opaque or nonexistent prosecutions of police officers accused of excessive force and other misconduct toward the public raises urgent questions about the effectiveness of this office under its current leadership in fulfilling its mandate to protect all residents in an even-handed, thorough and unbiased manner. It is time to review the practices and policies of the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney to ensure that every individual, whether citizen or law enforcement, is treated equally.

In particular, it is crucial to examine the felony review process – the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s front-line, street-level interaction with victims of alleged excessive force – to determine if there have been acts or omissions that thwart the prosecution of crimes committed by officers. In September, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Lattanzio was fired after a witness proved that Lattanzio had misrepresented statements she made to the felony review team. We do not believe this was an isolated incident. In fact, “60 Minutes” recently dubbed Chicago “the false confession capital of the United States.” It is simply not credible that this reputation was earned without the complicity of the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, both in felony review and at other levels.
In order to the restore the trust of all Chicagoans – particularly communities of color – in law enforcement, it is necessary to examine and address not only the police department itself, but the entire chain of response through which public complaints against law enforcement officers pass. We must have the greatest possible confidence in each individual’s access to justice, and we believe only an outside investigation of law enforcement, oversight and prosecution alike can restore that faith.

We have kept in contact and worked in concert with your office to address the above concerns through the medium of policy. We now respectfully request investigative action towards the Independent Police Review Authority and the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters further and assist you in any way.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

With sincere regards,

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Joint Caucus Chair
Representative Elgie Sims, Jr., Treasurer
Representative Carol Ammons, Secretary
Representative Litesa Wallace, Sargent at Arms
Senator Emil Jones III, Senate Chair
Representative Rita Mayfield, House Chair
Representative John Anthony
Assistant House Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth
Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne, Jr.
Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins
Representative Monique Davis
Representative William Davis
Representative Ken Dunkin
Representative Marcus Evans
Representative Mary E. Flowers
Representative La Shawn Ford
Representative Sonya M. Harper
Senator Napoleon Harris III
Senate Majority Caucus Whip Mattie Hunter
Senator Toi Hutchinson
Representative Eddie Jackson
Representative Thaddeus Jones
Representative Camille Lilly
Representative Christian Mitchell
Senator Kwame Raoul
Representative Pamela Reaves-Harris
Assistant House Majority Leader Al Riley
Representative Andre Thapedi

CBC Applauds the Decision of Attorney General Loretta Lynch to Initiate the DOJ Pattern-or-Practice Investigation Into the Chicago Police Department

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield released the following statement following the decision of Attorney General Loretta Lynch to initiate the Department of Justice’s pattern-or-practice investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

“The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has asserted for years that African Americans are treated unfairly and disproportionately in the criminal justice system.  The multiple shooting incidents involving police in Chicago and across the country serve as further proof that bias and excessive use of force by law enforcement are real in the African American community.

“Last week, led by Congressman Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), the CBC sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to initiate a pattern-or-practice investigation into the discriminatory policing by the Chicago Police Department.  These incidents are not isolated and reflect a pervasive pattern of racial bias in policing.  Today’s announcement from Attorney General Lynch is an opportunity to restore the trust of the American public in our criminal justice system and put an end to racial and discriminatory profiling by law enforcement once and for all.”

Community Organizations Rally, March and Take Creative Direct Action to Target a Shared Enemy: The Banks that Profit from Prisons, Gentrification and Climate Change

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

From: Rising Tide Chicago

Chicago, IL–One Hundred Chicagoans from a variety of movements joined up Monday to organize an event called ‘Flood the Banks!’, where they targeted various financial institutions that profit from prisons, home foreclosures, gentrification and climate change. Two bank branches, owned by Wells Fargo and Chase Bank in particular were disrupted by the protests.

This action comes during the COP21 Climate Talks in Paris, which organizers say are a prime example of how corporate profits are being prioritized over the well being of people. As was the case with the 20 previous talks, the negotiations are primarily being driven by political elites and multinational corporations that have no interest in solving the issue of climate change. Organizers thus called on people to work on creating communities that prioritize social good and ecological health rather than profit and capitalism.

During the first leg of the march, protesters marched to the 10 and 30 S Wacker building that houses both Chicago Mercantile Exchange offices and a Wells Fargo Bank branch. There, they called out Wells Fargo for its investments in Barnett Capital, a financial institution that is driving gentrification in Chicago’s Albany Park and Logan Square neighborhoods. Centro Autonomo, an organization currently campaigning to get Barnett Capital to cease tenant evictions in the Albany Park neighborhood delivered a letter to Wells Fargo outlining their role in the displacement of community members from their neighborhood. In addition, protesters also called out Wells Fargo’s investments in for-profit prisons and fossil fuels. Lastly, a connection was also made between tax breaks given to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and its donations to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for re-election, another instance of the rampant corruption at these institutions.

Protesters then marched to the Chase Bank branch on 230 W Monroe, where a group of ten went into the bank and unfurled a banner, that read “Chase Profits from Misery”, while chanting “What do we do with bad banks? We Chase them out!” and distributing fake money with skulls and crossbones to bank customers throughout the bank. After being escorted out of the bank by police, organizers with Black and Pink Chicago called them out for profiting from incarceration through a program called JPay in which prisoners are charged exorbitant fees to use their money, along with their funding of Enbridge which is building a network of new tar sands oil pipelines all over the midwest.

Event attendees and organizers called on these financial institutions to immediately cease funding irresponsible projects that cause misery. Instead, they emphasized the need for housing as a human right, prison abolition, and real solutions to the climate crisis. They stressed that an effective way to achieve this is to work together to implement deep change and build communities that work for everyone, not just the privileged and rich. “Once you start to think about the causes of these different issues, it’s easy to see how they are connected and how a tweak in the current system won’t solve the problem. We need deep, systemic change.” said Angie Viands of Rising Tide Chicago.

The action is part of Flood the System, a fall mobilization to flood, blockade, occupy and shut down the systems that jeopardize our future and was organized by 8th Day Center for Justice, Black and Pink Chicago, Centro Autónomo, Energy Action Coalition, NEXOS, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Rising Tide Chicago, We Are/Somos Logan Square

“I Served in Iraq, Would Trump Kick Me Out?”

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Letters to Editors

From: Shahriar Chowdhury, VoteVets.org

Munger to Prioritize Payments to Domestic Violence Shelters, Local Governments

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Munger: Legislation clears way for swift payment processing

Comptroller to expedite payments for domestic violence shelters

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Monday said legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor will allow her office to swiftly process payments for local governments, 911 emergency phone services, Lottery winners and domestic violence shelters.

Approved by the House last week, SB2039 unanimously passed the Senate Monday, and was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

“I have directed our staff to process payments for domestic violence shelters, local governments, 911 services and Lottery winners as soon we receive the necessary vouchers,” Munger said. “Domestic violence shelters have entered their sixth month without payments and are turning away women and children. Local governments also provide critical services to our families and communities. I am committed to ensuring these organizations and local governments are paid promptly so they can avoid further hardship.”

Munger noted that payments for local governments, 911 services, and the Lottery can be made swiftly because the necessary dollars are set aside in independent state funds dedicated to those purposes. However, domestic violence shelter payments come from the state’s General Revenue Fund, which currently has a nearly $7 billion bill backlog. To provide relief to those social service organizations, Munger has directed that domestic violence shelter payments be prioritized and paid upon receipt of a voucher from a state agency.

Munger encouraged shelters and other vendors with payment questions to contact the Budget Hotline she established at 1-855-IL-ASK-US. She applauded the General Assembly and Governor for reaching an agreement on the newly authorized funding, and encouraged all involved to build on that momentum.

“This legislation shows what is possible when leaders come together and put Illinois first,” Munger said. “I am hopeful that we will now take the next step by passing a comprehensive balanced budget with structural changes that allow us to grow our economy and put people back to work so that we can fund critical services.”

Chicago Stands With Ronald Johnson – Re-open the Case, Appoint a Special Prosecutor

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Statement From Black Lives Matter:

Re-open the Case of Ronald Johnson’s murder – Appoint a special prosecutor
 

The announcement made by State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, stating that charges will not be filed in the murder of Ronald Johnson by CPD officer George Hernandez, illustrate Alvarez’s refusal to hold police accountable for the killing of innocent civilians. Alvarez began the press conference by stating that Johnson “fit the description” of a suspect because he was wearing a dark hoody. She proceeded to state that Hernandez’s “frame of mind” was important in considering accountability. She then showed a highly pixelated version of the dashcam video, showing that Johnson was running away from Hernandez. When asked by a reporter whether the dashcam video definitively showed Johnson holding a gun, Alvarez refused to answer.

She then showed a video of a police shooting that had nothing to do with Ronald Johnson, in effort to explain the possible “frame of mind” of George Hernandez in order to absolve of responsibility.

Instead of impartial, principled representation dedicated to serving the people of Chicago as Chief Prosecutor, Alvarez again operated instead, as chief defense attorney for the Chicago Police.

In a sworn deposition, Witness A reported that the “idea of a gun” came from detectives.  Witness A stated in the deposition, “I had no thought, or the idea of a gun- wasn’t a thing until they presented the idea to me.” In the sworn deposition, Witness A is asked “Did the idea of a gun come from the detectives, not you?” itnessA replies, “That is correct”. Witness A is asked, “Was it a lie that you thought it was a gun?” Witness A responds, “Yes, it was a lie that I thought it was a gun.”

Michael Oppenheimer, Ronald Johnson’s family attorney, reported that Alvarez refused to interview the officers involved in the shooting, including George Hernandez. Oppenheimer stated in addition, that Alvarez is now scapegoating the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) because the head, Scott Ando, conveniently announced his resignation, yesterday evening. We assert that Alvarez is shifting blame to IPRA in order to absolve herself from responsibility.

Alvarez represents the face of deep seated corruption that pervades every aspect of government in Chicago. Alvarez, CPD and the entire City government are guilty of covering up evidence of the murder of Ronald Johnson.

The inept and corrupt handling of both Laquan McDonald’s and Ronald Johnson’s cases, reveal complicity in cover ups that go all the way to the Mayor’s and State’s Attorney’s offices. It is not enough to force the resignation of police superintendent Gary McCarthy, the resignation of the head of IPRA, Scott Ando, and the resignation of CPD’s Chief of Detectives, Constantine Andrews. We call for the immediate resignation and criminal investigations of Anita Alvarez and Rahm Emanuel for the cover up of the murders of both Laquan McDonald and Ronald Johnson, both killed within 8 days of each other.

We demand the case be reopened and that a special prosecutor be assigned to review the case.

A protest was held yesterday at the site of Ronald Johnson’s murder demanding their resignations.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/876863899095873/

Organized in Partnership With:

Black Youth Project 100

chicago.chapter@byp100.org

http://www.BYP100.org/

                
FLY (Fearless Leading by the Youth)

http://www.stopchicago.org/p/fly.html                        

Assata’s Daughters

http://www.assatasdaughters.org/reach-out/

 

#LetUsBreatheCollective

http://www.letusbreathecollective.com/                                                       

About Black Lives Matter Chicago:
Black Lives Matter Chicago is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black peoples’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. Our priorities are to amplify our collective knowledge and applied practices toward abolishing anti-Blackness, and to honor the organizing and mobilization put forth by various Chicago based organizations, collectives, projects and individuals within the expansive, intersectional Black Lives Matter network.

Davis Funds Key Services for Domestic Violence Victims, Low-Income Residents and Emergency Services

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – This week, state Rep. William Davis, D-Chicago, voted for legislation to fund heating assistance for low-income families, domestic violence prevention, community initiatives and charitable causes benefitted by the Illinois State Lottery, which have all been hurt by the lack of a state budget.

“The budget is about real people, including our friends, our families and our neighbors,” said Davis. “We have a responsibility to fight for middle-class families and struggling families, which is central to why I am honored to serve as the voice for our area. They are who we should be fighting for.”

Davis helped passed Senate Bill 2039, legislation that would pay for vital state assistance programs, such as the low-income energy assistance program, that helps people afford to heat their homes. This measure would also fund domestic violence grants for shelters and services, law enforcement and firefighter training to help keep our community safe, and for needed local road maintenance.

In light of World Aids Day, which was on Dec. 1, Davis supports AIDS/HIV prevention services throughout the state, which also gain funding from Senate Bill 2039 through proceeds of the Illinois State Lottery. The lottery money is used as grants for specials causes such as Sclerosis research, Breast Cancer services, Special Olympic Charities, Veteran Service and AIDS/HIV prevention, but has been withheld by the unresolved budget.

“This week, I helped our state take one step forward in helping our low-income families and protecting our communities,” said Davis. “I plan to focus on what’s important for my community and not lose sight of the work that still needs to be done to help those most in need.”

For more information, contact Davis’s constituent office at 708-799-7300.

FBI, DHS, and Georgia Law Enforcement Promote the “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
The Atlanta Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security, Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC), and Crime Stoppers Atlanta, urge the public to remain vigilant as we go into the holiday season.

In an effort to better engage and protect the public, the entities mentioned above are promoting the DHS “If You See Something, Say SomethingTM” public awareness campaign.

The DHS “If You See Something, Say SomethingTM” national campaign raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime and serves to remind the public of the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. This campaign further notes that an informed and alert community plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe.

Individuals who wish to report suspicious activity in the state of Georgia can call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at (404) 577-8477 or the FBI Atlanta Field Office at (404) 679-9000, or contact local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.

For more information, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something

FBI Atlanta December 04, 2015
  • Special Agent Stephen Emmett (404) 679-6451

Madigan Announces Settlement With Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation for Kickback Allegations

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that Illinois reached an agreement to settle kickback claims against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“Novartis”). The settlement will resolve allegations that Novartis provided kickbacks to certain specialty pharmacies in exchange for recommending the drug Exjade to Medicaid and Medicare patients. Under the settlement, Novartis has agreed to pay $390 million to the United States and more than forty states. Illinois will receive nearly $4.5 million under the settlement.

In their court filings, the government plaintiffs alleged that Novartis paid kickbacks to the pharmacies to corrupt the pharmacies’ interactions with patients by inducing the pharmacies to exaggerate the dangers of not taking Exjade, emphasize Exjade’s benefits, and downplay the severity of Exjade’s side effects. The scheme began after Exjade failed to meet Novartis’ internal sales goals and Novartis discovered that refill rates for Exjade were lower than anticipated.

Novartis, which is headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, is a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG. In late 2005, Exjade was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for the treatment of chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions. After launching the drug, Novartis marketed Exjade as a treatment for patients with a number of underlying conditions that affect blood cells or bone marrow.

“This scheme deceived vulnerable patients with exaggerated and inaccurate medical information that played with their well-being and their wallets,” said Madigan. “Any company that tries to benefit from misleading its customers will be held responsible in Illinois.”

The settlement stems from a whistleblower lawsuit, U.S. ex rel. Kester, et al. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, et al., No. 11-CIV-8196, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Two of the specialty pharmacies named as defendants in the case, BioScrip, Inc. and Accredo Health Group, Inc., previously agreed to pay $15 million and $60 million, respectively, to resolve claims that they accepted kickbacks from Novartis to promote Exjade. Illinois received more than $750,000.00 under those settlements.

The settlement specifically resolves allegations that between 2007 and 2012 Novartis paid kickbacks to three specialty pharmacies – BioScrip, Accredo, and US Bioservices. The pharmacies were selected by Novartis to be part of a closed distribution network through which most Exjade prescriptions in the United States were filled. Novartis created the distribution network, which it called EPASS, and therefore had significant control over how many patient referrals each pharmacy received. The pharmacies shipped most Exjade prescriptions to patients by mail and were supposed to call patients to set up the shipments and obtain consent for refills. The pharmacies billed themselves as specialty pharmacies that could arrange for these shipments and run educational programs for patients.

In the course of the scheme, Novartis pressured the specialty pharmacies by threatening to exclude them from the EPASS network or to reduce the number of patient referrals they received from EPASS. In addition, Novartis set up a contest in which the pharmacy that kept patients on Exjade the longest would receive additional patient referrals from EPASS. The contest winner was determined by scorecards created by Novartis that were sent to each of the three pharmacies. Novartis also paid rebates to the specialty pharmacies, which made each patient referral valuable and incentivized the specialty pharmacies to encourage patients to stay on Exjade. The contest and the rebates were not disclosed to Exjade patients or their caregivers.

In their filings, the government plaintiffs also alleged that lawyers for Novartis raised concerns about the contest for nearly a year before it was implemented. According to the filings, Novartis went forward with the contest after one senior executive challenged the legal advice and another determined that the benefits of the scheme to Novartis outweighed the risk of violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

To appease Novartis, all of the pharmacies put together plans to increase refill rates that included nurses placing phone calls to patients or caregivers. BioScrip told Novartis that it would make claims about Exjade preventing organ damage even though the FDA had told Novartis it should not make these claims in promotional materials. Another pharmacy, Accredo, showed Novartis a call protocol that directed nurses to tell patients it was “extremely important” to take Exjade and to describe the common side effects of the drug but not the more severe side effects, such as kidney or liver problems.

Novartis admitted many aspects of the scheme in a stipulation filed in federal court in connection with the settlement. Among other things, Novartis admitted that it indicated to BioScrip that it might terminate its distribution agreement or reduce the number of patient referrals it received from EPASS. Similarly, Novartis admitted that it told Accredo and US Bioservices that Novartis might reduce the number of patient referrals they received from EPASS and “pushed” Accredo and US Bioservices to implement plans in which nurses would call patients and encourage them to stay on Exjade. Novartis also admitted that it used the scorecard results to allocate EPASS patients to the specialty pharmacies.

Assistant Attorney General Elisa Hamilton handled the case for Illinois.

19-Member Cast Announced for World Premiere of Mary Page Marlowe

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Written by Ensemble Member Tracy Letts and Directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro March 31 – May 29, 2016

New play from the Award=Winning team behind August: Osage County

Cast features Ensemble Members Ian Barford and Alan Wilder Plus Carrie Coon

 

CHICAGO, IL – Casting has been announced for the highly anticipated world premiere production of Mary Page Marlowe, written by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member Tracy Letts. Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, who directed Letts’s internationally acclaimed August: Osage County, teams up with him again for this new, ambitious production in Steppenwolf’s 40th anniversary season. Mary Page Marlowe runs March 31 – May 29, 2016 in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Tickets ($20 – $89) go on sale Friday, January 29, 2016 at 11am through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.

Featuring a 19-member cast, seven different actors will portray Mary Page Marlowe over the span of her lifetime, from ages 18 months to 67 years. The seven actors are Carrie Coon (Gone Girl, HBO’s The Leftovers, Steppenwolf’s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Lindsay Crouse, Laura T. Fisher, Caroline Heffernan, Annie Munch and Rebecca Spence. Rounding out the cast are ensemble members Ian Barford (Ray) and Alan Wilder (Andy) with Stephen Cefalu, Jr. (Ed Marlowe), Amanda Drinkall (Roberta Marlowe), Jack Edwards (Louis), Kirsten Fitzgerald (Shrink), Keith Gallagher (Ben), Sandra Marquez (Nurse), Madeline Weinstein (Wendy Gilbert) and Gary Wilmes (Dan). The remaining roles will be announced at a later date.

Mary Page Marlowe is an accountant from Ohio. She’s led an ordinary life, making the difficult decisions we all face as we try to figure out who we really are and what we really want. As Tracy Letts brings us moments—both pivotal and mundane—from Mary’s life, a portrait of a surprisingly complicated woman emerges. Intimate and moving, Mary Page Marlowe shows us how circumstance, impulse and time can combine to make us mysteries…even to ourselves.

“Tracy and I have a shared aesthetic gained over many years of collaborating together as actor/director and playwright/director. We have a shared vocabulary that is a full embodiment of the ensemble principle while, at the same time, challenging each other’s sensibilities and ideas in complimentary ways,” shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. “I look forward to embarking on this process and partnership again for this play that, for me, does what Steppenwolf Theatre does best: finding the spectacular in the mundane and turning the every-day into the most-important-day, and all the while reflecting our common humanity,” added Shapiro.

BIOS:
Tracy Letts (Playwright) was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for August: Osage County, which premiered at Steppenwolf in 2007, played on Broadway, London’s National Theatre and the Sydney Theatre. Steppenwolf also produced the world premieres of Letts’s Superior Donuts (transferred to Broadway in 2009); and Man from Nebraska (premiered at Steppenwolf in 2003, Pulitzer Prize finalist). He wrote screenplays of three films adapted from his own plays, Killer Joe, Bug and August: Osage County. Letts received a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for Steppenwolf’s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He has been an ensemble member since 2002. He is also known for his ongoing portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in seasons three and four of Showtime’s Homeland.

Anna D. Shapiro
(Director) has directed dozens of notable productions with Steppenwolf, including Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County, for which she received the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Director. In 2011 she received a Tony Award nomination for her direction of The Motherf**er with the Hat, which she also directed at Steppenwolf. Broadway credits include the sold-out run of Larry David’s Fish in the Dark on Broadway, the revival of Steppenwolf’s production of This Is Our Youth and the Broadway revival of Of Mice and Men, which National Theatre Live selected as the first American production to be broadcast to over 700 cinemas across the US and Canada. Additional Steppenwolf directing credits include A Parallelogram, Up, The Unmentionables, The Pain and the Itch (also at Playwrights Horizons), Tracy Letts’s Man from Nebraska, (named by TIME Magazine as one of the Year’s Top Ten of 2003), Side Man (also in Ireland, Australia and Colorado) and Tracy Letts’s Three Sisters, among others. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Columbia College and the recipient of a 1996 Princess Grace Award, as well as the 2010 Princess Grace Statue Award.  Shapiro began working with Steppenwolf in 1995 as the original director of the New Plays Lab, joined the ensemble in 2005 and became Artistic Director at the start of the 2015/16 Season.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:
Title: Mary Page Marlowe
Author: Ensemble member Tracy Letts
Director: Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro
Location: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St
Dates: March 31 – May 29, 2016
Previews: March 31 – April 9, 2016
Press Performances: Saturday, April 9 at 3pm and Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30pm
Opening Night: Sunday, April 10 at 6pm (by invitation only)
Regular Run: April 12 – May 29, 2016
Accessible Performances: Sunday, May 8 at 7:30pm (ASL interpretation); Saturday, May 7 at 3pm (Open-captioned); Sunday, May 22 at 3pm Audio-described (no touch tour); Sunday, May 29, 1:30pm touch tour with audio-described performance at 3pm
Curtain Times: Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm
Wednesday matinees at 2pm on May 11, May 18, May 25
No Sunday 7:30pm performance on May 29
Ticket prices:
Previews: $20 – $54
Regular Run: $20 – $89
Prices subject to change.
20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available for subscription shows on the day of the performance at 11am (Mon – Sat) and 1pm (Sun), by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person.
Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.
Student Discounts: Limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Students must present a valid student ID from an accredited institution for each ticket purchased; limit 2 tickets per order.
Group Tickets: All groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. www.steppenwolf.org/groups.
Audience Services: Single tickets go on sale Friday, January 29 at 11am at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.

Lead support for Mary Page Marlowe is provided by The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Major support for Mary Page Marlowe is provided by Allstate Insurance Company, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, ComEd, National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Trust and PwC.

Major support for Steppenwolf’s New Play Development Initiative is provided by The Davee Foundation and the Zell Family Foundation.

Mary Page Marlowe is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

Steppenwolf’s 2015/16 Subscription Season includes the world premiere adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, adapted by ensemble member Frank Galati, directed by co-founder Terry Kinney (September 17 – November 15, 2015); the Chicago premiere of Domesticated written and directed by ensemble member Bruce Norris (December 3, 2015 – February 7, 2016); the Chicago premiere of The Flick by Annie Baker, directed by Dexter Bullard (February 4 – May 8, 2016); the world premiere of Mary Page Marlowe by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (March 31 – May 29, 2016); and the Chicago premiere of Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (June 23 – August 21, 2016).

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 44 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season, First Look, a new play development series and Visiting Company engagements. 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, Galway 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. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit www.steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

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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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