Chicago Tribune: Stroger Spent $79,000 On Zoo Party For Flood Victims

Cook County, IL–(ENEWSPF)– From the Chicago Tribune:

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger’s administration treated families whose homes were damaged by floods to a nearly $79,000 party at Brookfield Zoo, paying for the day of fun with federal grant money meant to restore those homes, newly-released county documents show.

The Sept. 12 zoo event included parking, admission, special attractions and “hungry as a bear” picnic baskets for up to 2,250 people, according to an invoice. The zoo tab also covered more than $8,000 in entertainment, including a prize raffle, an interactive disc jockey, a face painter, seven caricature artists, a juggler and a stilt walker.

At the event, called a “family resource day,” flood victims also received tips on how to remove mold, job training and health screenings. There was a music therapy workshop.

Stroger spokesman Marcel Bright declined to comment Tuesday, saying the $10.3 million federal disaster relief grant that the zoo money came from is being probed by Inspector General Patrick Blanchard. That watchdog office’s broader look at alleged abuses of federal grants and no-bid contracts led to felony criminal charges against Carla Oglesby, a former high-level Stroger aide.

Taxpayers and county commissioners are unhappy.

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