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July 13, 2024

DuPage County – Chairman Cronin’s ties to COD Foundation and COD legal representation

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On July 5, 2016

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

The College of DuPage has been under criminal investigations by the State’s Attorney and the FBI for over a year and a half for numerous issues relating to illegal spending and questionable contracts they had with COD Foundation Board Members and their businesses.

During our investigation into those matters, we saw numerous Foundation members flea from their positions.  One, in particular, was that of DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.  As e-mails between Cronin’s Executive Secretary and former COD President Robert Breuder began to surface we saw concerns.

The first concern was why was his executive secretary handling COD Foundation business matters while employed by the County?  I sent the following to DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin:

“We have obtained numerous e-mails in which your executive secretary is taking care of your COD Foundation related matters to include handling the application documents.  These matters were handled with County owned equipment, with county personnel, and on county time.   Under what authority can a county employee handle private non-profit foundation work on behalf of the county chairman?  Do you consider that appropriate?

The response should concern anyone that believes our elected officials should be transparent with their actions while representing the people.   I asked two questions and neither were answered as is confirmed with his response below.

 “I was invited to join the COD Foundation as the County Board Chairman, not as a private citizen; the invitation was sent to my County Board Office.  COD is an important part of the County’s mission as it relates to education, workforce training, economic development and quality of life. It is an appropriate role for the County Board Chairman to advance the success of the College.  However, I ultimately declined the invitation to join the Foundation Board and stepped down.”

It appears Cronin is of the opinion that having his executive secretary handle COD Foundation work while being paid by the county to do county business is not an issue.  We disagree as the appointment to the Foundation was not as County Chairman as he claimed but was in fact as Dan Cronin, the individual. (For proof of that click here)

In addition, his claim that he ultimately declined the invitation to join the Foundation Board and stepped down has serious conflicts.  For starters, how do you step down from something you declined an invitation to?  More importantly, how do you vote on COD Foundation matters if you declined the invitation?

March of 2014 Cronin Voted “NO” on the naming of the Belushi Performance Hall after making a note in the email that John (Belushi) was a better actor and comedian. (Click here to read the email)

Then, 6 months later, he signs his Board member agreement and the confidentiality agreement as Dan Cronin, not County Board Chairman Cronin.  How does one vote on private foundation matters then 6 months later sign agreements as a member of the foundation all while now claiming to have declined the invitation to become a Foundation member? The fact is, the response we got from Mr. Cronin does not cross with the paper trail.

As a COD Foundation member, we wanted to know if Cronin was one of those special members that ended up with no bid business with COD.  We asked for any and all payments to Power & Cronin, and Cronin directly.  COD had no records.

Did Dan Cronin’s law firm represent the College of DuPage on any legal matters?  Our sources said yes, however, the paper trail was a dead end at every turn, until recently!

According to the State Workers Compensation Commission, Power & Cronin is, in fact, the attorney for the College of DuPage on several workers compensation cases. Three are listed here, here, and here.

Who knew DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin’s law firm was representing the interests of the College of DuPage?   

I sent the following to Cronin:

“We have in our possession information confirming Power & Cronin is the law firm as Defense council for the College of DuPage on workers comp matters.   Do you have any comment regarding your firm representing COD on workers comp matters?  Since it is your law firm listed and you are a partner, is it safe to say you do in fact make money with your firm representing COD as the Defense Counsel?

His response:

“The attorneys of the law firm have represented a wide variety of employers across the state of Illinois on matters of workers compensation for over 40 years.

Among those clients is a consortium of community colleges that pool their resources and contract with a third party administrator.

The law firm has represented the consortium since 2008.

The College of DuPage is a member of the consortium. The law firm has no contractual relationship with College of DuPage.

The College of DuPage is a separate unit of government and not a part of DuPage County government.”

We thank him for his comments, however, that response did not answer the question, which was, is it safe to say you do in fact make money with your firm representing COD as the Defense Counsel?

The fact is, during a two-year time frame between April 2013 and April 2015, Power and Cronin have handled numerous cases that reflect a total of $360,199.16 dollars in costs incurred by the Consortium that hired them. How much of those figures went to Power and Cronin is not known at this time.

You can see the Risk Management Consortium records here and note the Consortium does list Power & Cronin as the legal counsel representing the College of DuPage. Although Cronin may not have a contractual relationship on paper, as in an attorney-client agreement, it is clear by the paper trail from both the Risk Management Consortium and the Illinois State Workers Compensation Commission, his law firm does, in fact, represent the legal interest of College of DuPage.  How special is that!  Yet another COD Foundation Board member making money doing work on behalf of the College of DuPage.

Many will say what does it matter as he is not voting on the selection of the legal counsel, thus no conflict of interest.  I agree from a legal standpoint.  However, considering Cronin was, in fact, a COD Foundation member, contrary to his claim he declined the invitation, and that the paper trail points to him making money off of COD for legal services, he must be held to the same standard he holds others to. Is that asking too much?

I recall Cronin making issue with Tim Elliott being the legal counsel for COD in a campaign flyer sent out supporting Elliott’s opponent in a run for County Board.  His statement was not only a clear misrepresentation of the facts, it was an outright lie.

“Michelle’s opponent (Elliot) in this race is at the center of the strife, dysfunction, waste and escalating legal costs now paralyzing the College of DuPage.    (See flyer by clicking here)

Cronin takes issue with the legal costs at COD and claims those costs have paralyzed COD.  That claim was a lie.  COD has never been paralyzed by the legal costs. That should bring into question a matter of trust, as in, can you trust what we are told by DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin?

In addition, this flyer contained the most disturbing misrepresentation I think we have ever seen, and more than likely a misrepresentation crafted by Cronin:

Every Time You See Campaign Material From Tim Elliott – Remember, Your Property Taxes Helped Pay For It!”

Let’s apply that campaign quote by Michelle Moore to Dan Cronin, who just happen to have helped fund and endorsed Moore in her race for County Board.

  • Power & Cronin makes money off the Risk Management Consortium workers comp cases.
  • Taxpayer funds are used to pay the Risk Management Consortium
  • Power & Cronin provided funding for his “Citizens for Dan Cronin campaign”.
  • Cronin is making money as Chairman of the county Board to the tune of $126,450.00 in salary alone.  Add in all the other perks and it’s well over $150K that the property taxpayers of DuPage County put in Cronin’s pocket. 
  • Cronin enjoyed the free food and booze at the COD Waterleaf restaurant.
  • Cronin will enjoy a hefty state pension from his time as a Legislator.

 Can we safely say, “Every time you see campaign material from Dan Cronin – Remember, your property taxes helped pay for it!” ?

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  • jannie
    Posted at 13:55h, 05 July Reply

    I found this extremely interesting. Mr. Cronin seems to be quite confused about when he declined then signed and then withdrew from the Foundation Board that he may or may not have declined membership.
    He also seems to have a conflict of interest.
    Thanks for the information

  • Bill G
    Posted at 18:23h, 05 July Reply

    Kirk: Nice job. I my view all IL politicians are crooks, until they can prove otherwise. You cannot operate within organized crime, “The IL Combine”, unless you are a made member. Mr. Cronin certainly cannot prove his innocence, and even appears to be in denial about the legal requirements of his office. If he does not know or respect the law, he certainly cannot comply with it.

  • Bill G
    Posted at 18:27h, 05 July Reply

    correction “In my view”

  • Jan Shaw
    Posted at 21:53h, 05 July Reply

    The first time I met Michelle Moore was at a Milton Township GOP meting. Dan Cronin endorsed her as the one he asked to run. Having the chair (currently the most powerful one on the board) pick the rep for a district didn’t seem right to me.
    Kathy Hamilton endorsing the clean slate was very different in that she was the lone voice in all those 6-1 votes and she was bravely exposing corruption.
    As for Elliot, he was hired by the clean slate after the election to clean up the mess was happened under the watch of the previous board. The opposite of what Cronin implied in that note on the Moore flyer.

  • SC Scott
    Posted at 13:17h, 07 July Reply

    It is clear Dan Cronin’s hands are not clean in the entire COD/Foundation mess. Sadly, it appears the same issues that plagued COD under Brueder are also being manifested in the Chairman’s office.

    Too many unanswered questions especially surrounding the additional $2 million dollars in additional payroll Cronin has added to his yearly payroll on the 3rd. floor. The answer the taxpaying public is now looking for is: How does the additional 2 million dollars per year Chairman Cronin has increased his payroll by, fit into his so called “ACT Initiative?”

    As always, it is we the people, we the taxpayers, we the gullible voters who keep getting taken for a ride by politicians eager to promise us the world on a plate.

  • John S
    Posted at 08:12h, 10 July Reply

    “As a COD Foundation member, we wanted to know if Cronin was one of those special members that ended up with no bid business with COD.” – Cronin’s firm was hired and paid by the consortium, not by COD, to do WC defense work, meaning Cronin was not a COD foundation board member who wound up with no bid business with COD.

    “Cronin takes issue with the legal costs at COD and claims those costs have paralyzed COD. That claim was a lie. COD has never been paralyzed by the legal costs. That should bring into question a matter of trust, as in, can you trust what we are told by DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin?” – This is a combination of two logical fallacies, Argument by Dismissal (first three sentences) and Argument by Emotive Language (last sentence.)

    “Every Time You See Campaign Material From Tim Elliott – Remember, Your Property Taxes Helped Pay For It!” –
    •Elliott’s firm is paid by COD with property tax dollars for Elliott’s work for COD.
    •Elliott’s firm pays him for work he does as a member of the firm.
    •Elliott has provided funding for his “Friends of Tim Elliott” campaign, so property tax dollars have helped pay for Elliott’s “Friends of Tim Elliott” campaign.
    •The “Friends of Tim Elliott” campaign pays for Elliott’s campaign material.

    This article should really be titled – “I don’t like Dan Cronin, I like Tim Elliott.”

    PS: It’s flee, not flea.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 08:32h, 10 July Reply

      Thanks for the spelling note on flee.

      Ever heard of poetic license?

  • Rob Johnson
    Posted at 16:37h, 10 July Reply

    I guess the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do” applies to Mr. Cronin. This is very disturbing information considering Mr. Cronin holds himself out as a voice for the people with his so called ACT Initiative.

    A = Accountability:
    Keeping business dealings, you and your company are making substantial returns on a secret is hardly being accountable. Grade F

    C = Consolidation:
    Mr. Cronin certainly worked the consolidation portion of his ACT program by trying to get the law firm Tim Elliot worked for removed, so Power & Cronin could bill even more business. Grade A+

    T = Transparency:
    Keeping the public in the dark about Power & Cronin and monies they were billing COD as Mr. Cronin was a voting member of the foundation board lacks any form of transparency. Grade F

    Even though Mr. Cronin received 2 failing grades and 1 passing grade it is clear he failed on every part of his “initiative. Once again the taxpayers of Illinois are the big Losers! When will this stop in Illinois? Thank you, Watchdogs for all your hard work. Mr. Cronin for far too long has been the darling of the local newspapers. Maybe now the papers will look for the truth and drop the hype. That much, the residents of DuPage County deserve.

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