According to reports in the Daily Southtown, the Cook County state's attorney's office is expected to file a civil lawsuit today against the Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education and its superintendent Charles Flowers.
The suit alleges Flowers "engaged in a scheme to defraud Cook County" when his office took out a $190,000 loan last year, state's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly said.
The loan was due June 30. The suit will be seeking full repayment of the loan, as well as interest and punitive damages, she added.
The SouthtownStar first reported the alleged financial and ethical misconduct at the office. Flowers is currently the target of a state's attorney's office criminal investigation, which Daly said was "moving forward." Sources also told the SouthtownStar that subpoenas have been sent out and a Cook County grand jury has convened in connection with the case.
Everything from plane tickets for family members to a trip to a hair salon showed up on Flowers' regional office credit card. He approved a salary advance for his sister, who is employed as his executive assistant, and a friend, who also works in the office, according to documents obtained by the SouthtownStar. A damaging state audit shows deputies were paid thousands of dollars for consulting work they did during working hours while collecting their taxpayer-funded paycheck.
After he defaulted on a June 2008 $190,000 loan from Cook County that he said he needed for operations, the board unanimously supported a resolution calling to abolish the office. Commissioners also issued a no-confidence vote against Flowers and called for his immediate resignation.
Flowers refuses to return calls for comment.
Duaa Eldeib can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 633-5960.