Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown has been implicated in an indictment of federal bribery charges. Although Brown hasn’t been charged officials linked to her office and campaign have been accused of being involved in a bribery conspiracy with Pennsylvania businessman, Donald Donagher.
Donagher, 67, who is at the center of the case, is a chief executive of the Pennsylvania-based Penn Credit Corporation, which usually handles the debt collection for government officials. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, it is alleged that Penn Credit did more than just debt collection for government officials. The indictment alleges Donagher deposited a $5,000 check through his company into Brown’s scholarship and community development fund in exchange for official business with the clerk’s office.
Less than three weeks after Penn Credit began collecting debt for Brown’s office, Donagher is accused of promising $10,000 of “early money” to Brown in an email to several of his employees and an Illinois lobbyist. Donagher went on to request that the lobbyist be present at one of Brown’s events. In a different email to an aide at the clerk’s office, Donagher wrote: I have told Dorothy and [first name of Brown’s chief of staff] that we would be sending a donation of 10,000 dollars from [name of Donagher entity].”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the feds claim that one week later, $10,000 was donated to the clerk’s office via Paypal for the “fundraising efforts of Contributions to Friends of Dorothy Brown.
Donagher is said to have continued making donations throughout the summer of 2014. Authorities have also stated that Donagher is linked to alleged bribery schemes at three other court clerks offices in Florida including Orange County, Brevard County, and St. Johns County.
Brown’s office is also in hot water with federal investigators for their “pay-to-playing” hiring practices and other alleged political corruption.