CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - A former associate clerk in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office has been indicted for lying under oath to a grand jury about selling tickets for campaign fundraisers to other employees, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
The U.S. Attorney’s office on Friday announced a federal indictment against Beena Patel, 55, of Chicago. She is charged with three counts of making false declarations before a grand jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The grand jury has been investigating possible hiring violations in Brown’s office. Brown spokeswoman Jalyne Strong on Friday said Patel is no longer employed in the clerk’s office.
Another Brown employee, Sivasubramani Rajaram, in February was sentenced to three years probation after admitting he lied twice to the FBI and bought his job in Brown’s office with a $15,000 “loan” to a company controlled by Brown’s husband.
Neither Brown nor her husband, Benton Cook III, has been charged with any crime. Brown handily won re-election last year despite the publicity surrounding the feds’ investigation, even after Cook County’s Democratic Party leaders withdrew their endorsement of Brown and threw their support behind another candidate.
Patel sold fundraiser tickets to colleagues in the clerk’s office and knew that others did the same, the indictment says. The fundraisers were held several times a year by an entity that raised money for Brown’s campaign fund.
Patel told the grand jury she never sold tickets to employees—and that she knew of no other employees collecting money or handing out tickets to the fundraisers. The indictment says those statements were false.