Although city services have slowed down to a crawl the last couple days because of the snow, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas was still able to get her tax bill to me.
It's not really her tax bill of course, she's the treasurer of Cook County and it's her job to collect taxes for the county. But, when her driver and maid earn over $150,000 of our hard earned money, I feel more like I'm paying her rather than Cook County.
First, there is Emanuel Hatzisavas, Maria Pappas driver. Mr. Hatzisavas picks up Pappas from her Gold Coast home to drive her to yoga lessons at the East Bank Club. When he's not waiting for hours in front of the East Bank Club or in front of her home, Mr. Hatzisavas is doing personal errands, like picking up and delivering clothes to her home.
By Pappas' own words, Hatzisavas is with her 24/7 for "security." If there is some sort of problem, he is trained to speak to Ms. Pappas in Greek. According to CBS2, that is the extent of his security training. And what does Mr. Hatzisavas get in return for being with her 24/7? He made just over $94,000.00 working for Cook County last year.
So yes, I am a little angry when paying my property taxes this year. Especially, when I just paid property taxes, only to get hit with another tax bill, to make certain Mr. Hatzisavas gets paid for waiting for Maria Pappas in front of the East Bank Club, running her personal errands, and speaking to her in Greek when things get tough. Hopefully, he's speaking in Greek now as she is in hot water for paying him $94,000.00 to be her bitch.
There is not a line item in the county budget for "Maria Pappas' bitch" so Mr. Hatzisavas is listed as a "project leader." The project leader's official job summary description includes; consulting with county officials "in the design, development and implementation of varied and highly sophisticated computer software applications to enhance business operations."
Isn't that illegal? That sounds like fraud to me. If you are going to get paid over $94,000.00 annually to be a project leader, shouldn't you have to do that job, rather than driving around Ms. Daisy?
But the misuse of county funds does not end there.
Teresa Kawa is Maria Pappas cleaning lady. Ms. Kawa is also listed on the county payroll as an "administrative analyst" with Cook County. Administrative analysts earn $57,347.00 annually. The administrative analyst "Performs detailed investigation and analysis of operational systems and procedures, program and organization structures and polices to ascertain fiscal, technical, administrative or other problems which need further attention."
Ms. Kawa is not an administrative analyst, she cleans the county treasurer's offices, for over $57,000 annually.
Ms. Pappas spent another $23,000.00 of county funds on a desk for her office. Ms. Pappas also paid a designer $27,000.00 to redecorate her office.
Would Maria spend $50,000.00 to redecorate her office if it was her money?
After a Channel 2 Better Government Association investigation revealed Pappas' questionable spending, our treasurer said that she would pay for an independent inquiry to see whether county funds were misused. I have an idea Ms. Pappas: how about you repay Cook County the $150,000.00 a year we were forced to pay your driver and your cleaning lady for jobs they didn't do.
Maybe I'll send in an IOU for my property taxes. I'll pay you my property taxes after Ms. Pappas repays the amount the county paid her personal butler and cleaning lady in 2010. Apparently, Toni Preckwinkle is allowing business as usual at the county building.