Coffee Break Costs Cook County $76,291

-By Warner Todd Huston

A cuppa Joe, we all love it — well, I don’t drink coffee at all, but most people do, anyway. You might spend a few bucks a day on your coffee, right? Well, add a few more dollars to that daily bill if you are a resident of Cook County, Illinois. A recent review of the county’s expenditures shows that it spent $76,291 on coffee products from the ACE Coffee vending company.

But, it wasn’t just coffee and snacks that the ACE company provided. No, it was one hand washing the other as the ACE Coffee company has given tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions to Cook County Democrats, 14th Ward Alderman and Democrat Committeeman Ed Burke in particular. Burke and his various committees and associates got $20,250 of ACE’s $30,000 in political contributions made last year.

  • $11,250 to Friends of Edward M. Burke
  • $3,000 to The Burnham Committee (of which Burke is listed as chairman)
  • $3,000 to the Democratic Party of the 14th Ward (of which Burke is committeeman)
  • The company’s CEO, Bernard E. Cavitt, also made $10,500 in contributions to Burke-related committees since 2000.

If a private company wants to buy coffee for its employees, well, that is fine. They have a right to decide how to spend their own profits. But what we have here is the taxpayers paying for county employees to sit around drinking coffee and eating snacks on OUR dime. And the coffee company is hip deep in the pockets of county and city officials to boot!

We can thank Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica for his efforts to make sure that the Cook County check register is on line for all to see so that this sort of unsavory relationships can see the light of day. We’d never be able to find such things without the Cook County transparency effort, so thanks to Peraica for his work here.

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