I noted over the weekend that Mingo County, West Virginia probably takes the crown for having the most corrupt and crazy ass judiciary and law enforcement in the country. But now comes TPM Reader SD who says, those guys have nothing on us here in St. Clair County, Illinois. And looking at the links he sent, he may be right.It all started back in March when St. Clair County Circuit Court Judges Joe Christ and Michael Cook headed off for a weekend at the hunting lodge. You might think this was a Scalia-Kagan odd-judicial-bedfellows shootin’ kind of thing. But not exactly. Because Judge Christ, 49, died at the lodge of a cocaine overdose.
Christ had only been on the bench for about a week at the time of his death. Prior to that he’d been a longtime county prosecutor. Where’d he get the coke? Well, he bought it from St. Clair County Probation Officer James K. Fogarty, 46, who was charged with drug possession, drug dealing to judges and unlawful possession of a firearm.
So what was County Judge Michael Cook, 43, to make of all this narcotics selling and using under his own nose? Well, it turns out Cook, who presides over the county drug court, is a heroin addict, though he also did a lot of coke with Fogarty and Christ.
He was later arrested on May 22nd on heroin and weapons possession charges at the home of his heroin dealer Sean McGilvery, 34. When he was arraigned the next morning Cook was still wearing the cut-offs and “Bad is my middle name” t-shirt he’d been wearing at the time of his arrest. Cook later went to rehab and just a couple weeks ago he agreed to the suspension of his law license, which seems reasonable.
McGilvery (who seems not to work in law enforcement) meanwhile is accused of conspiring with Deborah Perkins, 65, and Douglas Oliver to purchase large quantities of heroin in the Chicago area to deal at the street level in East St. Louis.
In light of these developments, County Attorney Brendan Kelly has recommended to the County Board that a “strong and broad drug testing” system be put in place at the county courthouse.
Now, after educating myself about the situation in St. Clair County (which includes East St. Louis, which has had a bad reputation for basically forever), I’m inclined to agree with SD who says his county gives Mingo County a run for its money, though Mingo has been building its reputation for corruption and crazy-ass antics for decades.
But I want to open this up. Is your county in the running? As we’ve done with mayors, we want to find the true leader in county government corruption. Is it Mingo? Is it St. Clair? Or is it your county? Send us your story and give it your best shot.