A FOX Chicago News investigation has uncovered even more "24-9" contracts handed out by the office of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. In all, Stroger's office issued eight contracts on April 22-- all for $24,995, and all signed by embattled Deputy Chief of Staff Carla Oglesby.
All the contracts were funded by a federal grant to promote census outreach, but the recipients are not the sort of community groups you'd expect. At least four of the contractors used the same attorney to incorporate their businesses and nearly all of the businesses didn't even exist until just days before the contracts were awarded.
One contract went to Prentiss Harris, who's part of a rap duo called "Dude N Nem." You can find his videos on YouTube, but his company "Citymerge" is a little harder to locate.
When FOX Chicago News went to one address on Harris' contract, we found an empty lot. And when we visited a second address listed on the contract, the woman who lives upstairs told us she'd never heard of Harris or his business.
As it turns out, Harris is a convicted felon. He told us on the phone that he got his contract from Stroger's chief spokesman, Eugene Mullins. Mullins refused to comment.
Another census outreach contract went to "PR Everything A2Z," which actually appears to be a modeling agency. We went to the River North address listed on their contract, but no one answered the door. When we reached owner Michelle Pozo on the phone, she said she was too busy to talk.
In fact, we knocked on doors all day Tuesday and could not find a single person who got one of these $24,995 contracts who was actually willing to talk with FOX Chicago News.