Friday, June 6, 2014

Will Annabel Melongo's federal lawuit against Cook County officials re-open the SALF scandal?

Last year The Sidebar was first to report Annabel Melongo's federal lawsuit against Cook County State's Attorneys, Sheriff Tom Dart, and other county officials.

Looks like I'm first again with the amended complaint filed yesterday by Melongo and her attorney Jennifer Bonjean which includes the complete timeline of the case, including the almost two years she spent in jail for posting recordings of benign phone conversations on the Internet, the result of being prosecuted under a statute that has been overturned as unconstitutional by the IL Supreme Court.

The 21-page document also details the roles of Carol J. Spizzirri and her Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF); the organization's relationships with current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman; ABC7 reporter Chuck Goudie's SALF exposes; the $9 million in tax dollars awarded to SALF; and much more.

Page down to view. Click here to download a copy.

(Circa 2005) Front row: former SALF Director of Communications Ciprina Spizzirri and her mother, Carol J. Spizzirri; Back row: former Maywood, IL mayor Ralph Conner,* former Palatine, IL mayor Rita Mullins, former SALF Public Affairs Representative Dane Neal

The complaint also takes aim at the felony computer tampering charges filed by Spizzirri against Melongo on October 31, 2006. Almost eight years later, that case appears to be headed to court, according to the website tracking Melongo's cases (click and page down).

If/when that case goes to trial, presumably Spizzirri -- who reportedly now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, California -- will be obligated to testify.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about the Melongo case.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about Spizzirri and SALF.

* 7/4/14 update: A previous version of this item identified former SALF Operations Director Vince Davis as the cowboy wearing the duster coat in the photo. Yesterday I received an e-mail from Davis -- seen in the video clip below escorting Carol Spizzirri when she freaks out and flees the room mid-interview -- informing me that Mayor Conner (who died in 2010) dressed up as the cowboy. 

I regret the error and I appreciate Davis -- whose June 10, 2007 e-mail about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama helping to fund SALF (see below) -- was reported in a June 25, 2013 Dubuque Telegraph Herald article -- bringing it to my attention -- PMH