By Frank Main Dave McKinney: The state spent almost half a million dollars on a flawed study of Gov. Pat Quinn’s now-defunct anti-violence program — the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative — after officials rejected a more rigorous evaluation that would have been free, auditors say.
The $498,351 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago didn’t even examine whether the program helped reduce violence, according to Auditor General William Holland’s office.
State Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said the study leaves taxpayers in the dark about whether the $54.5 million program made an impact in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Chicago area.
“We don’t know whether this money was flushed down the toilet,” he said.
Auditors learned the state turned down an offer by the University of Chicago Crime Lab to conduct a more in-depth study for free.
Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman said the governor wasn’t involved in any discussions or decisions about the study.
“Those who helped oversee and manage this program are no longer employed by the state,” Klinzman added.
Republicans have questioned Quinn’s motivation for launching the anti-violence program a month before his tight election in 2010. The troubled program was shut down in 2012.
“I believe this was to put money on the streets to shore up a base that was very loose in a tight campaign,” Reis said.
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