Chicagoland, Part Two

Arthur Bishop, the new director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), was convicted in the 1990s of bilking his employer, a substance abuse counseling center, out of money received from its clients. According to the center’s director at the time, Bishop created a bogus program for convicted drunk drivers. He took money from patients and provided them with forms they wrongly believed would allow them to get their driver’s licenses back.

Unfortunately for Bishop’s victims, the center wasn’t licensed by the state to provide that service at the time. Bishop pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is standing by his decision to make Bishop the state’s top child-welfare official. He claims to see no connection between Bishop’s corruption and his ability to lead a department that has been plagued by charges of failure to keep track of its money. In December, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued a Chicago businessman and friend of a former DCFS director to recover millions of dollars in state grant money the businessman allegedly misspent.

If Quinn can’t see the connection between stealing and unfitness to run a large government agency, perhaps he can connect the dots on Bishop’s own “children and family” issues. Court records show that a paternity case was filed against Bishop in 2003, when he was a DCFS deputy director. DNA tests showed he was the father of Erica Bishop, then 17.

According to the child’s mother, Bishop, who was married to another woman when Erica was born, “denies his own daughter’s existence” even though “he visited us on numerous occasions at my parents’ house when she was a child.” The mother further alleged that Bishop “even asked me if he could live in with me if his wife put him out after she learned the truth.”

The mother obtained a $4,175 judgment against Bishop and health insurance coverage for Erica until she turned 18. But she was denied back child support after Bishop argued that she had never sought support of any kind from him and had concealed that he was Erica’s father.

A crook and deadbeat dad at the helm of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services. That, it seems, is the Chicago/Illinois way.

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