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Lake County Employees Spent Thousands Of Taxpayer Dollars On Food And Fun

CHICAGO (CBS)--An examination of a year's worth of statements from county-issued credit cards shows outlandish spending among some Lake County government employees, including a $2,000 steakhouse dinner.

CBS 2 uncovered hundreds of county workers using tax dollars in an unchecked spending spree.

Lake County has issued 260 procurement cards to employees, and CBS 2 found tens-of-thousands has been spent on food and fun.

The credit card statements show $2,664 spent on June 11 at 129 Center Cut, a steakhouse in northwest suburban Grayslake, on a card issued to one Lake County official.

Back on December 18, a Lake County Sheriff's Office employee ran up a $3,082 tab at Moretti's, a restaurant in Fox Lake.

During another month this past year, one Lake County Health Department employee spent $630 at Panera Bread. Another health department employee ran up a $461 tab on movies and other entertainment and spent $433 on food.

Some board members believe there are too many credit cards issued to employees and not enough oversight.

"Potentially just one person per department needs a card, so I think we need to do an overall analysis of this," said Lake County Board member Sandy Hart.

A spokesperson for the county on Wednesday told CBS 2 the spending was legitimate.

The investigation began as an internal probe into the spending of former Lake County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor, who is not running for reelection due to substance abuse treatment.

The Board has since hired an outside auditor to examine the county's procurement card policies and make recommendations on how the county can improve its current policies.

The audit is due Sept. 26.







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