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State's Attorney Candidate On Foxx: 'I'm Focused On The Appearance Of Impropriety'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Bill Conway, a Democratic challenger of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, said recent cases involving a television celebrity and the law firm of an embattled alderman show an inability to be completely transparent.

"I am here focused on the appearance impropriety," Conway said.

During a news conference, Conway cited the controversies surrounding her handling of the Jussie Smollett case and having received funds from indicted Ald. Ed Burke (14th.)

Bill Conway
(Credit: CBS)

"Just after one year after raising big bucks for Foxx, Foxx settled a property tax appeal at his law firm for nearly two million dollars," Conway said. "It was the largest settlement Kim Foxx approved in her first eleven months in office."

He discussed the bungled Jussie Smollett case. The "Empire"actor said he was attacked by two men, who doused him with a chemical and put a noose around his neck while using racial and homophobic slurs at 2 a.m. Jan. 29. Police later accused Smollett of orchestrating a fake hate crime.

Disorderly conduct charges against Smollett were suddenly dropped by Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office. But now, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb has been appointed as a special prosecutor to take a closer look at the case.

Conway said Smollett's high profile could affect how smaller cases brought to the office's attention are dealt with.

"What about the business order who needs an inspection approved bu he needs to give a kickback to get something done," asked Conway.

Conway would not answer questions about providing direct proof between Foxx's campaign funds and the settlement of Burke's tax appeal.

Foxx's office released this statement:

"Like all cases, this matter was reviewed and handled based upon the facts, the evidence, and the law – and nothing more. The State's Attorney's Office (SAO) closes thousands of tax objection cases each year, often settling for a small fraction of the original claim and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been lost at trial.

"Settlement proposals of significant amounts must be approved by three supervisors before proceeding. State's Attorney Foxx was not involved directly with these cases or any of the 9,000 of its kind the SAO handled last year."

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