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Fri April 25, 2014
Former HFS Director To Pay $100k Ethics Fine
A former state official has agreed to pay a record $100,000 fine to settle charges he violated a state ethics law. Barry Maram is accused of going to work for a state contractor a week after he left his job as director of Healthcare and Family Services.
Maram was HFS director from the earliest days of the Blagojevich administration through April 2010.
Maram went on to take a job with the Chicago law firm Shefsky & Forelich (now part of Taft)
That's the same firm that — years earlier — the office of governor Blagojevich hired to defend a lawsuit over Illinois' attempts to expand state health insurance for kids.
At the time, Maram agreed to pay for half the legal bill of out of the HFS budget.
Because of that, the executive inspector general says Maram was prohibited from taking a job with Shefsky for one year.
It's with noting that before he took the job, Maram had sought the advice of HFS lawyers and the chief counsel to the Senate. And the office of Gov. Pat Quinn is on record disagreeing with the findings of the Ethics Commission.
Quinn's office says the revolving-door prohibition is intended to prevent officials from awarding contracts based on self-interest. But because it was the governor's office that awarded the contract to the law firm, not HFS, Maram shouldn't be barred from taking the job.
Maram maintains he did nothing wrong, but he is paying a $100,000 fine. In a statement, he says after four years, he just wants to put this to rest.
"I look forward to moving my career ahead with a great firm, wonderful clients, and with my integrity and reputation intact," Maram says.