CHICAGO
03/08/2011 05:54 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Preckwinkle: Stroger Unemployment Claim Inappropriate, Probably Ineligible

While serving as Cook County Board President, Todd Stroger made headlines for regularly misusing county money. Now that he's out of office, he's apparently looking for another way into the county till -- through the unemployment office.

But his replacement, Toni Preckwinkle, is none too thrilled with that notion.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported over the weekend that Stroger had applied for unemployment benefits, according to a source in the Preckwinkle administration. But Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security explained that the former executive of the second-largest county in America was unlikely to qualify for benefits:

“When someone applies, their weekly check is based on how much money they’ve earned,” Rivara said. “Could be from one source, could be from multiple sources, but wages earned from doing the job [someone was] elected to don’t figure in.”

In other words, it’s as if they didn’t work — or earn a dime.

That could effectively disqualify Stroger from collecting unemployment benefits — at least benefits resulting from his elected position.

And the new President herself weighed in on the matter Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for elected officials who lose elections to apply for unemployment compensation,” Preckwinkle said. “My understanding from staff is he’s ineligible.”

Either side could take the IDES decision to court for an appeal, the suburban Daily Herald reports. But if Stroger were to win benefits on his $170,000 salary, that would amount to over $500 a week.