RICH JAMES: Raykovich has baggage, so send him packing

2013-02-24T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Raykovich has baggage, so send him packingBy Rich James nwitimes.com
February 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Oh, my.

One of the guys at the heart of the East Chicago sidewalks-for-votes scandal wants to get into Lake County government.

It could be any number of guys, but in this case it is Dr. Timothy Raykovich.

Besides being a political player in East Chicago, he also is a medical doctor.

In a sworn affidavit in U.S. District Court, Raykovich said he was a special assistant to East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick for financial and budgetary decisions.

Raykovich was among the many who betrayed Pastrick’s confidence by engineering the sidewalk scandal.

And Raykovich was paid handsomely. At $150 an hour, he made $1,200 if he stuck around all day.

In the affidavit, Raykovich acknowledged the contracts with a host of vendors were illegal because there were no competitive bids.

After the May 1999 primary campaign, the concrete work stopped.

Raykovich said the contractors were paid $5.08 for each square foot of poured concrete. He added that those close to the city political organization were paid an additional $5.08 per square foot.

In the affidavit, Raykovich said, “I knowingly and wrongfully permitted these excessive payments to be made because of their association with the aforesaid political organization.”

I guess when you are making $150 an hour, it is easy to look the other way.

Several city officials went to prison because of the mess. City Councilman Frank Kollintzas went to Greece.

Raykovich didn’t go anywhere.

While he kind of faded from sight, he resurfaced a few weeks back at a meeting of the Lake County 911 Commission. That’s the group with the difficult task of merge all county emergency responders under one umbrella. It’s state law.

New Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay attended the meeting with Raykovich in tow.

The good doctor gave his opinion about what did and didn’t have to be done.

Days later he told county commissioners that he wanted to be hired as a consultant for the 911 Commission.

But there is something screwy about this picture. Instead of $150 and hour, he wanted just $1 a year. Maybe that’s because he is president of Cenifax Management Services Inc., the company with a lucrative contract to run the county’s data processing.

Raykovich is a very bright guy. He said he wanted to add his expertise to this controversial issue. I suspect commissioners will say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Merging 911 centers may be the toughest thing the county commissioners have ever undertaken.

Raykovich has enough baggage to open a luggage store. Hiring him would throw a pall over the 911 process. It’s something Lake County can’t afford to do.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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