By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 6, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County watchdog agency says a former top assistant to Sheriff Tom Dart was not entitled to the nearly $90,000 in health benefits that he took while he was on leave for more than four years to manage his own security firm.

Inspector General Patrick Blanchard tells the Chicago Tribune that Julius “Jay” Rutili clearly violated the law by collecting the benefits while he was on personal leave.

Rutili repaid the county $89,185 in January three months after Blanchard notified Dart of his findings.

Dart’s chief policy adviser, Cara Smith, says it was an “honest mistake” to give Rutili health benefits when he was on leave and that steps have been taken to make sure such an error isn’t repeated.

Rutili characterizes his continued benefits as a billing error.

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