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Ask Your Plumbing Inspector wants the Inspector General to inspect Fraud

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Inspector General Ferguson known for digging up dirt

April 16, 2010

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
No wonder most Chicago aldermen don’t want the city’s corruption-fighting Inspector General Joe Ferguson investigating the City Council.

When Ferguson investigates city employees and contractors, he digs up dirt.

The inspector general’s quarterly report includes all kinds of juicy stuff. Names of employees and contractors have been withheld, as required by law. But, the sketchy details are still fascinating:

• A non-profit organization allegedly falsified documents to support Health Department funding, and an employee of the non-profit sold HIV testing kits supplied by the city at no cost. Four Health Department employees were disciplined. The non-profit was barred from doing business with the city.

• Several other Health Department employees were disciplined after allegedly accepting meals and other gifts from prospective vendors.

• Four Human Services employees allegedly altered an audit of delegate agencies receiving millions in federal grant money. Three of them resigned. The fourth served a one-week suspension.

• An employee of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications allegedly “knew or should have known” that a city filing to secure new radio channels from the Federal Communications Commission was false.

The IG also discovered that a consultant paid to advise the city on FCC issues did not have a contract. Payments were allegedly routed through other vendors, who served as “pass-throughs” and charged the city a “premium.”

Ferguson recommended a 30-day suspension for one employee, 14-days for another, the contracting equivalent of the death penalty for the unauthorized contractor and a return of the pass-through premiums. Action is still pending.

• A supervisor in the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development resigned after accepting $2,200 for an international trip without disclosing the illegal gift.

• Two contractors “collaborated” on their bids to lock in city business and one of them falsely claimed to be a Chicago business to avoid a penalty that would raise the bid. Ferguson recommended the contracting equivalent of the death penalty for both companies. The matter is still pending.

• A Buildings Department employee was fired after a resident reported seeing the worker urinating in their gangway while on duty.

• A Streets and Sanitation employee allegedly used the log-on ID code of a retired co-worker to access and edit computerized time records. Ferguson recommended a 14-day suspension. Action is still pending.

• Another Streets and San employee faces a 14-day suspension for allegedly using two sick days while in police custody.

• One Water Management supervisor resigned and another retired after they allegedly conspired in a “broad and sustained effort” to award Shakman-protected jobs to political cronies. One of the bosses was further accused of making “false, inaccurate and deliberately incomplete” statements to investigators.

• Two General Services employees allegedly manipulated grading sheets to benefit a chosen candidate for promotion. Ferguson recommended termination for one and a 30-day suspension for the other. Action still pending.

• Another General Services employee faces firing for allegedly reassigning a subordinate in retaliation for a Violence in the Workplace complaint filed by that person against another employee.

• An employee of a contractor hired to renovate a city facility was fired after admitting that he or she stole two city-owned televisions. The firm reimbursed the city for the value of the TV’s.

• An Aviation Department employee failed to ensure that access badges to restricted areas of Chicago airports be “properly stored and secured.” Ferguson recommended a one-week suspension. Action is still pending.

The Inspector General does the best they can will a limited budget. Joe is everybit as good as our guy David Hoffman. Alex was a clout clown that wrecked the Office of the OIG in Chicago.

Ron Huberman (in the fabulous orange tie), will succeed Mayor Daley in 2011

A lot of you have been emailing us to ask what we are hearing about the 2011 Chicago Mayor’s race. Here’s a collection of little bits we picked up during the holidays, here and there at various events, and from conversations with people we know here on the ground who follow politics closely:

(1) Winning the Olympics was Mayor Daley’s only ace to stay in power; it would have created a patronage and money laundering machine that would have kept Daley in office beyond 2016. While he’s currently limited in who he can bribe and what millions can be diverted to his family and friends, the Olympics would have given Daley an unregulated, unsupervised slush fund from which to secure political allies and ground teams to essentially make him an Emperor, instead of the petty king he is now. Without the Olympics, Daley is now largely powerless. Expect him not to seek another term in 2011, because he won’t win.

(2) Daley was always about rivaling his father, surpassing his own time on Chicago ’s throne. By the conclusion of this current term, he will have certainly done that. Millennium Park is Daley’s crowning glory…sitting right next to a park dedicated to his father in 1976, but 1000 times more grand. We live in a city of Pharaohs here, and the son has eclipsed the father in this dynasty. There’s nothing Daley can realistically accomplish on a massive scale in this economy, so it seems there’s no reason for him to run for office again.

(3) Daley’s son is a screwup, who’s in the military now in hopes he can be redeemed as a veteran. Perhaps the longterm plan is to install him as the third Mayor Daley twenty years from now. The current Mayor was also a screwup growing up, so it’s not unprecedented. There was also a gap between the first Mayor Daley and his wayward son’s taking back the office…where historic “firsts” held the seat warm for the second coming of Daley (first black mayor, first cross-dressing mayor (who was also the first black mayor), first female mayor (who didn’t look as nice in dresses as the first black mayor did), etc.

(4) Mayor Daley has been grooming Ron Huberman, currently the head of Chicago Public Schools, as his successor-placeholder. Huberman would be the first openly gay mayor of Chicago , and only the second openly gay mayor of a major city (after Houston ). Daley put Huberman in charge of the CTA (our transit authority) so Huberman could get his connections to the union thugs there, and now that he’s in charge of the schools, he’s in with the thugs in the teachers’ unions too. It was Daley’s intention to stay in power until 2016 by winning the Olympics, but since that’s not going to happen now, things are being sped up for Huberman.

(5) What makes Huberman Daley’s perfect replacement is that so many people think he’s black, but he’s not, he’s Israeli-born. But, black voters just race-vote in elections, and if they think someone is black, they will vote for him. Charles Manson could be elected to office in Chicago if the Southside was somehow convinced he was black. We wish and wish this was a joke or that we were exaggerating, but it’s true. “Lemme see a picture of him” is what black voters ask when deciding whom to vote for. Not, “Does he know what he’s doing?”, “Is he qualified?”, “Will he do a good job?”. Nope, if you look enough like them, then you are in. Huberman has that going for him. Most white people think he’s black, too, but in the Will Smith/Dr. Utopia way that yuppies in Chicago adore. Huberman is the new Utopia here…and he will be Mayor. The machine will see to it.

(6) Some of you have a wild idea that Rahm Emanuel will return to Chicago to run for Mayor. We don’t see how that happens, because he can’t win. There’s no love for Emanuel in this town. Not even all the hot young guys working in big law firms or brokerage firms (who owe their current high-paying positions to whatever positions they put themselves in, on the down-low, with Emanuel in the past) are all that fond of him. The man may not be a very generous lover, but he’s sure kind to young men he wants to keep quiet about whatever went on in their relationships. If he’d run for Mayor, Emanuel would see all of these stories come out. Daley’s people would see to that, because Emanuel is not part of Daley’s succession plan. And everyone in Boystown knew the quickest route to big success in the Loop was catching Emanuel’s wandering eye at a party somewhere. An all-male party.

(7) Emanuel wanted his crony Sara Feigenholtz to win the special election for his Congressional seat, but she lost to Mike Quigley. Feigenholtz would have relinquished that seat back to Emanuel in 2012 if he wanted it back, knowing Dr. Utopia would not be getting a second term. Quigly intends to keep that seat for himself, so there’s no going home again for Emanuel with Congress. He’ll more likely than not end up at a big lobbying firm making tons of money, or perhaps he’ll be installed as the new Chairman of the DNC after Tim Kaine. But, we doubt he’ll ever run for elected office again. As Chief of Staff, he’s made too many new enemies who’ll want to tear him down if ever they get the chance. Emanuel is too smart to ever give them that chance.

(8) What Daley wants to see happen is for Ron Huberman to become Mayor after him, a gay man with no children and no dynastic potential. After Huberman, provided the next generation of Daleys has cleaned himself up enough in the military to be presentable, Mayor Daley seems to want his son to succeed Huberman the Placeholder. And the Daley reign then continues for another 25 years or so deep into the future, where, combined, this one family would have ruled Chicago as a personal fiefdom for 75+ years. Take that, Kennedys of Massachusetts .

Boy Pat, you sure don't give the host much of a chance to say anything!! Seems that you hog much of the show.