Patrick D. McDonough has entered his first professional photo contest. I brought my best pictures. I won best in landscape and best overall. I won over some of the best photographers in Midwest. This was shot with my Nikon professional series equipment. It will be published in a journal soon. Not bad for my first professional contest! Photo by Patrick McDonough.
City employee gets 15 years in prison for accepting bribes
June 13, 2008
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
A former Chicago Buildings Department supervisor who dismissed citations and lifted stop-work orders in exchange for bribes–then frisked and threatened an underling who wore a wire for the government–was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison.
Kurt Berger pleaded guilty to accepting a $1,000 bribe for lifting a stop-work order on a South Side building slapped with a series of code violations.
But, his plea agreement acknowledged that Berger and former building inspector David Johnson lifted stop-work orders on troubled buildings three times before that, in exchange for $500 each.
Berger took the most recent bribe, even after Johnson was arrested in connection with the case in December, 2006 and agreed to wear a wire.
After the arrest, Berger called Johnson into Berger's City Hall office, frisked him, warned him to be more careful and threatened to "get" Johnson if the inspector ratted him out, according to the plea agreement. Johnson has pleaded guilty.
Berger's attorney Jeffrey Steinback praised U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow for her "Solomon-like" decision to "split the difference" between the minimum and maximum in federal sentencing guidelines.
But, Steinback insisted that public safety was never compromised by Berger's actions and that he never asked for the money. He simply accepted cash "thank you's" from contractors after the fact.
"All they were doing is the finishing touches. There were no structural changes. No loose wires or any other violations. This was strictly a stop-work order because of an expired permit on a project that was already 90 percent complete. There were no compromises to anyone's safety," Steinback said.
Inspector General David Hoffman countered that calling the bribe a "thank you after the fact minimizes the significance" of what Berger did.
"Kurt Berger was the supervisor over the Troubled Buildings Section. When he dismissed citations by basically removing them from the computer system, he was completely undermining the work other building inspectors had done. That is very significant corrupt conduct," he said.
Michael McGann is a favorite at Chicago Clout. The Chicago Clout website has attempted to help as many municipal workers as possible. Today was a very long day for Michael McGann and his group of supporters. The North side of Chicago and the South side stepped to the plate for Chicago’s most famous plumbing inspector. Kids demand clean water in Chicago. Chicago should not punish city workers that want to make sure the drinking water in the less affluent sections of Chicago get the same clean water as those yuppies downtown. If Chicago is to remain a “Green City”, than the water should not have e-coli or fecal matter in our children’s drinking supply. I am proud of these young kids that drink Chicago water fighting for what is right. These are the McGann and McDonough children. We would also like to thank the Smith, Martinez, and Bernstein kids for supporting Inspector McGann. Michael McGann blew the whistle on bad water and plumbing at the Jose De Diego School in Chicago, now his bosses are mad. Frank Avila Jr. is McGann’s attorney at this hearing. I am glad the Chicago kids want clean water. Also at the hearing was Charles Walker, a former Inspector that should get his job back soon. Read an article by Fran Spielman, see below. Photo by Patrick McDonough]]> Continue reading “Chicago Department of Human Resources struggle over Drinking Water Whistleblower”
I hope when you pay your tax bill my fellow Chicagoans, you make sure to thank Mayor Daley and all the Chicago Politicians for providing City Workers to fill space at the Olympic rally. Mayor Daley wants the Olympics so bad he is willing to provide city workers so he can look like he is a big player. Of course many of the City Workers know Mayor Daley is breaking the rules that forbid politics on city time. I think the bosses that asked their underlings to participate in the Obama-Mayor Daley victory dance should be fired. The Inspector General was notified before as union workers were ordered to attend rallies with Rod Blagojevich and Mayor Daley. Many people were also not aware the courthouse at the rally encouraged many trials to shut down early because of safety concerns with Barack Obama. Daley does have power and clout, but asking trials in progress to shut down early? Please read Mark Browns take on the rally. Mayor Daley is very short, how tall is he? Obama is at least a foot taller that Daley, right? (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) . Patrick McDonough]]> Continue reading “Mayor Daley orders City Workers to Olympic Rally With Obama”
Fran Spielman is a Chicago Reporter that follows up on investigations. The Mayor Daley Administration is used to corruption and investigations just fading away. Read this article that shows the Department of Water Management that does not spend money wisely. The billing has increased dramatically since employees have made threats. Read the extended entry below. This security company has some major props somewhere John Daley! Patrick McDonough. Continue reading “Chicago Clout Honors Fran Spielman Again”