Racist emails scandal moves beyond Chicago as Illinois opens investigation into state employee’s role

State officials are investigating a longtime employee whose personal email address is a source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails at the center of the Chicago water department’s burgeoning scandal, including a fake “Chicago Safari” tour making light of the shootings of children in black and Hispanic neighborhoods

The state began a review into Frank Capuzi — an investigator with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and son of a former Republican state lawmaker — following Tribune inquiries into offensive emails forwarded from his address to a water department boss and others.

The state’s actions mark the first time the email scandal has created fresh headaches for another government body.

“The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is currently investigating the highly offensive and inexcusable email messages from one of its employees,” said commission spokesman Ben Noble. “After a complete and thorough administrative review, the commission will determine what actions may be appropriate.”

Capuzi hung up on a reporter and did not respond to follow-up emails sent to his work and personal addresses. He has worked for the state since 1975 and makes more than $114,000 per year.

Capuzi, 62, was a longtime GOP committeeman on the West Side, having won the 26th Ward post as recently as 2008 and the 27th Ward at least as far back as the early 1980s, according to records from the Chicago Board of Elections.

The “Chicago Safari” email was among at least four of the most offensive ones that circulated among water department bosses that came from Capuzi’s personal address.

The city redacted the address in the messages released via open records requests. The Tribune through interviews and sources, confirmed it was Capuzi’s personal AOL address. It is the same email address Capuzi listed in the past as a contact for his political work.

Even though Capuzi didn’t use his government email address, Chad Fornoff, executive director of the state Executive Ethics Commission, said that this type of matter should be referred to the executive inspector general for investigation into whether any violations of state law, rules or policies have occurred, including conduct unbecoming a state employee.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration’s code of personal conduct states, in part, that employees should conduct themselves “with integrity and in a manner that reflects favorably upon the state.” That code, a union bargaining agreement and the state ethics law are all part of the review, the commission said.

The Rauner administration confirmed that the Workers’ Compensation Commission had launched an investigation. The commission is a quasi-independent body with members appointed by the governor and currently has six Republicans and four Democrats. “The administration was not previously aware of these emails, and the language used is inappropriate and unacceptable,” said Rauner’s spokeswoman Laurel Patrick.

The revelation of how the offensive messages found their way into the water department comes amid the city inspector general’s ongoing investigation into the sharing of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails among city water workers and their bosses.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s findings have led to five high-level water department bosses being ousted, including Commissioner Barrett Murphy; his deputy, William Bresnahan; and Paul Hansen, a district superintendent and the son of former Democratic Ald. Bernie Hansen (44th). The Tribune reported earlier this week that a private contract employee was caught up in the scandal and has been blocked from working on city projects.

The Tribune, under a public records request, had obtained nearly 1,300 emails from the water department, including several emails forwarded from Capuzi to Hansen.

The Tribune found that at least four offensive emails shared with Hansen and others came from Capuzi’s address. The email threads include the names as “Frank Capuzi,” “Frank” and “F. Capuzi.”

A July 2013 email with the subject line “Chicago Safari Tickets” states that if “you didn’t book a Chicago safari adventure,” for the Independence Day weekend, “you missed” the shootings of a 5-year-old boy and two others in West Pullman; the shooting of a 7-year-old boy in Chatham; and the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in Humboldt Park.

“We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today,” the email reads. An image shows four white people in safari gear taking pictures of several black people trying to break into a car.

The emails states that safari guests will stay in a hotel with triple deadbolt locks and window bars, but the safari guides cannot “guarantee Bell Hops won’t run off with your luggage.” The safari promises the rooms will be “99% free of drug needles and crack pipes.”

The Tribune on Friday obtained the Chicago safari email, uncovered as part of the inspector general’s investigation, through a public records request.

Another titled “Watermelon Protection” was sent to Hansen in July 2014 and included an image that depicted a scarecrow, dressed in a white KKK robe and pointed hood, amid a watermelon patch.

Hansen, in turn, forwarded the email to Murphy. “I don’t understand,” Hansen wrote in the email to Murphy.

There is a March 2014 email received by “F Capuzi” then forwarded by “Frank” to Hansen with the subject line “The World’s Shortest Essay — Gotta Love the Texas School Systems.”

The email contained a joke that spares few in its offensiveness. It refers to an essay contest held for Texas teens that had to include elements of religion, royalty, racism, disability and homosexuality. The “winning” essay read: “My God,” cried the Queen, “That one-legged nigger is a queer.”

In turn, Hansen forwarded the email to Bresnahan and two other water department bosses.

Paul Hansen was a supervisor in the water department who allegedly used his city email to negotiate firearms deals. (July 18, 2017)
An April 2017 email forwarded from Capuzi’s address announces that “Today is Heterosexual Male Pride Day!” It makes that declaration after showing a series of photographs of steaks grilling, a row of beer taps and a naked woman.

The body of the email states: “To all of my friends who are tired of taking a BACK SEAT to gays, lesbians, homosexuals, trans genders, women soldiers, bra burners, female boy scouts, women libbers, tree huggers, and eco-commie-environ-freaks, the looney left, Greens, social justice warriors and worse of all — those fucking Democrats!”

Hansen could not be reached for comment. Capuzi’s boss, Robert Ruiz, said he did not know about the emails and declined to comment further.

Paul Finamore, a Chicago area businessman and longtime friend of Capuzi, was listed as receiving some of the emails and said he was appalled at the content when shown the watermelon protection and the shortest essay emails.

“Oh, my God,” Finamore said after he reviewed the emails at the Tribune’s request. “I don’t remember seeing anything of this, to tell you the truth.”

Finamore, the chief executive officer of Hairline Creations Inc., said Capuzi was a groomsman for his 1989 wedding party and that the two had hunted together.

“This man is a racist,” Finamore said. “You’ve got to know this guy. He’s a good, good guy.”

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Paul Hansen 7208 West Olive Rooting out more City Hall racists: Taxpayers funded this orgy of prejudice

It started with a complaint that a Chicago water department superintendent was using a city email address to conduct private firearms transactions. The inspector general’s investigation turned up a lot more. Besides negotiating to buy or sell four guns and five cars, Paul Hansen traded racist emails with other supervisors and visited websites not related to his job — some containing sexually explicit materials — on “thousands of occasions” in a four-month period.

On city email, on a city computer, on city time.

He also forwarded a confidential workplace violence complaint filed by a subordinate to the employee accused in the complaint, according to IG Joseph Ferguson’s report.

The top bosses who were looped in on some of those emails didn’t put a stop to them. Sometimes they even joined in. Photos of naked women, jokes about fucking watermelon, a picture of an African-American baby in a bucket described as a swimming pool, a message with the subject line “U Know U Be In Da Hood” — it was all just another day at the office at the Department of Water Management.
A trove of emails obtained earlier by the Tribune contained more of the same: a Confederate flag, a reference to “negro midgets,” a crude joke about an employee needing “an inflatable doughnut on the chair” after a Gay Pride weekend. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect from fourth-grade boys with pigs for parents. And it was all happening on your dime, taxpayers.

Here’s the other outrage: Nobody is surprised. The water department is larded with workers that somebody sent. In 2006, the department was the focus of a federal corruption trial that showed how then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration rewarded campaign workers with jobs, promotions and overtime. Daley’s patronage chief, Robert Sorich, maintained the secret “clout list,” rigged interviews and falsified documents to grease the hires.

In one of the emails, Hansen, the son of ex-44th Ward Ald. Bernie Hansen, bragged about his ability to “swing elections.”

“The water department has been staffed at its highest levels by persons whose social or political connections were their chief or only qualification for the job,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, chairman of the City Council’s black caucus, said this week. “The emails have exposed that these individuals hold black Chicagoans in contempt.”

The good news is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t having it. He’s made a clean sweep of top management, including Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy, a personal friend.

Hansen and Thomas Durkin, general foreman of plumbers, were told to quit or be fired. Both quit. (The IG’s report didn’t name them, but Tribune reporters identified them through City Hall sources.) Others should follow. Managers and supervisors will undergo training about workplace discrimination, and an outside firm is studying how to address and prevent such conduct citywide.

That’s all good. If this is how the bosses behave, then bigots at all levels are emboldened, and workers who are offended or victimized feel they have no recourse. The city needs to make sure its employees feel safe — and obligated — to report such behavior. That means providing the mechanisms and the training to make it happen.

Changing the culture also means aggressively rooting out the bad actors, and we suspect there are many more. Yet the IG’s report notes that its access to emails is limited by city law department protocols. The IG “must submit requests for emails using limiting search terms and date ranges” and must reduce its request if it gets too many hits, the report says.

As journalists, we’re familiar with such roadblocks; they’re meant to keep us from reporting things that would embarrass public officials. What purpose could they serve in this case? The law department ought to remove those barriers and let the investigation go as far and as fast as it can.

In a federal lawsuit filed last month, a group of African-American water department employees say they were denied promotions, subjected to racial slurs and sexually harassed because of their race, and that their bosses “have done nothing” about it.

The city should pull out all the stops to address those complaints. Too many people at the water department got their jobs for the wrong reasons and never had to worry about losing them. They ought to be nervous now.

Please help a City of Chicago Department of Water Management Victim of Injustice

John Ware City of Chicago Go Fund Me.jpg Please help City of Chicago Hoisting Engineer Foreman John Ware make it through a troubling time as justice is nowhere to be seen at the Chicago Department of Water Management. Maybe John C. D’Amico can dip into his many extra paychecks. People need to eat. Maybe Andy Anderson can find a way to give a penny or two. We do not expect Paul Hansen to help anymore.

Chicago Tribune’s Ray Long and Todd Lighty expose the Chicago Department of Water Managment

In a city scarred by a deep and troubling history with guns, a supervisor in the scandal-plagued water department used his city email account to negotiate firearms deals and make light of deadly Fourth of July violence in black neighborhoods by offering “Chicago Safari” tours, a new watchdog report revealed Monday.

The latest development in the ongoing investigation, which the Tribune first disclosed in May, emerged as Inspector General Joseph Ferguson detailed how ousted district water superintendent Paul Hansen emailed with individuals over personal purchases or sales of at least four firearms and five cars.

Those emails about firearms started the investigation over his use of a government account for personal business, which is against city rules. And it quickly spread to other emails sent by Hansen, who is white and the son of a former alderman, to other water department bosses, according to City Hall sources.

In his quarterly report, Ferguson revealed a fresh string of anti-black emails sent to multiple high-ranking water department workers that touted a fake “Chicago Safari” package. It cited the number of shootings during a July Fourth weekend and guaranteed tourists would observe “at least one kill and five crime scenes” and also see “lots of animals in their natural habitat.”

Hansen’s racially charged emails included messages to fellow workers purported to be in “Ebonics,” sometimes called American black English, and a picture describing a swimming pool for a small African-American child who sits in a bucket filled with water while holding a slice of watermelon, the report found.

Ferguson also cited Hansen’s “Watermelon Protection” email that featured a picture depicting a Ku Klux Klan scarecrow guarding a field of watermelons, part of a cache of racist, sexist and homophobic emails the Tribune first disclosed online Friday.

A second figure noted in the report for anti-Muslim and anti-black emails was Thomas J. Durkin, the general foreman of plumbers who resigned recently after being placed on administrative leave while under investigation. Neither Hansen nor Durkin were named, but the Tribune was able to identify them through City Hall sources, the description of their activities and job status listed.

Newly released racist, sexist emails show scope of scandal at Chicago’s water department
Hansen and Durkin could not be reached immediately for comment.

The inspector general’s quarterly report comes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel finds himself fighting the proliferation of firearms in the city and facing the fallout from another deadly July Fourth weekend in Chicago.

As Emanuel seeks to recapture support from African-American voters still upset over his handling of the 2014 fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the mayor and his aides have stressed that he installed a new commissioner and sought to remake the culture in the long-troubled department.

Still, Ferguson’s report raised questions about whether he found all the troubling emails. Ferguson said the mayor’s Law Department imposes restrictions that do not allow “unfettered access to city emails,” which has hampered the investigation. He said the Law Department requires that his office submit requests for emails using limited search terms and date ranges.

“Given the lack of direct access to emails,” Ferguson said that his office “cannot be certain it has identified all relevant documents.”

Lawsuit alleges racism at roiled Chicago water department
Bill McCaffrey, a Law Department spokesman, said restrictions on email searches are needed to protect the integrity of the inspector general’s investigation, any attorney-client privileges and the city’s “limited resources.”

“The protocol allows up to 20,000 emails to be produced at a time, however, we greatly exceeded that count in this investigation and have accommodated similar requests every other time the Inspector General has requested a larger search,” McCaffrey said.

Hansen’s misuse of a city computer was so prevalent that, in one four-month period alone, he called up sexually explicit, age-restricted YouTube videos and visited other internet sites unrelated to city business on “thousands of occasions,” the report found. Durkin also was cited for sending and receiving sexually explicit photos and videos on his city email account.

Emanuel aides have defended the mayor, underscoring his response to the investigation that has toppled Hansen, whose father is former 44th Ward Ald. Bernie Hansen, Durkin and three others. The biggest casualty came in May when Emanuel collected the resignation of water Commissioner Barrett Murphy, a friend of the mayor whose wife, Lynn Lockwood, is a former chairman and treasurer of one of Emanuel’s political funds and is close to his wife, Amy Rule.

At the time, the mayor’s office said Emanuel acted “quickly and decisively” by asking Murphy and top deputy William Bresnahan to step down after learning of what was then an 8-month-old Ferguson investigation.

“Mayor Emanuel has been clear that the conduct uncovered by the OIG’s investigation does not reflect Chicago’s values and will not be tolerated, which is why he acted swiftly to address the issue and bring in new leadership at the Department of Water Management,” spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier said Monday in response to the report.

And Emanuel’s newly installed water department Commissioner Randy Conner, an African-American, said his agency “has a zero-tolerance policy on racism and sexism” and “will continue to take all appropriate measures to fully enforce this policy up to and including termination, or separation” from the department.

The City Council’s chairman of the black caucus, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, said he is glad the investigation is continuing and bringing the issues to light. “I’m hoping under new leadership that they can address this head-on and eliminate that cancer that was eating away, permeating. right through the department.”

In late June, Durkin, the general foreman of plumbers, and John “Jack” Lee Jr., a district superintendent, were placed on administrative leave pending disciplinary decisions and now have resigned.

Durkin sent email from his city account that referred to Muslims as “rag head c— suckers,” according to the inspector general. He also suggested that people should have thrown grenades at a black Italian politician instead of bananas, the report said.

In Monday’s report, it was Hansen’s attempt to make light of a spike of violence in largely black neighborhoods during a previous July Fourth holiday that figured prominently. The report said Hansen’s email to multiple high-ranking water department officials started with the subject line: “Chicago Safari Tickets.” The report doesn’t name the recipients.

“If you didn’t book a Chicago Safari adventure with us this 4th of July weekend this is what you missed,” the report quoted the email as saying. The date of this email and others were not provided in the report. The comment was followed by lists of the number of people shot in South and West side neighborhoods including Englewood, Garfield Park, Austin, Lawndale, South Shore and Woodlawn.

“Remember all Chicago Safari packages include 3 deluxe ‘Harold’s Chicken’ meals a day,” the report quoted Hansen’s email as saying. “We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today.”

Four white people in safari gear are depicted as taking pictures of several black people who are trying to break into a car, the report said.

Durkin replied to the safari email with a message that described African-Americans as “wild animals” who are “untamed,” the report said.

Among the email’s photographs, the report said, was one of a “wheelbarrow full of watermelons with a sign stating, “Apply for a Credit Card. Free Watermelons.'” It was sent to a high-ranking official with the subject line: “U Know U Be In Da Hood.”

The email with the African-American child in a bucket and a piece of watermelon came with a message: “As an apology — Paula Deen Opens Swimming Pool for Youth.” A celebrity chef, Deen became the object of widespread ridicule when she said in a 2013 deposition that she used a racial slur. Deen, who was dropped by the Food Network, later apologized.

Ferguson said both Hansen and Durkin were designated as having resigned in lieu of discharge, and they will be placed on the ineligible-for-rehire list.

In another water department case, Ferguson recommended that a chemist who allegedly harassed a current water worker and a former employee be fired. Ferguson alleged the chemist made multiple derogatory text messages and phone calls, citing him for “aggressive and threatening behavior,” according to the report.

The department fired the chemist, who is fighting the termination.

Chicago Tribune’s Hal Dardick contributed.

Alderman Tom Tulley’s Boytoy City supervisor called African-Americans ‘wild animals’ in email: IG

The son of a former Chicago alderman used his city email account to buy or sell “at least four firearms and five cars” and send hate-filled emails describing African-Americans as “wild animals.”

Inspector General Joe Ferguson on Monday issued a quarterly report with several explosive new allegations about a Department of Water Management employee whom sources identified to the Sun-Times as former District Superintendent Paul Hansen.

Hansen is the son of former longtime Ald. Bernard Hansen (44th), who presided over Wrigleyville during the Cubs’ marathon battle for lights at Wrigley Field. The son’s checkered past with the water department includes allegations that his political clout helped him get his job back after a DUI conviction.

As the Chicago Sun-Times was first to report, Ferguson originally uncovered the racist, sexist and homophobic emails circulating in the water department while investigating allegations that Paul Hansen had used his city email account to sell guns.

New disclosures include a claim that the now-fired employee sent an email with the subject line “Chicago Safari Tickets” to multiple high-ranking water department colleagues.

“If you didn’t book a Chicago Safari adventure with us this 4th of July weekend, this is what you missed,” the email states, listing the number of people shot in Englewood, Garfield Park, Austin, Lawndale, South Shore, Woodlawn and other neighborhood plagued by gang violence. It concludes: “We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three-day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat.”

Yet another email with the subject line, “Watermelon Protection” includes the image of a Ku Klux Klan robe on a stick in the middle of a watermelon patch. Another under the subject line, “U Know U be In Da Hood” contains several photos, including one of a wheelbarrow full of watermelons with a sign that states, “Apply for a Credit Card. Free Watermelon.”

Hansen was further accused of: “repeatedly” sending sexually explicit photos and videos; using his city email account to negotiate personal purchases or sales of at least four firearms and five cars and using a city computer to access websites unrelated to city business on thousands of occasions over a four-month period, including accessing sexually explicit videos on YouTube.

Hansen hung up on a Sun-Times reporter seeking comment on the new allegations.

Ferguson’s quarterly report also reveals a Water Management chemist “harassed” a former and current employee “through the transmission of multiple text messages and phone calls that included derogatory and threatening messages.”

The alleged harassment occurred “after both employees had already filed multiple complaints–including with the Chicago Police Department, the Department of Human Resources, and OIG — against the chemist for aggressive and threatening behavior toward them.

Newly-appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner followed Ferguson’s recommendation to fire the chemist, only to have the fired employee file a grievance. Arbitration is ongoing.

Another now-fired Water Management supervisor was accused of sending racist and hateful emails that referred to Muslims as “rag head —suckers” and describing African-Americans as “wild animals” who are “untamed” in response to Hansen’s “Chicago Safari” email.

The fired supervisor also suggested that people “should have thrown grenades at a black Italian politician instead of bananas,” Ferguson wrote.

Last month, a housecleaning in the department at the center of the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals swept out Commissioner Barrett Murphy, managing deputy William Bresnahan and Hansen.

Sources said Murphy was held responsible for the chain of racist and sexist emails; Murphy was among those receiving the emails but did not discipline the employee.

Ferguson’s investigation is ongoing and is almost certain to trigger more high-level firings, City Hall sources said.

Rahm Emanuel orders Niggers out of the Yard, Department of Water Management

Chicago Niggers in the Yard.jpg The City of Chicago is under full attack after finding out just a few of the violent racist emails that are circulating at the Chicago Department of Water Management. The City of Chicago is subject to more lawsuits in the future thanks to the great reporting of Chicago Clout. Chicago Clout is going to help every lawyer in Chicago that is going to give honest government back.

The City of Chicago under Rahm Emanuel has the Mosquito program.

“Crews led by the Chicago Department of Water Management and others are dropping larvicide briquettes down all 210,000 catch basins on the public way. The slow-dissolving briquettes will, for the next five months, prevent large amounts of mosquito larvae from developing into biting adults. Additionally, the Department of General Services is ensuring treatment of over 3,000 catch basins not on the public way.”

The real program is a political program to Southside reverends to supply blacks in need of a temporary job. Rahm Emanuel supplies money and taxpayer funded goodwill to his benefit. One Chicago employee with clout will take the minivan (leased) with a van load of blacks and make sure the work is completed. The program helps high ranking black commissioners keep the political clout train rolling. The Jackson Family got a taste of this loot.

Many of the black kids were treated like crap and told not to use the bathrooms and stay away from the regular white and Hispanic crews. They were treated very poorly. One supervisor would always call them niggers. The fuckin niggers are here again. The high ranking North District boss said, “I’ll get rid of those niggers”. Many of the workers would laugh. One black kid had an accident after he was told, “take a shit somewhere else”. The way these black kids were treated was something out of a horror movie. I reported this behavior but nothing was done.
The Inspector General has known about Paul Hansen for years and nothing was done. The Chicago law department has had complaints about the rigged promotion of Paul Hansen, and nothing was done. Maybe Alderman Tunney will return my calls and he can explain why he put told Rahm Emanuel to put Paul in as District Superintendent. Maybe Plumbers Local 130 can explain their part in this mess.
I will have some more items for your interest. I hope the lawyers contact all those black kids and get them some relief. I’ve got some video for the upcoming election. Change. Frank Coconate is going to have some more action soon. “revenge is a dish best served cold”

New Emails Show Racist, Sexist Culture In City Water Dept. Paul Hansen Cray Cray

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another round of emails released late Friday by the city of Chicago reveal more racist and sexist exchanges among some of the top officials in the Department of Water Management as recently as April a month before some were forced out, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Earlier emails, part of a months-long investigation by City Inspector General Joe Ferguson, led to Water Management Commissioner Barrett Murphy, Managing Deputy William Bresnahan and District Superintendent Paul Hansen losing their jobs.

The latest batch of emails contain homophobic slurs in addition to anti-black and anti-woman comments. Some of the most striking exchanges include an image of a scarecrow dressed in a KKK robe in a watermelon field, a picture of a nude woman used to celebrate “heterosexual male pride day” and comments mocking gays.

The email containing the KKK scarecrow was forwarded from Hansen to Murphy in July 2014 with the subject line “Watermelon Protection.” Included in the email, which Hansen had received from someone else, was the photo and this statement: “God is great, beer is good … and people are crazy. I’m guessing this would be considered politically incorrect.”

Hansen then added this: “I don’t understand.”

Another racist email Hansen shared with Murphy was sent in February 2013 in response to a request from ComEd for city employees to halt work near a power line serving a fire station, schools and a senior citizen home. “I think the only thing that the line does not feed is the center for the severely challenged negro midgets, you know the place, its where we hired all those laborers from 7 years ago,” Hansen wrote.

In an email Hansen received April 19, 2017 – just a month before he lost his job – there were pictures of steaks on a grill, beer taps on a bar and a woman bearing her breasts along with this message: “To all my friends who are tired of taking a BACK SEAT to gays, lesbians, homosexuals, trans genders, women soldiers, bra burners, female boy scouts, women libbers, tree huggers and eco-commie-environ-freaks, the looney left, Greens, social justice warriors and worse of all – those f—- democrats!

In yet another email, dated March 11, 2014, Hansen shared with Bresnahan a story about a 16-year-old Texas boy who purportedly won the world’s shortest essay competition by writing about religion, royalty, physical disability, racism and homosexuality. The email claimed the boy won a scholarship to a Texas university for writing this: “My God,” cried the Queen, “That one-legged n— is a queer.”

When Hansen was asked Friday night if he would like to comment on the newly released emails, he said, “If you’re looking for a comment, you can forget it” and hung up. A voicemail message left for Murphy was not immediately returned.

Shannon Breymaier, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said in a statement the mayor is “fully supportive” of recently appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner’s actions to provide additional EEO training to the department’s managers and supervisors.

Late last month, several current and former water department employees filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city and top Water Management officials of creating “a hostile and abusive work environment based on race that includes violence, intimidation (and) retaliation,” the Sun-Times reported.

Lawsuit Says Black City Employees Faced Racial Slurs, Were Denied Promotions At Water Department

A new lawsuit filed Thursday against the city claims that black employees of Chicago’s Water Department were discriminated against, sexually harassed, denied promotions and spoken to with racial slurs.
The lawsuit was filed by seven employees, some current, some former, with hopes of earning class-action lawsuit status to extend its impact. The filing paints a disturbing picture of racism inside the water department, including alleging that the employees were regularly subjected to racial slurs and other demeaning language, including the n-word and being called “you people.” Additionally, ” “Black female employees are called bitches and whores on a regular basis,” according to the suit. The Sun-Times has published the suit here.
The suit follows recent leadership changes at the Water Management Department and the release of racist and sexist emails written between ex-department heads. The city recently appointed Randy Conner as the new water department commissioner; Conner, who is African American, was promoted to replace Barrett Murphy, the ex-comissioner who recently resigned with two other colleagues after an inspector general report revealed racist and sexist emails were being sent among department employees.

Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination in Chicago’s Water Department

CHICAGO (AP) — Black workers at Chicago’s Department of Water Management have filed a federal lawsuit contending they were routinely denied promotions and subjected to racial slurs.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court also asserts blacks were also sexually assaulted because of their race. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven current and former employees of the department, and it seeks class-action status.

The lawsuit alleges that when complaints were filed about a hostile work environment, black workers were “subjected to unfair, arbitrary and capricious discipline for speaking out.”

The complaint comes weeks after the leadership at the water department was shuffled after a probe uncovered racist and sexist emails shared among department supervisors.

City officials did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit.

The love keeps on giving at the City of Chicago Department of Water Management. Rahm Emanuel is very mad. Very mad. Rahm Emanuel wants to fire all the workers on cocaine and stop the drug sales at the Water Department. It will never happen.