More Chicago Department of Water Management email and criminal investigations

Greg Ortiz City of Chicago Department of Water Management

Saturday September 30, 2017

The City of Chicago Department of Water Management is still under attack for the backlash of the email scandal. City of Chicago workers participated in the sending of emails that were extremely ignorant and racist. For many decades, the North District was a hotbed of rude treatment, lack of promotions, and lack of overtime to blacks. The North District was a hotbed of shakedown artists and lousy Inspector Generals looked the other way. It was not until David Hoffman, the Chicago Inspector General had any integrity. Lately the Chicago Sun-Times went along with anything the current Inspector General said and told the Chicago newspapers to print. Joe Ferguson really sucks and is the worst Inspector General in Chicago history.

False inspections, steering investigations is par for the course. Are you surprised that Mayor Rahm Emanuel reappointed him? There is a reason, he is a puppet. A fool.

Last week and the week before, September 11, 2017 and the week of September 18, 2017, consisted of several interviews of North District foreman. Everyone knows except Joe Ferguson, the clown prince Inspector General, the promotion interviews, job interviews, discipline, job assignments, promotional tests were completely rigged under the past Department of Water Management leadership. If you remember, I spoke to the Federal Judge that released the Department of Water Management from Shakman oversight, and warned them about the very DOWM that were just front-page news.
Now a day late and a dollar short, Joe Ferguson, is considering the way the truck driver foreman was handing out overtime, the way the vehicles were used for personal use, used for lunch breaks, and other more sinister use.

Some water department employees sat around the yard all day, except for lunch and personal business. one of the most famous was North District Driver and Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. Luis was very quiet and never said a word, but he was a full-blown loafer at the North District yard. Joe Ferguson covered for him like a diaper.

Many of the emails Paul Hansen sent were not reported by many North District Employees. Joe Ferguson is allowing many North District employees to dilly dally until retirement and allow Plumbers’ Local 130 to drag this mess on as long as possible. According to a source, MT of Plumbers Local 130 told workers they will be fired and there is nothing he can do to save their jobs. MT was no racist, all he wanted was bribes, and he loved eating peaches in the morning.

Anyone that received nasty emails from Paul Hansen should be fired on the spot. No exceptions. Rahm Emanuel’s staff Sargent reported to me he is in full money raising mode, so he better clean this mess up quick. Elections are around the corner. More information on the way.

Housecleaning at Water Department spurs request for police protection

Two African-American former employees of the city’s Water Department are so afraid of what could happen if they testify against a co-worker, they are seeking police protection.

David Reed and Christopher Harris said they complained about the racist and violent culture at the Water Department for more than a decade, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

“We tried to get relief. We contacted management, talked to the city’s Inspector General’s office, and the EEOC, and nothing happened,” Harris told me.

“Now the same individual that they allowed to intimidate us and harass us, they have subpoenaed us to testify against,” Reed said.

Anthony Nguyen was fired in May. The men are being asked to appear on Friday and again on Aug. 10 before an arbitrator in a hearing in which Nguyen is trying to get his job back.

The forensic scientists claimed they were harassed, threatened and intimidated by Nguyen and others and described a work environment where they were taunted with insults and racist cartoons even after they left the department.

A spokesman for Inspector General Joe Ferguson would not comment on this case.
Reed and Harris are now reluctant to testify, citing safety and health concerns.

“They apparently told him that we are responsible for him losing his job. We are afraid of this guy,” Reed said.

“We have expressed that concern to the corporation counsel. They say there is nothing they can do. The police can give us special attention for two weeks and that’s it. After that, we are on our own. The way the city operates, they get us to testify, and after two weeks and something happens, they’ll say: ‘Go away,'” Harris told me.

The men claim that even after they left the water department — Reed retired and Harris is on leave of absence — Nguyen sent them racist texts and emails and made threatening phone calls in the middle of the night.

Harris said he has an order of protection against Nguyen that is still in effect.

I was unable to reach Nguyen on Wednesday.

But a spokesman for the city’s law department said Nguyen’s firing is not related to the department’s shake-up over racist emails.

“The City of Chicago does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Department of Water Management officials enacted progressive disciplinary actions against Anthony Nguyen, which eventually resulted in his termination. He is appealing his firing, and we will strongly defend his separation from the City of Chicago,” said Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department.

The “racist email scandal” has resulted in the firings of several high-level managers, including the former Department of Water Management Commissioner, Barrett Murphy, who has close ties to the mayor.

The Inspector General’s office stumbled on the offensive emails while investigating allegations that the son of a former alderman had used his email account to sell guns.

Last week, the department’s African-American employees filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the city of “unlawful policies, patterns and employment practices to create and proliferate a hostile and abusive work environment based on race that includes violence, intimidation, and retaliation . . .”

The behavior Reed and Harris said they endured while working for the water department appears to fit that pattern.

Harris said he got a call from the Inspector General’s office encouraging him to testify at the arbitration hearing.

“They basically said if we didn’t testify, Anthony Nguyen could get his job back and he should never have been hired and should never be reinstated,” Harris said.

Reed argues that the racist behavior is nothing new.

“We’ve been saying this ever since 2005. [Nguyen] was able to do all this without being reprimanded. I don’t trust any of them. They are offering us nothing. We can’t get our jobs back, any health benefits or protection. The city really doesn’t care,” he said.

It is unfortunate that these men had to wait so long for entrenched racism in the city’s water department to be addressed.

Hopefully, the city can give these men the assurances they need so no other employee has to go through what they did.

Rahm Emnauel’s City Water Department emails reveal racial insensitivity, sexism Water Department

A former city Water Department superintendent used his work email to distribute anti-Obama polemics, with some of his messages veering off into racially insensitive, anti-Islamic and sexist territory, documents obtained by the Tribune show.
Hal Dardick Contact Reporter

A former city Water Department superintendent used his work email to distribute anti-Obama polemics, with some of his messages veering off into racially insensitive, anti-Islamic and sexist territory, documents obtained by the Tribune show.

Some of the emails were sent to former water Commissioner Barrett Murphy and former Managing Deputy Commissioner William Bresnahan, according to the documents.

Both resigned last month amid a Department of Water Management shakeup that sources said was triggered by an inspector general’s investigation into racist and sexist email messages distributed within the long-troubled agency. District Superintendent Paul Hansen, of 7208 West Olive Avenue, who sent the messages, also resigned.

A man who identified himself over the phone as Hansen hung up Friday on a Tribune reporter trying to ask questions about the emails. Attempts to reach Murphy and Bresnahan were not successful.

The emails reviewed by the Tribune were provided by the city in response to an open records request. They are just some of the allegedly racist and sexist messages that are part of the investigation, a source familiar with the matter said.

A message sent by Hansen to Murphy and Bresnahan in March 2014 includes a missive penned by “an American citizen” in response to an imprecisely quoted statement by then-President Barack Obama that “Islam has always been a part of America’s history.”

It goes on to falsely contend that Muslims played no role in several significant historical events, including the Civil War and the civil rights era, and conclude: “Muslim Heritage, my ass.”

Gun deal emails spurred city probe into racist, sexist Water Department messages
In January 2014, Hansen sent a message first to Murphy and minutes later to Bresnahan about checking a water fountain on the 2700 block of Irving Park Road, the site of Horner Park.

“Got a call from an asian carp calling from his obama issued aquaphone tellin me it taste funny!” Hansen wrote.

Hansen that same month also forwarded to Murphy a series of images of anti-Obama signs the email says were posted along a highway in Seattle. In November 2015, Hansen and other supervisors circulated a lengthy, profanity-laced anti-Obama joke among one another.

In a February 2014 email, Hansen uses sexist language as he makes fun of a colleague in response to a lengthy message he sent to Hansen about a frozen water main. “After all that long winded jib jab that i could get plenty of at home with the kotex mafia, you going back!” Hansen wrote.

Hansen also was the recipient of a March 2014 email that linked to an online video showing several Kenyans unsuccessfully trying to fly an aircraft they had built. “They are human beings. Just like us! Only 100 years later,” reads a message in bold above the link. That message also was received by a department foreman.

Hours after the city released the emails to the Tribune, new water Commissioner Randy Conner announced that all managers and supervisors in his department would be provided with additional training on federal Equal Employment Opportunity regulations designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

City officials also said that additional training for other city departments would follow and that the city was hiring the Foley & Lardner law firm “to conduct an independent, third-party review of the city’s diversity and equal employment opportunity policy and make recommendations to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace.”

The probe that led to the resignations of Murphy, Bresnahan and Hansen began more than eight months ago.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office was looking into water department emails about gun deals when it discovered sexist and racist emails, sources have told the Tribune. Hansen’s computer was seized as part of the investigation, the sources said.

Murphy, the former commissioner, is married to Lynn Lockwood, who at one time was chairman and treasurer of one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political funds and is a friend of Chicago first lady Amy Rule.

Emanuel last month said he was made aware by Ferguson’s office of a problem with “one particular employee” and “in that process, it exposed a culture in the Water Department workplace” that doesn’t represent city values.

He also said that Murphy agreed after the emails surfaced that there should be a reset in the culture of the agency, now headed by Conner, who moved over from the city Department of Transportation.

Hansen has his own political connections. He’s the son of former 44th Ward Ald. Bernard Hansen.

The Water Department was long rattled by negative headlines under former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, which was rocked by the Hired Truck scandal and an illegal jobs scam run under former top water official Donald Tomczak, who served time in prison.

Under Tomczak, jobs and promotions were handed out in exchange for political work, creating an army of ground troops for multiple political campaigns, including Emanuel’s successful 2002 bid for Congress.

Chicago Tribune’s Todd Lighty contributed.

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Chicago water commissioner resigns amid IG probe into racist, sexist emails

Chicago’s water commissioner has resigned amid what City Hall sources say is an inspector general investigation into racist and sexist email messages sent at the agency.

Out is Barrett Murphy, who made $170,000 a year leading the Department of Water Management after taking the job in April 2016. He’s a city government veteran who is married to Lynn Lockwood. She’s the former chairman and treasurer of one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political funds, as well as a friend of Chicago first lady Amy Rule.

The Emanuel administration on Friday afternoon cited the watchdog probe in explaining Murphy’s abrupt departure.

“We were made aware of an IG investigation into the culture at the water department,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said. “The mayor acted quickly and decisively, asking for the commissioner’s resignation and appointing a new commissioner to lead the department forward and change the department’s culture.”

One of the City Hall sources said the investigation has been going on for eight months. Collins said the mayor recently was made aware of the probe. A spokeswoman for Inspector General Joseph Ferguson declined to comment.

Two other Water Department managers resigned this week. William Bresnahan, the agency’s managing deputy commissioner, resigned, Collins said. And Paul Hansen, a district superintendent of water distribution and the son of former 44th Ward Ald. Bernie Hansen, resigned Thursday, said water spokesman Gary Litherland.

Attempts to reach Murphy, Bresnahan and Hansen were unsuccessful Friday.

One veteran Water Department employee, Patrick McDonough, said Friday that he repeatedly has complained to the inspector general’s office about the department’s workplace culture and about top bosses covering up for politically connected workers, including Hansen.

In April 2010, Hansen was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in northwest Illinois, according to public records from Jo Daviess County. He later pleaded guilty to reckless driving. City payroll records show that he was promoted to his current position in December 2010, which is after the case was resolved.

Murphy succeeded longtime Water Commissioner Tom Powers last year. Before that, Murphy was a deputy in the Department of Water Management. He had worked for Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Aviation Department and as the city’s project manager to prepare for possible Y2K computer problems, a predicted calamity that never came to pass.

Replacing Murphy at the water agency is Randy Connor, who had been at the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The Emanuel administration released the news of Murphy’s resignation mid-afternoon
Friday, a time politicians typically try to bury bad news as the public’s attention turns toward the weekend. It also came a couple hours after they announced other, less troublesome personnel moves at City Hall.

The mayor reappointed Ferguson to a third term as inspector general, and announced that Budget Director Alexandra Holt was planning to leave to pursue other endeavors after six years on the job.

Four years ago, when Ferguson was closing out his first term, it wasn’t clear that he would be reappointed. Ferguson had been critical of many mayoral initiatives. After Emanuel did reappoint him, Ferguson eventually decided to stay longer, and the relationship between mayor and watchdog became less frosty.

On Friday, Emanuel suggested they have come to something of an understanding.

“He plays an important role for the city in constantly making changes and asking some core questions, and Joe knows there are places where we strongly agree, and there will be places where I have a different perspective,” Emanuel told the Tribune after an event to honor 25 City Colleges graduates from the Chicago Star Scholar program who received $5,000 scholarships from CME Group to continue their education at four-year institutions.

“(Ferguson) has to have his perspective, and I have to have a slightly wider lens to look at,” Emanuel added.

The mayor said he would “beyond miss” Holt, who has been his only budget director. Holt helped the mayor push a series of tax, fee and fine increases that helped narrow the city’s annual budget gaps while providing a way to pay for revamping the city’s aging water system and significantly increase contributions to the city’s financially ailing employee pension funds.

Emanuel said Holt served a “very long time” in a tough job and “can leave with her head high that the city is healthier and stronger financially, and she brought a sense of professionalism that I will miss.”

Holt, who said she planned to take some time off after 20 years of working at City Hall, had a slightly different take.

“It’s time for somebody who can come in with some fresh ideas and take the next step,” Holt said. “I just wanted to give someone else the joy of doing the job.”

Holt will be succeed by Samantha Fields, the current commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Former Alderman Hansen's son Paul Hansen gets chilly response

June 8  2011 paul Hansen final On June 8, 2011, Paul Hansen finally got to address to City of Chicago Department of Water Management employees in the North District. Paul Hansen got a chilly response despite the very hot weather. Some employees in this picture were wearing shorts knowing the day would be close to 100 degrees. Paul Hansen told the workers he wanted them not to wear short pants again. Paul does not wear shorts anymore because he works in a very cold and chilly air-conditioned office. At $107,000.00 dollars, smackers, greenbacks, I would wear long pants also. Paul was in the newspapers for an alleged DUI he got when hunting in Geneva. Most Chicago City workers get fired when this happens to them. Somehow the Office of the Inspector General allowed his promotion to go through despite other employees claiming the promotion was rigged. Paul job requires a driver’s license and when suspended allegations of mileage reimbursement funny business continued to be made. Paul Hansen revealed new work rules that included parking in the residential area around former Alderman Pat Laver crib. The 45Th Ward’s new Alderman best take a look at this policy. Also, workers were reminded to go into the yard to swipe in and out. No more shortchanging the taxpayers anymore. The Office of the Inspector General got wind of edit sheets used on overtime jobs recently. The North District yard was just cited for violations with the Illinois Department of Labor. Several workers agreed to petition the neighbors to call Rahm Emanuel to stop this practice. So far the Office of the Inspector General has done nothing to stop the flash mob workers at the District, racing out to taxpayer’s homes, underbidding and hustling side business. This scam has gone on with leak desk workers giving inside leak complaints to certain investigators, kicking back cash to the bosses. It is time to keep the corruption, bribes, scams, payoffs in full swing, just wear long pants when you do it. It looks more legit. Patrick McDonough

Chicago Department of Water Management Foreman ordered to use shoring again

shoring injury The first of several complaints many years ago never made it through the heads of Mayor Daley’s employees. Many Chicago Department of Water Management employees received their promotions thanks to politics. This tradition continues despite than many complaints from non-clouted workers. Several of the foremen were reminded to place the shoring in the ditches to save lives. Chicago Whistleblower Patrick McDonough was made aware some crews on the Southside were caught again with-out the shoring. The Illinois Department of Labor is in charge of enforcement at the Department. I do not know why the Water Department does not enforce this common sense safety rule. I suggest privatizing all pipe work and firing the every foreman and their superiors in the Department. Rahm Emanuel might start to enforce the rules and save lives. Chicago Clout will start to videotape again until safety rules are back in place. Remember, if your boss asks you to work in a ditch with no shoring, call the commissioner. Save your job.

City of Chicago Water Department snippets for March 8, 2010

The Department of Water Management had a visitor back at the Jardine Plant this morning. He was blocking the front entrance with his big black BMW. Rumor has it he smells a job opening at the Department of Water Management left open by a fired commissioner. I guess Mayor Daley might be pulling the race card in filling these openings instead of hiring a college educated licensed engineer. Mayor Daley has a habit of filling a position with someone of the same race which makes no sense. In a related story, Fran Spielman reported Alderman Austin does not want an Inspector General snooping around the Chicago City Council members. I think she might change her mind when she is done unloading more family and friends on the city payroll. The Department of Water Management has a mess in the payroll department with many city workers shortchanged on the paycheck week after week. Workers complained some payroll department employees are not trained or capable of handling the job. A large amount of complaints were unearthed in the files cabinets of a terminated water department employee. This is another version of the old "circular file". Bosses said they will get back to me soon, some employees leave at 3:00 p.m. and making less clouted workers stay until 3:30p.m. Thanks to the bosses in Central District for looking into this matter.

How did Utility Resource Group end up with a Three Million (soon to be 12 Million) Dollar Contract Mayor Daley?

Chicago Department of Water Management Water Department Working for the City of Chicago requires some heavy lifting while onlookers watch you work. In fact today was no different, the City of Chicago and various agencies could have pitched in to help the taxpayers win a fight against a never ending battle against corruption. I admit I am a little upset because I spend much of my own time preparing cases, hours of computer work, preparing pictures, cds, and hours or research that is never paid for by the city. In fact if you want to improve Chicago, Daley and his Administration fight you the entire way. The payoff was great today again today because the two investigators, the only employees for the Department of Water Management actively enforcing the taxpayer’s safety won another court victory. Every single case has resulted in additional income for the City of Chicago and less for the Plumbing Inspectors with their bribe taking agendas. Every single case has been a victory for the City of Chicago and the taxpayers. The Water Department shows gratitude by shortening my pay and hours served.
On another matter, Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago quietly approved another three million dollar contract to locate utilities in Chicago. The last company Adesta, located in the suburbs, had the same three million dollar contract that ballooned to over eleven million dollars! I do not know how many times I went to a Peoples Gas Company job when Adesta mismarked the water service and the gas company pulled the water line causing flooding and additional damage. I always demanded 803 requests to recover the taxpayer’s money, but the guy in charge was downstate on other business.
This month the new underground utility company is feasting on millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. The company is named Utility Resource Group located in Michigan, yes the state of Michigan. Mayor Daley should explain why Mr. Bigshot is sending Chicago Taxpayers money to another state while we starve and remain un-employed. Maybe Mr. Bigshot was his Michigan house and wanted to impress everyone on his ability to get a multimillion dollar contract to his friends. On the first day I found these people from Utility Resource Group, an employee showed up in a leased mini-van and had the entire Department of Water Management plat book on his computer. He makes sixteen dollars an hour with full health benefits, has access to the lives of every Chicago citizen. He does not need to live in Chicago and his company is not located in the flippin state. He does not need to pay Union dues despite doing the same work. This company does not have an office in Chicago, nothing. Daley must be insane; Chicago citizens are out of work. This company gets no furlough days, nothing! Mayor Daley, who set up this deal? Who got a cut? Any ideas? Why was the last company removed? When did the bidding process start? The job I was on did not need this company called or hired. If a Water Department foreman for the City of Chicago needs a private company called out to locate the water main, then Mayor Daley and his goon’s pick for foreman make Chicago the laughing stock of the world. How in the world can anyone justify calling a private company to tell a municipal employee whose job it is to know where the water mains are, where the water mains are? To really make matters more ridiculous, the low level dispatch employees have the authority to call these companies at anytime. Folks, this is a scam contract, a fraud, and a bad deal for Chicago Taxpayers. These people are going to go way over the contract and double the work the City Workers already get paid to do. Nobody from the department is verifying their work, WTF? I demand an investigation NOW. Patrick McDonough, Chicago’s most prolific Whistleblower.

City of Chicago Department of Water Management Employee sentenced to eight years

Now the whole story regarding George Prado and the Department of Water Management; Many City of Chicago workers knew what was going down in the Department of Water Management in the North District. George drove a nice Mercedes Benz two door sports car and had prime parking right by the fence in the Wabansia yard. (3822 West Wabansia in Chicago) George had a really nice job of driving the compressor truck, a clout job. This was a job so nice, George was one of the best dressed in the department. Several of the workers were on heroin and everyone knew it. The department gave preferential treatment to these workers, they worked in the yard, the dock, or investigator shift. Some of these guys also move furniture and completed personal errands on city time for the bosses. One of the guys sported a huge chrome gun, showed it to everyone, and nothing was done. Anyone who knew the system knew who gave these guys great treatment. Imagine making full engineer's pay with a do nothing job. Maybe someday the investigators will question George Prado and get an answer on how he could be two places at once. This is a case of looking away from the people that were responsible during his employment with the City of Chicago. This is a case of bosses allowing corruption, Heroin deals, and payroll fraud. Same guys that got away with HIred Trucks. It went on for years at work and the old Inspector General knew nothing? George Prado was a dago wannabe, just another guy that knows more than he told. But, these were the guys that were taken care of, Chicago Style.

What did Anthony "Tony" Laurino know about Mayor Daley's Hired Truck Scandal

Anthony Laurino of Hired Truck Scandal Many people never will know all the people involved in the Hired Truck Scandal. Not every participant was interviewed by the Feds. Alexander Vroustouris, the Inspector General seemed to look over many of the facts and participants. Will the public ever know the extent of the criminal activity? When the Feds took over the investigation every indication led us to believe Anthony “Tony” Laurino, John Rottman, Michael Tierney, and John D’Amico never disclosed everything they knew. We have a TV show with witnesses putting Hired Truck Business run out of Alderman Margaret Laurino’s political office. Some of the Hired Truck participants died after the Scandal broke by the Chicago Sun-Times. It gives one pause as Christopher Kelly shows up a stiff before his additional court dates arrive. Anthony Laurino retired from the City of Chicago (now called Department of Water Management) after a buyout was formulated by the State of Illinois. In all fairness, not just Tony, a bunch of guys located closely to Hired Trucks. Anthony works for Koenig & Strey in Glenview, he reported to me the massive pension is offset by additional 600 dollars a retiree must pay towards the health insurance deductible. I remember when I was fired for alleged residency violations by the City of Chicago, Tony mailed me his Real Estate card; he is such a wise guy. When it comes to legal firepower, that man has Clout. Good Luck Tony, Photo by Patrick McDonough.