Illinois Workers Compensation Commission Conflict of Interest Meetings

IWCC Chicago 2018.jpg
On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, many of the Illinois dirty crooks gathered to slice up the Illinois Workers’ Compensation pie for their own selfish use. Back in the old days, the crooks kept to themselves, sliced up the cash, and went on their way. The new breed of thieves is much worse and they steal from people with no way to defend themselves. Lawyers were a noble profession but the worst scum practice workers compensation. No doubt, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers include some of the sleaziest dirtbags known to man.
The lawyers that practice workers compensation in Chicago includes lawyers part of the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association. Some of these lawyers cut deals that are not in their client’s best interest. Some of these lawyers refuse to file paperwork to reinstate benefits, promise the moon to get the business, and then sit on the case starving their clients. As soon as some of these lawyers get the signature from the injured worker, they feel like their job is done. They wait until a client is starved and then willing to take a cheap settlement far below value. The lawyers are willing to sign off on scam lawsuit loans because they get a client off their back for a long time. Some of these loans are 36-39 percent annual percentage rate loans compounded every six months. What kind of a shit lawyer would encourage a client to take these loans? By the time the client gets a settlement, nothing is left. Some lawyers get a percentage of the proceeds of the loans, mainly in Chicago. If you attempt to obtain a new lawyer, the commission lists the prior lawyer name so they can contol the case from start to finish. It is all about the final cut.
One of the last meetings was an Appellate Court Luncheon. People could ask Justices questions about current trends in workers compensation. The lawyers at the University Club enjoyed a nice meal provided by contractors that make millions screwing injured workers and provided fraudulent medical reports that are so false as to be a joke. The lawyers on hand were asking silly questions to gain favor from the Justices. It was embarrassing.
The State of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission staff, Arbitrators, and Commissioner enjoyed a $100.00-dollar freebee. It is a major embarrassment, these staff members are rubbing elbows, talking about cases, sharing envelopes, vacation homes with the same people that they are policing. That is like the prisoners sharing the jail with the wardens. Government employees responsible for protecting injured workers are violating the open meetings act. These Government employees should not be in a meeting that cannot be enjoyed by the public.
Governor Rauner has made a joke of the workers’ compensation commission. One IWCC workers joked, “the niggers ruined a good thing”. “remove their people cases and the system will work again”. Almost every case heard by the Chicago Illinois Workers Compensation Commission is fixed. Some lawyers are not held accountable for being unprepared. Many lawyers collude with other lawyers to fix cases and make fees at the end of the case. Some lawyers go to court ill prepared with no medical records. Now, the IWCC is so screwed up, injured workers have no idea when their cases will be heard. The online notification system is so lacking lawyers lie to their clients on when hearings occur. This is not a mistake, the Arbitrators do not want injured workers around, so they will see how messy the IWCC is run.
The fix is in and the injured workers suffer. You can run, but you cannot hide.

Chicago Department of Water Management Meeting with Commissioner Conners

Today, at the City of Chicago Department of Water Management’s Jardine Plant over 300 City of Chicago employees from the Jardine Plant, The Chicago pumping stations, and the DePaul Center employees waited for Commissioner Conners to get his ass to the meeting on time. Conners was at least 20 minutes late and cost the Chicago taxpayers thousands in wasted time. Conners arrived with his posse and launched again into a speech that made no sense at all. According to Conners, Rahm Emanuel is very happy with his subpar performance. Conners made the employees stand the entire time. Some of the ladies complained because he did not provide seating. Conners only had a few well connected private employees attend because the private owners are aware of the new policy to donate greatly to Alderman Burke and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Coo Coo Conners again wanted everyone to know he is large and in charge. He first said he opened his office to anyone and then stated all employees must follow the chain of command. Coo Coo.

Conners again said the North District General Superintendent Michael Dwyer was not fired, another bold face lie. Conners acted like a Chicago street thug and a man possessed with a need to prove he is in control of a job he can not handle. Look, folks, Conners knows nothing about the importance of a proper drinking water supply. He is getting paid to keep all the current lawsuits and future lawsuits from getting to Rahm Emanuel. Conners wanted everyone to know he is going to promote everyone he wants and do whatever he wants. Rahm Emanuel needs to terminate this goof that just does not have the class to do things the right way. The same crap that got the Department of Water Management into the mess it is in now will continue by the leadership of foolish nonsense. I hope when all the City of Chicago taxpayers sees the new water bills in the mail, they remember this warning, fire Rahm Emanuel.

Look if you need to tell everyone you are the boss, you are not. Time for Rahm to find a replacement, another poor choice, and decision.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanding political contributions from City Contractors

Rahm Emanuel Official Photograph

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been given recordings of high ranking City employees getting fired. Apparently, Mayor Emanuel told his commissioners to record their firing of employees that brought unneeded attention to the City of Chicago. Emanuel is also shaking down contractors and demanding political donations for his upcoming election. Rahm is beside himself with the status of the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department, and the Department of Water Management. These departments have always provided workers for elections, money for campaigns, and needed signatures for petitions. According to the Mayor’s staff,” Rham is beside himself”.

Many contractors, including law firms, are being asked to “pony up” to face the onslaught from powerhouse Paul Vallas, Garry McCarthy, Willie Wilson, and Troy LaRaviere. Some recordings have been provided to Chicago Clout and will be released just before the election. Rahm Emanuel has been on a traveling spree around the world on the taxpayer’s dime. Rahm travels first class and enjoys having a posse of cops around to make him look big.

I look forward to this next election in Chicago. The voters want the issues this time, not the b.s. That is a tall order for the Chicago media that has been in Rahm’s favor as the election day draws near. Joe Ferguson will do nothing and continue to be a puppet for Rahm.

More evidence of hate-filled culture: another Water Management honcho resigns

Fran Spielman @fspielman | email

The Water Management Department replacement for the district superintendent at the center of a racist, sexist and homophobic email scandal has, himself, resigned to avoid being fired.

“There is no room at DWM for intolerance of any kind. Any allegations of inappropriate behavior are taken very seriously and investigated immediately,” department spokesperson Megan Vidis wrote Friday in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The Department of Water Management (DWM) was in the process of investigating reports of an incident involving Michael Dwyer, the General Superintendent of the North District when he chose to retire.”

Contacted Friday, Dwyer was asked to respond to allegations that he referred to a co-worker with a slur against Polish Americans.

He would only say, “I retired for health reasons. I’m retired now. I prefer to stay that way. I prefer not to answer anything.”

Pressed on whether he had used that derogatory term — or any other in the workplace, Dwyer said, “I’m not gonna reply. I just retired. I’m waiting for my papers to come. I had some medical issues suddenly come up that I can’t really deal with too much and work at the same time, unfortunately. I retired because I don’t feel good.”

Dwyer’s retirement — and the investigation that may have precipitated it — underscores how deeply-rooted the hate-filled culture at the department is and how difficult it will be to eradicate.

Dwyer replaced Paul Hansen, the son of a former alderman, as the Water Management’s $122,280-a-year north district superintendent.

Sources said it was during the course of an eight-month-long investigation into allegations that Hansen was using his city email account to sell guns that Inspector General Joe Ferguson stumbled upon the hate-filled emails that triggered a housecleaning that flushed out Hansen, Water Management Commissioner Barrett Murphy and several of Murphy’s top deputies.

In a follow-up report, Ferguson accused a high-ranking deputy whom sources identified as Hansen as describing African-Americans as “wild animals.”

Hansen was further accused of sending an email with the subject line “Chicago Safari Tickets” to multiple high-ranking Water Management 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 concluded: “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” included 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 also accused of 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.

Earlier this week, former Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan shined more light on the hate-filled culture at Water Management laid bare in the racist, sexist and homophobic emails.

The investigation by Khan’s “Project Six” focused heavily on a Water veteran chemist on the Jardine and Sawyer Water Filtration plans who remain on the job to this day, despite a decade-long history of discriminating against and intimidating African-American co-workers.

The incidents include: writing the word “Judas” on the calendar of a black co-worker who dared to report the alleged harassment, placing “makeshift crosses in front of the lockers of complaining African American employees and placing copies of Mein Kampf, the autobiographical book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, on the desks of black co-workers.

During a previously undisclosed 2009 incident, the chemist was further accused of “urinating into a coffee cup, placed the cup into an oven to dry it out and replaced the cup on the desk” of a black co-worker so he would drink from it.

According to Khan, the chemist’s personnel file showed he was formally disciplined ten times for serious offenses between 1998 and 2017. Those punishments include a five-day suspension for sexual harassment in 1999 and a seven-day suspension the following year for “verbal abuse and explosive behavior.”

Burke’s 40 Off Book Employees Cost Taxpayer’s an Extra $1.4 Million a Year

When Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 47 alderman approved the 2018 budget for the Committee on Finance (COF), Ald. Edward Burke had misinformed them about the number of employees working for his committee and the amount of money that the city was paying for their salaries. Burke’s budget list 25 COF employees for the 2018 fiscal year.1 The COF said in Feb., 2018 that 65 employees were working in the COF.2 Currently Burke’s COF staff of 65 has 40 more employees than the 25 COF employees listed in his 2018 budget.

In Oct. 2017 the COF said it had 62 employees working in the COF.3 Since the COF admitted Burke’s committee had 62 COF employees in Oct., 2017, it means Burke lied about the size of his staff when he and his colleagues passed his 2018 COF budget for 25 employees in Nov., 2017.

Off book means, “not properly declared for accounting purposes.” Today Burke’s committee has 40 off book COF employees because Burke failed to properly declare 40 of his COF employees in the 2018 budget. Simple subtraction was all that was needed to determine Burke’s 40 off book COF employees (see below).

65 COF employees listed in Feb., 2018 FOIA
(25) COF employees listed in Chicago’s 2018 budget
40 Off Book COF Employees

The COF has 40 employees whose salaries were also unaccounted for in the 2018 budget. The city is currently spending additional money to pay the salaries of Burke’s 40 off book COF employees. In February, 2018, the COF admitted that the current cost of COF employees’ salaries is $3.2 million a year.2 Again, simple subtraction was all that was needed to determine that the city is paying out an additional $1.4 million a year for Burke’s off book COF salaries (see below).

$3.2 Million listed for COF employees’s salaries in the Feb., 2018 FOIA
($1.8) Million listed for COF employees’s salaries in 2018 Budget
$1.4 Million for the Off Book Salaries of Burke’s COF Employees

Burke Stopped the Inspector General Ordinance to Hide His Off Book Employees
In 2016 Burke put together a coalition of 25 aldermen to block the inspector general (IG) from auditing and investigating his COF. There have been countless accusations of Burke’s misconduct during his 39 year reign as an alderman. Stopping the IG from investigating his committee is by far the worse allegation against Burke because Burke had a city ordinance passed to protect his wrongdoing. Burke was improperly hiring and employing his off book staff at the same time he blocked the IG from investigating him. Thanks to the City Council passing the ordinance Burke proposed, no one at the IG’s office can investigate Burke’s committee. Sadly, the IG conducting a simple audit would have exposed Burke’s 40 off book COF employees and the additional $1.4 million yearly cost to taxpayers.

Besides the $1.4 million a year in COF off book salaries, the taxpayers must pay for Burke’s off book employees’ health insurance and pensions. The city is paying for part of every COF off book employee’s health insurance. In addition, taxpayers are also contributing to Burke’s off book COF employees’ pensions.

Burke has 20 COF employees who earn between $23,108 and $29,208 a year.2 Burke pays 20 COF employees in the $20,000 to $30,000 a year range so he can hire more people for his COF staff. Burke uses his COF employees for patronage, so the more COF employees he hires, the more people Burke has to campaign for him and his favored candidates. Unfortunately taxpayers must continue to foot the bill for health insurance, pensions, and salaries for all of Burke’s off book patronage hiring.

Call to Action
Exposing Ald. Burke’s political corruption is one thing, but stopping the corruption and preventing it from happening again is the ultimate goal. Below are four actions that will stop and prevent COF corruption practices that come at a hefty cost to taxpayers.

Pass a Chicago Inspector General Ordinance that allows the IG to investigate aldermanic programs and committees beginning with the COF.
The second Mayor Emanuel signs the IG ordinance, the IG should start an audit of Ald. Burke’s Committee on Finance for the last seven years.
Remove Ald. Burke as City Council Committee on Finance Chairman. During Council Wars in the 1980s, a judge ruled that the City Council is a separate branch of government and has a right to organize itself. Aldermen don’t have to wait until after the 2019 elections to end Burke’s 30 year reign as COF chairman. How ironic that thanks to Burke and the rest of the Vrdolyak 29’s actions in the 1980s, a majority of aldermen may vote in 2018 to remove Burke as COF Chairmen.
Transfer the management of the Workers’ Compensation program from the COF to the executive branch of government. Except for Chicago no city or state in the country has a legislative committee managing it workers’ comp program. Professionals should run Chicago workers’ comp instead of a bunch of political hacks that work for Ald. Burke.
Notes

Chicago Alderman Edward Burke’s Pork Barrel Staff of 68 Employees

Ald. Burke’s COF Staff Dwarfs the COF Staffs from Other Cities

Rahm Emanuel increased taxes in six of the seven years that he has been mayor. When it comes to saving taxpayers’ money, Emanuel has yet to find the courage to cut the budget for Ald. Edward Burke’s Committee on Finance (COF). Burke has an astounding 50 or more employees on his COF staff than that of COF chairs from other major cities (see table below).

COF Staff Comparisons

Alderman or Council Member City COF Employees Population 2018 Budget
Edward Burke Chicago 65
2.7 Million

$8.6 Billion
Paul Krekorian Los Angeles 14 3.7 Million $9.2 Billion
Julissa Ferreras New York 5
8.5 Million

$168 Billion
Jack Christie Houston 3 2.3 Million $5.2 Billion
The comparison of the number of Burke’s COF employees to COF chairpeople of other cities should disgust every Chicago taxpayer. Receiving votes and winning elections for himself, his state representative brother Daniel Burke, and his wife State Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke are the primary motives for Burke hiring so many people for his City Council committee.

Burke hires employees who are willing to circulate petitions, solicit political donations, and campaign for him, his family members, and his favored candidates. If his employees don’t bring in enough campaign contributions or votes, Burke may immediately terminate his city employees because they are political appointees whom he may fire without cause. Between Oct. 2017 and Feb. 2018 five employees stopped working for the COF. During the same four month period, Burke hired eight new COF employees. This period was also the start of the 2018-19 election cycle.

Burke also hires relatives of influential politicians and union leaders to secure their political support. For example, Burke hired Molly Gabinski, a relative of former alderman and current plumber’s union official Terry Gabinski. During election seasons, plumbers affiliated with Gabinski’s union will campaign for Burke, Burke’s wife and brother or some other candidate Burke is supporting.

Similar to COF Chairman Burke, Commissioner John P. Daley chairs Cook County’s Finance Committee. Daley has only two people working on his COF staff.1 The Cook County budget is $5.2 billion in 2018. Chicago and Cook County governments are in the same building. Since Burke and Daley are both COF chairmen in the same building with similar size budgets, why does COF Chairman Burke have a staff of 65 COF employees and COF Chairman Daley have only two employees?

By virtue of being an alderman, Burke is entitled to three more aldermanic employees. As with the 49 other aldermen, Burke may hire two staff assistants to the alderman and one assistant to the alderman. These three jobs push the total number of Burke’s patronage employees to 68.

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth
Currently there is one executive branch department and three City Council committees whose primary focus is Chicago’s budget and finances. It is Mayor Emanuel’s responsibility to draft and submit Chicago’s annual budget to the City Council. Each year the mayor relies on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to help him formulate his budget. Chicago’s 2018 budget lists 33 OMB employees compared to Burke’s COF staff of 65 employees. Why does Burke have 32 more employees than the OMB when the mayor and OMB write virtually all of the city’s budget?

The Chicago City Council also has a Committee on Budget and Government Operations. According to its website, “The Committee on the Budget and Government Operations shall have jurisdiction over the expenditure of all funds appropriated and expended by the City of Chicago.” The number of employees in this committee weren’t included in the 2018 budget; nonetheless, the budget list the salaries of the committee’s employees as $500,000 a year.

In 2013 aldermen created the Council office of Financial Analysis. According to the original ordinance, some of the Council Office of Financial Analysis duties include a financial analysis of the Mayor’s proposed annual budget, annual budget options, and other analyses upon the request of the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations. The Financial Analysis committee employs four workers at a cost of $300,000 per year.

The table below tabulates the three City Council committees whose focus is the city’s annual budget and finances. In all, the Chicago City Council spends $4.0 million a year to have more than 70 employees work on the city’s finances and budget.2 The plus sign is next to 70 employees because the total number of City Council employees will go up when we learn the actual number of Budget and Government Operations employees.

Total Cost of Three Chicago City Council Budget and Finance Committees

Committee Employees Salaries
Finance 653 $3.2 Million
Gov’t and
Budget Operations

Unknown $0.5 Million
Financial Analysis 4 $0.3 Million
70+ $4.0 Million
Chicago’s Waste of Taxpayers’ Money
The Chicago City Council’s waste of taxpayers’ money is quite obvious when you compare Chicago City Council budget and finance committees to that of other cities (see table below). To manage New York City finances, the New York City Council has one Committee on Finance, which has sub-committee for the city’s budget. The Los Angeles City Council has one Budget and Finance Committee. The Houston City Council has one Budget and Finance Committee. Chicago is the only major city to have a City Council with three budget and finance committees while the other major cities only have one budget and finance committee.

City Council Budget and Finance Committee Comparisons

City
Budget and

Finance Committees

Employees Salaries
Chicago 3 70+ $4,000,000
Los Angeles 1 144 $1,167,4354
New York 1 55 $313.3295
Houston 1 36 $217,5566
The City Council committees on Finance, Budget and Government Operations, and Financial Analysis all oversee the city’s budget. Chicago politicians hiring multiple people to do one person’s job is the Chicago way. Aldermen wasting money on unnecessary committees and staff is true to Chicago’s political motto: “More Patronage, More Votes.” The City Council’s pork barrel expenditures for employees to analyze and slightly modify the city’s budget reminds me of the days when garbage truck crews picked up trash while using four employees. Why should Chicago politicians hire one patronage worker when they can hire three or four at taxpayers’ expense?

“As Chairman of the City Council’s powerful Committee on Finance, Alderman Burke holds the city’s purse strings and is responsible for all legislative matters pertaining to the city’s finances.” If Alderman Burke truly held the purse strings as he claims on his COF website, then the committees on Budget and Government Operations, and Financial Analysis don’t need to exist.

Given Chicago’s hard financial times, you would expect City Council members to show austerity or lead by example. The cost for three budget and finance committees show that the Chicago City Council has a majority of greedy aldermen who waste money on excessive patronage jobs for their own personal and political gain. Members of the City Council lavishly spending taxpayers’ money on their committees is the reason why Burke put together a coalition of 25 aldermen to block the inspector general’s office from investigating his committee and those of his co-conspirators.

Notes:

To view Cook County FOIA for Commissioner and COF Chairman John Daley’s staff of two, click John Daley Staff.
To view the three Chicago City Council committees on budget and finance as they appear in the budget, click here and scroll to pages 41 through page 50.
To view the list of 65 Chicago COF employees and their salaries in response to FOIA request, click COF Staff February_2018.
To view a list of Los Angeles City Council Budget and Finance Committee employees and their salaries, click COF LA.
To view a list of New York City Council Budget and Finance Committee employees and their salaries, click NY COF Staff. Please note New York City Council COF Chair Julissa Ferreras left the New York City Council on Dec., 31, 2017. I submitted a new FOIA for a list of current New York COF employees and their salaries, including employees and salaries of those work in the Budget subcommittee. I will update this article when I receive my New York City Council FOIA, on or about April 10.
To view a list of Houston City Council Budget and Finance Committee employees and their salaries, click Houston COF Employees.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel demands Chicago EEO Dept of Human Rights Investigation

Rahm Emanuel Alderman Burke.jpg

The City of Chicago Department of Water Management sent more employees down to an interview by the Department of Human Resources special EEO Investigator Unit. The City of Chicago Human Resources EEO unit is really used to receive information in case of a pending lawsuit against the city. Chicago is in the middle of several major lawsuits due to the mistreatment of blacks and other minorities.

Much of the testimony given to the EEO unit is given to the Office of the Inspector General. The Chicago Law Department is than given the information to defend itself in court. Rahm Emanuel is furious because he listens to Alderman Tunney and promoted Paul Hansen to Superintendent of the North District Water Department. Paul Hansen sent hundreds of emails to coworkers depicting blacks as fools and idiots. Paul Hansen would also discipline blacks prior to promotions and chances of advancement.

Paul Hansen also sat in interviews with William “Meathead” Bresnahan and determined the promotions.
Some of the folks interviewed today conspired to testify that they “saw nothing” and to let an employee subject to racial discrimination and retaliation look like a liar. This is part of the North District “no snitch policy” that is still in place. One witness was told, “If he fucking says anything, the ditch will fall in on him”. MANO ALIVE.

Well I do not know of a single accomplishment the EEO has made since this unit was started. We will soon let you know more. Most City of Chicago employees that end up in front of these goons get no protection at all. Or as one Union Representative said, “Just shut the fuck up”. “say you didn’t hear nuttin”.

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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