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.

Illinois Workers Compensation Video with Dr. Krupica Psychologist

Many city of Chicago employees suffer mental and physical injuries due to workplace violence and unsafe working injuries. This video will explain to people the many pitfalls of working in a dangerous environment. We explore the victims of hateful emails sent by employees of the City of Chicago and the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. Chairman Joann M. Fratianni has been asked to step in and stop insurance companies and the Chicago Committee on Finance, from stopping benefits when the consequences are so life threatening. Many factors play into forcing victims of workers compensation to have serious health issues and mental breakdowns, due to the criminal activities of lawyers sworn to protect the law. Many folks have mental issues and you need professional care. When you do hire a Licensed Professional that cares.
Disclaimer: This guest is not my doctor. I am grateful for her care towards other human being.
When you need a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, call Doctor Kathleen A. Krupica, Psy.D 4001 West Devon Ave Suite 206 Chicago Illinois 60646. She is also a witness “expert” in Workers Compensation cases. Get the care you need.

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from public inspection certain information collected by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission from self-insureds and papers, documents, reports, or evidence relevant to a workers’ compensation fraud investigation conducted by the Department of Insurance. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 regarding workers’ compensation fraud penalties. Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act. Makes changes concerning: when an accidental injury shall not be considered to be “arising out of and in the course of employment” if the accidental injury or medical condition occurred while the claimant was traveling away from the employer’s premises; the maximum compensation rate for a period of temporary total incapacity; compensation awards for injuries to the shoulder and hip; the maximum allowable payment for certain service categories; the assignment and reassignment of arbitrators to hearing sites; the creation of an evidence based drug formulary; annual reports on the state of self-insurance for workers’ compensation in Illinois; and other matters. Effective immediately.

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.