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.

Rahm Emanuel demands changes in water department announced; offensive emails released

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is moving to insulate itself from discrimination claims and lawsuits tied to the email scandal that forced a high-level shake-up in the city Department of Water Management.

Additional training for department employees, and an outside review of city policies, were announced Friday, three weeks after a housecleaning swept out Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy, managing deputy William Bresnahan and district superintendent Paul Hansen.

Later Friday, the city released copies of the offensive emails — messages that included racist, Islamophobic and sexist remarks.
Article by Fran Spielman Chicago Sun-Times

In March 2014, Hansen sent an anti-Muslim chain email to Murphy and Bresnahan. The email — with the subject line “Muslims My Ass…” — decried a perceived lack of Muslim influence in American culture, concluding with a reminder that Muslims carried out the Sept. 11, 2011, and 2013 Boston Marathon terror attacks.

“Have you heard a Muslim orchestra? Have you seen a Muslim band march in a parade? Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?” the email read.

The email went on to rhetorically ask: “Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country? Not present. There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.”

(Malcolm X, a leading voice in the civil rights era, was Muslim.)

Meanwhile, it was announced that all managers and supervisors in the water department — which also had been at the center of past scandals involving city hiring and the Hired Truck Program — will be required to undergo additional equal employment opportunity training.

The training was unveiled by Human Resources Commissioner Soo Choi and newly appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner. It will be rolled out to other city departments “in the coming months.”

Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel also announced he has hired the Foley & Lardner law firm and attorney Z Scott, a former executive inspector general for the governor, to conduct an “independent, third-party review” of the city’s diversity and equal employment opportunity policies.

The firm will “make recommendations to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace,” Siskel said.

Changes will be made to ensure that “not only are employees and supervisors aware of the policy, but that complaints are reported and investigated in a timely manner,” officials said.

The moves are aimed at staying ahead of any lawsuits or harassment claims; the water department email scandal could provide fodder for such legal action.

Sources said Murphy — whose wife is a close friend of Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule — was held responsible for the racist and sexist emails sent by Hansen; the commissioner failed to discipline Hansen, even though Murphy was among those receiving the emails.

Another one of those emails was sent in January 2014. It was a chain email Hansen sent to Murphy, and it included a series of caricature-like images of President Barack Obama holding signs, with some reading “Thank you for your support citizens peasants comrades! [sic]” “Don’t call your Senators, I and my trusty czars will handle everything!” and “If you’re a soldier, a Christian, or a hunter, you’re probably a TERRORIST!”

Like most chain emails, the messages encouraged recipients to forward them on to others.

Choi said Friday that the city “is committed to ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace, and no acts of discrimination will be tolerated.”

Conner is the new African-American commissioner in a department with an ugly history of corruption and intolerance. He’s been given carte blanche to clean house.

“As the incoming commissioner, I am committed to fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment,” a City Hall announcement quoted Conner as saying.

Like the Water Management shakeup, the new moves were announced late on a Friday — City Hall’s traditional burial ground for bad or embarrassing news.

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 Dumps Top Cop McCarthy give job to John Escalante

Bill Bresnahan Final.jpg Many Chicago Citizens are relieved McCarthy is fired from the City of Chicago as top cop. McCarthy was not liked by the rank and file, but he covered up more wrongdoing than any other Police Superintendent I ever knew. He always had a big posse of goons with him when he went to the Chicago Personnel Board and entered in the private rear doors. Even Joe Ferguson, the inept Inspector General had to wait in the entrance area where all the other peons waited. McCarthy has clout so he will end up with a contract to keep his yap shut. His new young wife is from a clout family, so he will be fine.
In the picture is the interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante. He will not get the Superintendent position because he has little clout. In the Picture with John is City of Chicago ex-cop William “Butch” Bresnahan. Bill has been floating around department to department as the police presence Daley and Rahm wanted after Hired Trucks. In this picture Bill was running to the cameras again despite the fact he docks workers for exercising their first amendment rights. Bill was working the sewer pumps to empty a marsh for the police in this picture. Bill is currently the top sewer guy at the Department of Water Management. According to unnamed sources, Bill wanted a top position at the Police Department but was passed over. Some folks are never happy, Sewer pays real good. Good luck to John Escalante, you will need it.

T.V. Star Joe Ferguson of the Office of the Inspector General Floored

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson.jpg
The Chicago Inspector General and T.V. star Joe Ferguson eyes must have bugged out after hearing the news that a clout family is involved in a prostitution sting. Joe was appointed by Rich Daley a political thug that has the city of Chicago on the verge of bankruptcy. At last count, Judge Michael J. Hood, appointed by State of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, will need to look the other way when the Tierney family walks into court May 29, 2015. An appearance was files May 24, 2015. I think Judge Michael J. Hood should make sure he has no conflict with the tax free Judge makers in Illinois. Chicago’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson has done nothing to protect the ladies at the water department yet. Joe likes chasing low hanging fruit and losing in court when challenged. We need to remove Joe Ferguson and get a real Inspector general that will run an OIG that we can be proud of. Less T.V. and more crime fighting. Also Joe Ferguson latest T.V. appearance on “Chicago Tonight” was a blatant political stunt to reelect Rahm Emanual. Please see attached documents.Brian P Tierney Certified Statement of Conviction Disposition.pdf