Report on alleged misconduct rankles aldermen

July 22, 2013

(WBEZ/Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)
Members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus declined to comment on any specific allegations of aldermanic corruption described in the report. But many called for the elimination of the legislative inspector general’s office, saying they should fall under the jurisdiction of the city inspector general.

The office that investigates claims of misconduct by Chicago aldermen has released a new report, prompting a round of criticism from some members of City Council. The 18-page report is the second released by Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan since the city council established that office by ordinance in 2010.

The report looks at 132 complaints filed between July 2012 and July 2013, of which 25 were investigated. The report elaborates on a handful of complaints in more detail, though no aldermen are named.

In one case, an alderman allegedly took more campaign donations from a contributor than permitted. Another investigation claims an alderman instructed a police officer to write two traffic summonses to a person who had gotten into a parking dispute with the alderman’s sister-in-law.

Members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus demurred from commenting on specific examples cited in the study, saying they hadn’t yet seen the report. Still, several accused Khan of releasing the study to the media before it was available to the public – a claim that Khan denies.

“It’s got to be coming out of his office,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), “he needs to be more tight-lipped on the approach that he’s taking.” Several aldermen said they believe Khan’s office should be dissolved, and that aldermanic oversight could be given to City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, who already has jurisdiction over city employees. 

“It’s interesting that they’re focused more on the confidentiality and the city inspector general office rather than the substantive facts of these reports,” Khan told WBEZ Monday.

Council members specifically declined to comment on one alleged abuse of power that WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight" first reported on Sunday. In the story ‘multiple sources’ named Joe Moore (49th) as the alderman who allegedly allowed campaign work to be done from his ward office, then paid off a former aide to stay silent about it.

First elected to the City Council in 1991, the reform-minded North Side alderman fired off a written statement on Monday denying any such misconduct. It said “the issues involved were personnel matters--not political ones” and came from a “disgruntled former employee.” Khan’s office was “run amok with a lack of professionalism...” the statement continued, and according to Moore never interviewed him about the allegations.

Khan declined to confirm or deny the identity of any of the aldermen in the report.

The Office of the Legislative Inspector General has been criticized in the media for its expenditures, but in the newly-released report, Khan says his office has hired five part-time employees to help carry the workload. Their investigations now go to the city’s Board of Ethics.

Odette Yousef is WBEZ’s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her @oyousef and @WBEZoutloud.