PDF: Marin's column from July 20, 2011
Updated: December 6, 2012 2:22PM
CAROL MARIN: Megan McDonald’s name is in the news today and not in a good way. And so when I called her Tuesday and left a message on her voice mail, I figured she might not be calling back. But she did.
She wanted to rebut the report just issued by Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson that she, “a high level manager with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events refused to answer questions . . . relating to a serious crime.”
The IG’s investigation has to do with the 2004 homicide of 21-year-old David Koschman, who was punched on Division Street in an altercation with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew, Richard “R.J.” Vanecko. Koschman died 12 days later.
On the scene that night seven years ago were young friends of the Daley family, including Bridget and Kevin McCarthy, who at first lied to police about even knowing Vanecko. And who claimed they were simply in the area to meet another young Daley friend, Megan McDonald.
McDonald, who until recently was Mayor Daley’s director of special events, said she had no idea her name was ever part of a police report until the Chicago Sun-Times reported it.
“I had no clue how my name got brought into this entire situation,” she told me.
Ferguson, who is investigating how Chicago Police handled the case seven years ago, sought to question McDonald about her memories of the incident.
“I would disagree that I did not cooperate,” McDonald said. “I went in once by myself, once with an attorney. I chose not to respond to questions about the incident because I wasn’t there. Was not a witness. I have nothing to hide. I had nothing to do with it.”
Why not just tell Ferguson that?
Because, said McDonald, “You are treated like a criminal, guilty until proven innocent . . . At a basic level, I didn’t trust the IG. I was so stunned. . . . I needed to get my bearings.”
McDonald resigned shortly after the meetings with Ferguson, but she firmly disputes that she did so to avoid termination.
“I didn’t quit because of the IG,” she said.
She left, she says, because a new administration was coming in.
Ferguson is recommending that McDonald be placed on the city’s “ineligible for hire list.” And that, she says, shocks her.
“That’s the same list as people who have gone to jail, gotten arrested. . . . Yet it’s being recommended that I be put on a list?” she said.
At 35, McDonald has worked for government in one way or another for 15 years and says she is proud of her service, scrupulous about her conduct.
“I’m careful to a fault, I’m like manic about it. Never wanted my name to be in the paper unless it was good for the city,” she said.
What, I asked, does she know about that night?
“What I know is what I have basically read,” she replied.
Why would Kevin McCarthy and his wife tell police they were meeting her in the vicinity of the Koschman-Vanecko altercation if it wasn’t true? Has she asked them about that?
“I have not,” she said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
What conversations has this group of Daley friends had about this case?
“It has never been spoken about, discussed. It’s not a topic of conversation. It doesn’t get brought up. Do I know the 4 people involved? I do,” she said.
She doesn’t intend, she said, to talk about anyone else.
“This is about me personally,” she said, “that my family can be proud of me, that I can be hired by someone who is not scared of me.”