High-ranking police official forced out after lying to IG under oath
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter October 17, 2013 2:52PM
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:31AM
A high-ranking Chicago Police Department official was forced to resign in recent months after making “intentionally false and deliberately incomplete” statements under oath during an internal investigation, according to Inspector General Joe Ferguson.
The explosive information is contained in a quarterly report that coincides with Ferguson’s reappointment to another four-year term.
As always, the report merely includes a summary of pending and concluded investigations and does not identify the targets.
It simply states that a “senior official” in the Police Department made “intentionally false and deliberately incomplete material statements” to the inspector general’s office while under oath, violating the municipal code, Police Department regulations and city personnel rules.
“Because such conduct irreparably tainted the senior official’s credibility and may have disqualified the senior official from executing [his or her] duties of office, the [Office of Inspector General] recommended termination,” the report states.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy demoted the official and asked the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division to investigate. IAD affirmed the firing. Confronted with the findings, the unidentified official resigned.
City Hall sources refused to identify the police official, but stressed that the lying under oath had nothing to do with the 17-month investigation into the 2004 death of David Koschman that culminated in the indictment of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew on involuntary manslaughter charges.
The police resignation is not the only juicy information contained in the inspector general’s quarterly report.
Ferguson also revealed that the same independent arbitrator who overturned firings and suspensions in a Fire Prevention Bureau where padding mileage expenses was so entrenched and condoned, it was “almost a work rule,” has thwarted the city from seeking repayment from the accused.
The Law Department sent a letter to the 54 firefighters in April demanding repayment of the “undisputed false reimbursement” expenses that amounted to $100,000 in 2009 alone. The accused appealed to the arbitrator who saved their jobs with an assist from the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.
Once again, arbitrator Edwin H. Benn sided with the firefighters. Benn agreed with Local 2 that reimbursement amounted to “double-jeopardy” because the city had not sought cost recovery as part of the disciplinary process.
Last year, Ferguson lashed out at Benn for overturning the firings and suspensions.
“The idea that stealing, fraudulent falsification of official records and lying is acceptable because everyone else is doing it is patent nonsense. Any child knows better,” Ferguson said at the time.
Ferguson said the rampant mileage padding that prompted him to recommend that all 54 firefighters be fired did not arise out of some “technical violation of some obscure and misunderstood” city rule.
Those accused “admitted to routinely and systematically lying in order to steal money” from the Chicago taxpayers, the inspector general said.
“That conduct is also criminal. … It cannot be excused just because supervisors as equally `culturally challenged’ as their charges found it acceptable,” Ferguson wrote.
“The Chicago Fire Department has a long and proud history. ... However, bravery in service to the public does not put them above the law, or excuse them from their moral and fiduciary obligation to the people of this city. ... When government allows those who steal taxpayers’ money to keep their taxpayer-funded jobs, we do grievous damage to the public trust.”
The quarterly report also includes a host of other juicy tidbits. They include:
— A building inspector slapped with a 45-day suspension for referring a resident to a porch repair company that had fixed a friend’s porch for free. The IG had recommended termination, citing the inspector’s past history of preferential treatment and referring property owners to specific contractors.
— A Streets and Sanitation supervisor who resigned to avoid being fired after being accused of issuing tickets for code violations supported by pictures taken on different days than the ones cited. Some of the photos were taken on days when the supervisor was not scheduled to work.
— An employee of the Department of Fleet and Facilities Management who was finally slapped with a 14-day suspension — even though Ferguson wanted the worker fired — for submitting candidate score sheets for job interviews that never happened in 2001.
Several internal candidates told the IG they were never interviewed, even though the hiring file includes score sheets for those candidates. Both candidates hired were “politically connected,” the IG said. One was on the so-called “clout list” disclosed during the trial that culminated in the conviction of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s former patronage chief on charges of rigging city hiring and promotions.
— Four June surveillances that showed refuse collection employees in the South Side’s 15th and 18th Wards sitting in their personal vehicles reading the newspaper or watching television for 30-to-45 minutes at the end of their shifts.