Highlights of OIG activity from October 1 through December 31, 2016, are summarized below:
- OIG found seven City officials and political groups had violated campaign finance laws by accepting illegal campaign donations. Per the Municipal Code of Chicago, the recipients of these donations were provided ten days in which to cure the violation and, as a result, $12,700 was returned to donors.
- A former investigator for the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) transmitted via unsecured email a confidential IPRA memo regarding an investigation of a high-ranking Chicago Police Department (CPD) employee to an unauthorized individual who did not work for the City and had no connection to the investigation. The IPRA Investigator also emailed a confidential lab report regarding DNA testing to their personal email account. OIG attempted to determine whether the IPRA Investigator or other personnel leaked the confidential lab report to a news reporter who both publicly reported on, and posted a pdf of, the report. However, the IPRA Investigator left the agency and moved out of the surrounding area—beyond the reach of an OIG subpoena—and the news reporter declined to cooperate. Therefore, OIG could not develop sufficient evidence directly linking the former IPRA Investigator to the public reporting and publishing of the report. IPRA agreed with OIG’s finding that the email transmittals violated IPRA and City confidentiality rules and stated it would place a copy of OIG’s report in the IPRA Investigator’s personnel file.
- A Special Service Area (SSA) Commissioner leased office space to the SSA’s Service Provider. The Commissioner claimed to have consulted with City employees before entering the agreement and was under the impression that there was no conflict. However, the situation did indeed violate the City’s conflict of interest provisions. According to the Service Provider Agreement, the Commissioner would need to be removed for the lease arrangement to remain in place. The Commissioner resigned in the fall of 2016.
- A Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) employee made sexually suggestive comments, including uninvited and probing questions, to two senior citizens at a City-run facility. At least one facility member became uncomfortable using the facility for fear of running into the Employee. 2FM terminated the individual’s employment and an arbitration hearing is set for early 2017.
- The fall of 2016, brought the conclusion of one of the largest, longest, and most notorious kickback schemes in the City’s history. The federal criminal trial of John Bills, Martin O’Malley, and Karen Finley resulted in prison sentences as well as $2,032,959.50 in joint restitution. OIG’s quarterly report contains a summary of this case and continuing activity in civil courts.
- OIG sent two formal requests to the Board of Ethics (BOE). The first sought clarification on the validity of unofficial guidance issued by the Board, a question which arose following the Chicago Cubs offered face-value playoff tickets to elected officials. The second asked for the Board’s formal, published opinion regarding the practice of private foundations funding the travel of City employees and officials.
- An OIG audit found that the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) could not, in most instances, determine which individuals accessed its network of more than 27,000 public and private surveillance cameras. OIG also found that OEMC did not establish operational objectives for the public safety cameras. In response, OEMC stated it would continue creating individual logins for all camera users and will develop performance measures that allow the Department to assess the major components of the camera system.
- An OIG audit found that the Department of Public Health (CDPH) did not conduct routine inspections of food establishments as frequently as required. For example, CDPH inspected only 3,566, or 43.9%, of high-risk establishments the required minimum of two times in 2015. However, OIG found that CDPH did conduct timely reinspections and responded in a timely manner to public complaints. The Department committed to work with IDPH to create a new inspection schedule. Absent a new schedule, CDPH stated that it would collaborate with OBM to bring its inspection program into compliance.