THE WATCHDOGS: When the government was seeking a new Chicago FBI headquarters, it gave the deal to Jack Higgins — a friend of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. Higgins brought in Penny Pritzker, who would go on to be a top campaign fund-raiser for President Barack Obama and is now his secretary of commerce. The $125 million FBI complex turned out to be a profitable venture for the Pritzker family and Higgins but not as good a deal for taxpayers.
THE WATCHDOGS: Former Mayor Richard M. Daley went after a government contract in Chicago, records show. But Daley’s Tur Partners was part of a group that withdrew from consideration for the deal to develop 9.5 acres of government land, leaving only two bidders. The winning bidder hired Daley nephew Patrick Daley Thompson.
A WATCHDOGS FOLLOW-UP: Thomas J. Sadzak is out of a job with the city of Chicago — again — as the result of allegations leveled by a city worker who won a $99,000 settlement from City Hall after accusing Sadzak of sexually harassing her and threatening to rape her when she complained about him. The firing followed a report Monday in the Chicago Sun-Times detailing the case against Sadzak and reporting that Ald. John Pope (10th) had put Sadzak back on the city payroll even though he’d been placed on the city’s “do not hire” list.
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The United Neighborhood Organization’s charter-school network is facing possible new legal troubles, with an IRS audit of bonds issued for its Chicago schools. The Internal Revenue Service audit involves nearly $37 million in bonds issued in 2011 for the UNO Charter School Network Inc.
THE WATCHDOGS: Ald. John Pope (10th) hired a man who had quit his job at the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation; he was about to be fired over sexual harassment allegations leveled by a female laborer. The woman got a $99,000 settlement from the city.
A federal judge blasted the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state’s attorney’s office but dismissed a lawsuit that accused police, prosecutors and City Hall of an “official cover-up” to keep former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko from being charged in the death of David Koschman.
THE WATCHDOGS: As the Chicago Police Department began re-investigating a homicide involving a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley, a high-ranking cop met secretly with the retired detective who hadn't solved the case seven years earlier, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. The meeting was in January 2011 — the same month the original police file on the David Koschman case was reported missing.
Chicago Public Schools officials are not allowing a beleaguered charter school operator to open a planned South Side campus next month, a CPS source has confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times.
THE WATCHDOGS: Contractors facing scrutiny in an ongoing investigation of Concept Schools have been paid nearly $1 million over the past three years for work at three Chicago Public Schools-funded campuses run by the charter operator, records show.
THE WATCHDOGS: Chicago Teachers Union boss and potential mayoral challenger Karen Lewis, who has railed against the influence of the wealthy and called Mayor Rahm Emanuel “Mayor 1%,” has three homes, including a condo in Hawaii, and is paid more than $200,000 a year in union salaries, records show.
THE WATCHDOGS: When conventions and trade shows threaten to leave McCormick Place or Rosemont for Orlando, Las Vegas or elsewhere, convention center officials sweeten the pot, tapping a pool of taxpayer money they guard so tightly they’ve tried to keep secret how it’s spent, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.
THE WATCHDOGS: Even as he has poured $9.6 million of his own money into his campaign, Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, also has been dippping more heavily into his personal wealth to help finance GOP candidates and groups, records show.
The Watchdogs: Chicago Board of Ed President David Vitale’s bank would benefit from charter-school deal
THE WATCHDOGS: David Vitale, the president of the Chicago Board of Education, runs a bank that stands to benefit from a proposal for a new charter school on the South Side that’s set to come before the school board for approval later this month.
A Chicago police sergeant fired this month over the 2009 death of a woman he says shot herself with his gun while the two drank together sued the city Monday to try to get his job back. Steven E. Lesner, 48, said the Chicago Police Board’s July 17 decision to fire him was “clearly erroneous.”
THE WATCHDOGS: J. William Roberts' mix of political and prosecutorial experience was key to getting the job of legislative inspector general. But it could raise questions about his ability to impartially investigate lawmakers, including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley won't have to testify in City Hall’s lawsuit to break a contract the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park was awarded under Daley.
THE WATCHDOGS: In one of his last acts before retiring from the Chicago Police Department, Supt. Phil Cline refused to discipline a detective who had submitted fraudulent documents to City Hall so he could operate a valet company, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
Calling his conduct “reprehensible,” the Chicago Police Board fired Sgt. Steven Lesner because his failure to secure his gun “led directly” to the death of a Northwest Side woman, the board said in a ruling Friday. Read More
The new Pete’s Fresh Market on the West Side sells liquor — even though it’s next door to a church, and state law bans liquor sales within 100 feet of churches and schools. So how can Pete’s sell beer, wine and spirits? With a little help from influential friends including Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who’s gotten tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the grocer in the past two years.
Laura Foxgrover, a Chicago Park District official who oversaw concessions, testified Thursday that “I never put it in writing that I was having a baby with Matthew O’Malley,” who was then negotiating the biggest concession deal in park district history, the Park Grill restaurant’s 30-year lease at Millennium Park.