OIG Releases 1st Quarter 2013 Report

The OIG’s 1st Quarter 2013 report provides a summary of OIG activity from January 1 through March 31, 2013.

Of particular concern to the OIG this quarter was the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Ferguson v. Patton. “Earlier this quarter, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that this office cannot enforce its own subpoenas,” said Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. “Despite that limitation in our authority, and the Mayor’s refusal to either remedy that limitation or ensure the OIG has unfettered access to the documents and records we need to do our job, I am confident that OIG auditors, investigators, and attorneys will continue to take their work as far as they are able.”

Investigative highlights from the report include:

  • The OIG determined that a police officer had used his/her official assignment serving building violation court summonses for the City Law Department to generate business for a friend’s private company that remediated the very same type of violations. However, despite agreeing that the misconduct likely occurred, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) declined to pursue any disciplinary action, citing purported procedural errors in the manner the OIG administered the officer’s procedural guarantees. In short, the officer did not face any disciplinary charges because CPD and the Law Department do not distinguish official OIG investigations of police officers from complaints made by citizens.
  • The OIG conducted an investigation that revealed that four current or former City of Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) employees embezzled City-purchased Jewel and Target gift cards that were supposed to be used to buy food and health-care items for CDPH clients and their newborns, or given out to clients as an incentive to obtain medical treatment. Instead, the CDPH employees redeemed the cards for their own personal use.
  • The OIG conducted an investigation that revealed that in the Spring of 2009, a former Department of Procurement Services (DPS) contracts compliance coordinator promoted and approved a minority-owned/woman-owned/disadvantaged business enterprise (M/W/DBE) pass-through scheme. In this case, a contractor for several O’Hare and Midway Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSIP) contracts purchased windows from non-M/W/DBE suppliers, but used M/W/DBE subcontractors as unnecessary middle-men in those transactions to inappropriately obtain M/W/DBE credit.
  • An OIG investigation determined that an Animal Control Officer with the Commission on Animal Care and Control (ACC) repeatedly falsified work logs and timekeeping records to conceal the fact that he was routinely trapping stray cats and relinquishing them directly to a private shelter, rather than impounding them at ACC as required by ACC policy.