Please find our press releases below.
On April 25, 2013, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General announced the arrest of a Chicago man for allegedly soliciting and accepting a $600 cash payment to assist with filing a false bankruptcy case … [Read More...]
The IGO’s 1st Quarter 2013 report provides a summary of IGO activity from January 1 through March 31, 2013. City law mandates that the Quarterly include certain statistics about the number, type, and duration of IGO investigations. However, to promote further transparency into IGO operations, the Inspector General ensures that the quarterly report includes summaries … [Read More...]
Inspector General Joseph M. Ferguson released the following statement after reviewing the March 21, 2013 Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Ferguson v. Patton: Today, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the IGO does not have the statutory authority to enforce its own subpoenas. The Court’s opinion requires the IGO to go to the City’s Corporation … [Read More...]
The IGO published a report describing the sources and uses of funding for the 2012 Chicago North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit. The IGO does not make any recommendations in the report, but instead provides the public with a simplified summary of the origin and final uses of $27.4 million the City spent on the … [Read More...]
IGO Recommends Civilianizing 292 Police Officer Positions to Save City At Least $6.4 Million Annually
The IGO recommended that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) civilianize 292 positions to save the City an estimated $6.4 to $16.6 million annually. The report analyzed opportunities to civilianize certain positions in 30 separate CPD units, and found that at least 292 full-time positions of the 370 reviewed could be filled by civilians. The 30 … [Read More...]
On January 18, 2013, the IGO transmitted its fourth quarter report for 2012 to the City Council and City officials. Available on the IGO website, the report provides a summary of IGO activity from October 1 through December 31, 2012. City law mandates that the Quarterly include certain statistics about the number, type, and duration … [Read More...]
The IGO released an audit that found waste and inefficiency in the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) administration of its Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP). The IGO sought to determine if CPD was effectively administering the $6.5 million program. Among its findings, the IGO found $180,375 owed to the City by 15 employees who resigned City service … [Read More...]
On November 26, 2012, the IGO released a follow-up report to its October 2011 review of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Public Benefits Clauses and Charitable Donations. The follow-up report has two major findings. First, it describes 10 additional previously undisclosed public benefits clauses. Second, it details the City’s actions in response to the IGO’s 2011 … [Read More...]
Following a series of complaints regarding the welfare of circus animals visiting Chicago and whether the City had adequate licensing and enforcement provisions in place for animal exhibitors, the IGO reviewed the City’s regulation of animal exhibitors. The IGO’s review found that traveling animal exhibitors present a special enforcement challenge for the City given the … [Read More...]
The IGO transmitted its third quarter report for 2012 to the City Council and City officials. The report provides a summary of IGO activity from July 1 through September 30, 2012. City law mandates that the Quarterly include certain statistics about the number, type, and duration of IGO investigations, as well as summaries of concluded … [Read More...]
The IGO has published a report describing the City’s rights and powers retained under the 2008 Metered Parking Concession Agreement with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC. The report provides the public and City officials with a simplified baseline summary of what the City can and cannot do under the contract. “The parking meter contract understandably remain … [Read More...]
SEIU Local 1 President and Inspector General Exchange Correspondence on Revenue & Savings Options Report
On October 3, 2012, President Thomas Balanoff of SEIU Local 1 wrote Inspector General Joe Ferguson a letter indicating concerns about the IGO’s recent report on Savings & Revenue Options for the City of Chicago. The IG responded via letter on October 9, 2012. To further promote efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity in the City’s operations … [Read More...]
Owner of Defunct Azteca Supply Co. and Her Husband Sentenced to Federal Prison in Connection With Minority Contract Fraud
The owner of a defunct Chicago company once certified as a minority- and woman-owned business and her husband were sentenced to federal prison terms today in connection with public contract fraud involving projects at O’Hare International Airport and in the Village of Orland Park. Aurora Venegas, the owner of Azteca Supply Co., who pleaded guilty … [Read More...]
The IGO has released an audit of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Evidence and Recovered Property Section (ERPS). The IGO audit found that CPD’s internal controls for ERPS failed to ensure that evidence and property were adequately protected, properly documented, and readily available when required. IGO audit testing revealed that ERPS personnel could not locate … [Read More...]
Oral arguments for the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General’s lawsuit against the City’s Corporation Counsel will take place in Springfield, IL at 9 o’clock Thursday morning. What: Oral Arguments When: 9am, 9/20/12 Where: Supreme Court Building 200 E Capitol Avenue, Springfield, IL … [Read More...]
Former City Inspector Sentenced to 2½ Years in Prison for Taking Bribes to Help More Than 500 Individuals Obtain State Food Sanitation Certificates
Maryanne Koll, a retired Chicago Public Health Department food sanitation inspector, was sentenced today to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting at least $96,930 in return for fraudulently arranging to provide bogus food service certificates for at least 531 individuals. The defendant, who operated Kollmar Food Safety Institute … [Read More...]
IGO Releases Report Describing the City’s Labor Agreements with its Police Officers and Firefighters
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) has published a review of the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that govern the relationships between the City of Chicago and its police officers and firefighters. These CBAs affect nearly 17,000 current employees—over half the City’s workforce—and contain provisions that have a substantial financial impact on the … [Read More...]
The IGO has published a report on the Chicago Department of Procurement’s (DPS) emergency contracting process. The report details how DPS awarded a series of emergency contracts from March 2010 through April 2011 contrary to its own internal emergency procurement policies. Specifically, DPS awarded a supplier ten separate unadvertised emergency contracts for concrete sewer pipes … [Read More...]
Inspector General Issues Statement Respecting City Council Finance Committee Denial of Access to City Duty Disability Program Records
On May 18, 2012, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) made a formal written request to the City Council Committee on Finance for access to databases related to the City’s self-managed and self-insured workers’ compensation program for reimbursing employees injured on the job—more commonly known as Duty Disability. The written request followed … [Read More...]
On July 20, the IGO published a follow-up report to its 2011 Downtown Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program Audit. The report can be downloaded via the link on the right.
The IGO has published a review of the City’s position title reclassification process administered by the Department of Human Resources (DHR). The IGO review identifies deficiencies in the Reclassification Rules that inhibit the City’s reclassification system’s effectiveness, transparency and accountability. The City’s reclassification system is meant to ensure that employment positions are allocated to class … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) has transmitted its second quarter report for 2012 to the City Council and City officials. Available for download on the right of your screen, the report provides a summary of IGO activity from April 1 through June 30, 2012. City law mandates that the Quarterly include … [Read More...]
The IGO released a report on the Chicago Department of Aviation’s (CDA) contracting process, as well as the CDA’s response to the IGO’s findings. Following an investigation, the IGO identified lapses in the contracting process underlying the 2007 construction of a sidewalk at O’Hare International Airport. These lapses, similar to lapses identified in an IGO … [Read More...]
The following is Inspector Joseph M. Ferguson’s statement regarding the recent arbitration decision on Fire Prevention Bureau employees found to have been stealing from the City: Last year, after a lengthy investigation, my office determined that firefighters assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau routinely lied on their mileage reimbursement requests in order to defraud the … [Read More...]
The IGO published a review of the process for establishing Special Service Area (SSA) taxing districts, as well as the official response to the report from the City’s Department of Housing & Economic Development (HED). The review was prompted by the City Council’s February 2011 termination of SSA #46, three months after the SSA’s first … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) has transmitted its first quarter report for 2012 to the City Council and City officials. Available on the IGO website, the report provides a summary of IGO activity from January 1 through March 31, 2012. City law mandates that the Quarterly include certain statistics about the … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) published an audit of the City’s Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) grant monitoring practices. The audit reviewed DFSS’ policies and procedures for managing grants made to delegate agencies. The audit focused on procedures in place during 2010 and found that despite some deficiencies, DFSS’ … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General and the United States Attorney’s Office announced that a former City employee was sentenced to one year and one day in prison today after having been found guilty of two counts of bribery. In November 2011, Dominick Owens, of Chicago, was found guilty of accepting two separate … [Read More...]
The IGO published a report concluding that the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) wasted at least $171,000 on GPS service contracts that it failed to utilize. The IGO report details failure of management oversight and underutilization of resources, which spanned the terms of three CDA commissioners and involved multiple employees from the top down. In … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) today published recommendations made to the City Comptroller and the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding efficiency in operations and loss prevention. Recommendations and Response Regarding Cashiering The IGO recently conducted an investigation into allegations of theft at a Department of Revenue … [Read More...]
Today, the City of Chicago settled civil claims with Allied Waste Transportation Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Services, Inc, related to Allied’s long-running violations of Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) provisions in Allied’s waste hauling contracts with the City. The IGO offered a statement on the settlement. It is available via downloadable … [Read More...]
During the City Council hearings on the City’s 2012 Budget in October and November 2011, City Departments submitted information to the City Council based on Aldermanic questions of the departments made prior to and during the hearings. The material includes each commissioner’s opening statement during the budget hearings and detailed information regarding departmental operations. Following … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) released a report today on the City’s policy and process for issuing residency waivers for employees. For some years, the City has granted temporary waivers to the residency requirement for City employees. A recent IGO investigation prompted the IGO to review the waiver process, the City’s … [Read More...]
At the nearly two year mark of my term, the IGO continues to provide Chicago residents with an important service – guarding against waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiency in City government. Over the past year, IGO audits and program reviews have identified more than $700,000 in lost or wasted City expenditures, operational inefficiencies that cost … [Read More...]
Earlier this year, the IGO completed an investigation into mileage reimbursement claims in the Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB). In short, the IGO found that in 2009 – just a one-year snapshot of what many in the CFD volunteered has been a decades-long practice – 54 FPB inspectors and supervisors conservatively stole approximately $100,000 taxpayer dollars … [Read More...]
On October 14, 2011, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) transmitted its third quarter report for 2011 to the City Council and City officials. The report provides a summary of IGO activity from July 1 through September 30, 2011. “The IGO remains committed to operating as transparently as possible,” said Inspector General … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) today released a review of TIF Public Benefits Clauses and Charitable Donations. Private charitable entities are sometimes named as beneficiaries in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) redevelopment agreements (RDAs) through the inclusion of “public benefits” clauses. Public benefits clauses are terms in TIF RDAs (as well as … [Read More...]
Former City Inspector Convicted of Taking Bribes to Help Obtain State Food Sanitation Certificates for More Than 500 Individuals.
A southwest suburban woman who was authorized by the Illinois Department of Public Health to teach food service sanitation classes and administer state certification exams was convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting at least $79,650 in return for fraudulently arranging to provide bogus certificates for at least 531 individuals. The defendant, Maryanne Koll, … [Read More...]
Today, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) released a review of World Business Chicago’s (WBC) involvement in the City’s approval of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposals. The IGO report found that WBC staff advocated for the approval of significant TIF subsidies for two major corporations–CME Group and United Air Lines–despite the fact … [Read More...]
In 2009, 2010, and 2011, in the face of large budget deficits, one cost cutting strategy of the City of Chicago has been to require a portion of the City’s workforce to take unpaid time off (this strategy is commonly known as furloughs). Our review revealed that the furlough program has not resulted in a … [Read More...]
On Friday, July 15, 2011, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) transmitted its second quarter 2011 report to City officials and residents. The report summarizes IGO activities over the last quarter, which includes the transition period between the Daley and Emanuel administrations. Specifically, it includes narrative summaries of IGO investigations and policy … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) yesterday transmitted a report to the City concerning overtime and holiday premium payments to certain “exempt” members of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD). The review had two primary findings. First, the CFD has been providing overtime, holiday premium payments, and other benefits to certain “exempt” CFD … [Read More...]
Today, the IGO released a follow up review of the City’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program. This follow-up report details changes in the program over the past year, the challenges the program still faces, and recommendations for the new administration and City Council to consider in rebuilding the program to make it function … [Read More...]
Inspector General Joe Ferguson released the following statement on Deputy Inspector General Soo Choi being named the Commissioner for the City’s Department of Human Resources by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel: “Today, Mayor-elect Emanuel announced Deputy Inspector General Soo Choi as his nominee to be the next Commissioner of the City’s Department of Human Resources. Ms. Choi … [Read More...]
On Thursday, April 14, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) submitted its first quarter 2011 report to City officials and residents. “This is the fifth narrative quarterly report I’ve sent to the City, and I believe it should encourage all Chicagoans to know we continue to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and … [Read More...]
The IGO released an audit of the City’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) today. The IGO performed an audit of payments disbursed by OEMC from January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009 in order to review contract management and pay disbursement procedures. In seeking to determine whether OEMC had effective and efficient operations … [Read More...]
Citing the importance of promoting and enhancing transparency in City government Inspector General Joe Ferguson today announced “Open Chicago,” a new transparency initiative. Hosted on the City of Chicago’s Office of Inspector General’s (IGO) newly redesigned website, the initiative is aimed at increasing the public’s understanding of City government and to further the IGO’s mandate … [Read More...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) released a report today stating that the City publicly overstated savings realized from its furlough program by $11.05 million. Additionally, the IGO report found that the furlough program will result in increasing the funding shortfall of City employees’ pension funds by approximately $24.55 … [Read More...]
“Expediter” Who Cooperated in Federal Corruption Probe of City Building Permits Sentenced to Three Years Probabation
A former Chicago woman who provided extraordinary cooperation in Operation Crooked Code, a federal public corruption investigation of the City of Chicago building permit process, avoided prison and was sentenced today to three years of probation. The defendant, Catherine Romasanta, testified in four federal trials about how she paid bribes to city inspectors on behalf … [Read More...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE On Thursday, January 13, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) submitted this year’s fourth quarterly report to Chicago’s elected officials and residents. “This report provides Chicagoans with a better understanding of how their City government works,” said Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. “It details the IGO’s interaction with City government … [Read More...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE In response to a series of investigations concerning violations of the City’s gift policy (Section 2-156-040 of the City of Chicago’s Ethics Ordinance), the IGO is recommending that the Mayor institute a City-wide “no-gifts” policy. “In examining gift related cases my office has investigated over the past year alone, it is clear … [Read More...]
A City of Chicago building inspector was sentenced today to three years in federal prison after being convicted at trial in September on bribery charges for accepting two $1,000 cash bribes from a cooperating contractor and demanding two $2,000 cash bribes from developers to approve inspections at residential and commercial construction sites, federal law enforcement … [Read More...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE A former general contractor was sentenced to 5 years of probation today in federal court. Padraig Gravin pled guilty to bribery charges on March 2, 2010 for trying to pay a $500 bribe to a City official. The bribe was meant to secure a favorable inspection related to the issuance of a … [Read More...]
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) released an audit of cash handling and sticker inventory procedures of the Clerk’s Cicero/Archer South Side Satellite Office. The audit stemmed from an IGO investigation referred by the City Clerk’s Office. Noting concerns of systemic irregularities at a satellite office under a previous City Clerk, the … [Read More...]
A City of Chicago employee was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison today. Mario Olivella, 43, has been a supervisory plumbing inspector for the City’s Department of Buildings since 1998. A federal jury found him guilty in January of two counts of bribery and conspiracy for taking bribes to overlook code violations at a … [Read More...]
The Office of Inspector General (IGO) today released an audit of overtime performed at the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). The audit, which examined CDA overtime from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, was performed in order to determine whether the CDA had effective and efficient controls for overtime pay and distribution, and to … [Read More...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Office of Inspector General (IGO) today issued a report recommending that the City consider implementing an integrated, fleet-wide Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system that tracks the movement of on-duty taxicabs. The program review and report was prompted by a recent hit-and-run incident allegedly involving a taxicab that resulted in the death … [Read More...]
Following a City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) investigation, an indictment has been filed in the Ciruit Court of Cook County charging a former City of Chicago contractor with four counts of theft from City of Chicago.
A City of Chicago employee was sentenced to 21 months in prison today for bribery. Tom Ziroli, a 64 year old former Ventilation Inspector with the Department of Buildings, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release, a $15,000 fine, an additional $100 special assessment, and will be required to pay back $500 in … [Read More...]
A former senior inspector with the City of Chicago Department of Environment was sentenced to one year and one day in prison yesterday.
A former superintendent in the City’s Department of Streets and Sanitation was sentenced to 364 days in the Cook County Department of Corrections today. Anish Eapen, 39, was found guilty after on June 24 on multiple counts of vote fraud for attempting to persuade voters in the 50th Ward to vote by absentee ballot in … [Read More...]
A fourteen count indictment has been filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County charging a former City of Chicago employee with eight counts of theft, four counts of official misconduct, and two counts of obstruction of justice.
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) and the United States Attorney’s Office announced that a City of Chicago Zoning Investigator was sentenced to 31 months in prison today to be followed by two years of supervised release as a result of his conviction for accepting a $500 bribe in exchange for providing … [Read More...]
A ward superintendent for the City’s Department of Streets and Sanitation and another man were convicted today for their attempts to tamper with absentee ballots and influence the results of the 2007 aldermanic elections. The case is the result of a joint investigation by the City of Chicago Inspector General’s Office and Cook County States … [Read More...]
The former president of a Schaumburg based business admitted in federal court today to participating in a scheme to win a City contract using fraudulent documents and inflated bids. Douglas E. Ritter was to go on trial later this month, along with co-defendant Steven Fenzl, for multiple charges outlined in an April 2009 indictment. The … [Read More...]
Former City Tourism Fund Worker Guilty of Felony Theft, Pays $20,000 Restitution to City as Part of Plea Agreement
A former Department of Cultural Affairs worker entered a guilty plea today in Cook County Criminal Court, as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Ming Liu (now Ming Liu Bengtsson) was indicted last August for felony theft, forgery, and official misconduct, following an investigation by the Chicago Inspector General’s Office.
Inspector General Joe Ferguson issued a statement today strongly supporting the Mayor’s proposal to expand the IGO’s jurisdiction to include oversight for City Council and the City’s hiring practices.
Following a joint investigation by the Chicago Inspector General’s Office and the FBI, a federal grand jury today returned a six-count indictment against a City contractor, as well as its owner and her spouse on felony fraud charges. Azteca Supply Co., a certified minority-and-woman-owned enterprise for the City of Chicago, is accused of receiving more … [Read More...]
Former Non-Profit Executive Pleads Guilty to Felony Theft; Sentence Includes Year in Prison, $100k in Restitution to City
The former head of a non-profit social service organization pled guilty today in Cook County Circuit Court to one count of felony theft of government funds. Patti Buffington, 51, of Chicago was arrested in October 2006 and charged for the misappropriation of city, state, and federal funds provided to Genesis House – an organization that … [Read More...]
Members of the City Council voted unanimously to confirm Joseph Ferguson as the new Inspector General of the City of Chicago. Ferguson takes the position after spending more than 15 years in the United States Attorney’s Office, most recently serving as Chief of the Money Laundering and Forfeiture Section. He had worked previously in that … [Read More...]
The Inspector General’s Office (IGO) for the City of Chicago filed an action in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, to enforce a subpoena for documents that the IGO served on the City’s Department of Law. The IGO took this step because the Law Department has not complied with the … [Read More...]
A City of Chicago zoning inspector has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. In exchange for his cooperation, federal prosecutors are recommending that William Wellhausen be sentenced to 15 months in prison and pay fines totaling more than $33,000.
A criminal complaint has been unsealed against Michael Cease, an inspector in the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment. Cease is charged with federal bribery for allegedly accepting two cash bribe payments totaling $1,150 in September. The 39-year-old was arrested following an investigation by the City of Chicago Inspector General’s Office and the FBI.
A City of Chicago building inspector was arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint for allegedly accepting cash bribes. The complaint alleges Dominick Owens took more than $20,000 in bribes, in return for delivering Certificates of Occupancy for numerous construction projects.
A jury in U.S. District Court has convicted Michael Reese, a Supervising Building/Construction Inspector for the City of Chicago, on two counts of making false statements and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. Reese becomes the 12th person convicted as part of “Operation Crooked Code”, a joint investigation between the Department of Justice and … [Read More...]
The Cook County State’s Attorneys Office announced a four-count indictment today against a former employee of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. During the course of an unrelated investigation in July 2008, the Inspector General’s Office discovered a copy of a $20,000 check, made out to the defendant, Ming Liu. Because the check’s signature was … [Read More...]
A city of Chicago building inspector was arrested today on federal charges for allegedly accepting a $1,000 cash bribe from a cooperating contractor to approve an inspection at a residential construction site. Jose Hernandez allegedly solicited cash bribes totaling tens of thousands of dollars from contractors, developers and homeowners since at least 2005, according to … [Read More...]
The Illinois Reform Commission (IRC) issued its 100-day report today, recommending a wide range of ethics reforms in six key areas: campaign finance; procurement; enforcement; government structure; transparency; and inspiring better government. The Commission was chaired by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins, and members include City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman.
A Chicago grand jury indicted the president and vice president of an Illinois refuse disposal container repair company for engaging in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud the city of Chicago on a contract for the repair of refuse carts. Douglas E. Ritter and Steven Fenzl were charged in a four-count indictment, the U.S. Department … [Read More...]
The Illinois Reform Commission (IRC), whose members include City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman, today announced a series of reform proposals covering campaign finance, procurement, enforcement and transparency.
Developers, Contractors, City Employees Among 15 Charged in Federal Bribery Probe of City Building Permits
Fifteen defendants, including property owners and developers, contractors and seven City of Chicago inspectors were arrested on federal bribery charges, most of them for allegedly exchanging cash payments and other benefits with a former corrupt “expediter” relating to various city building, zoning and related permit matters, federal law enforcement officials and the city’s Inspector General … [Read More...]
Three City of Chicago inspectors and a private contractor have been arrested on federal bribery charges for allegedly exchanging cash payments with an undercover former city employee relating to various city building and permit matters, federal law enforcement officials and the city’s Inspector General announced today. A series of three arrests began Monday night and … [Read More...]