Inspector General Sues City
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 5, 2009 4:20PM
When Mayor Daley first appointed a former federal prosecutor to the Inspector General office five years ago in the wake of scandals such as Hired Trucks, he probably thought of it more as a gesture than anything that might bring about real problems for him. Boy, was he wrong. Since then, there's been a lot of tension between the City and the IGO as the IGO has done their job and kept after the city. In the latest development of this ongoing battle, the Inspector General's Office is taking the City of Chicago to court in an effort to get access to documents and records pertaining to a 2006 no-bid contract award. Our media crush Carol Marin has the details at the Sun-Times:
First Deputy Inspector General Mary E. Hodge filed the lawsuit in the Chancery Division of Cook County Circuit Court Wednesday asking that [City Law Dept. head Mara] Georges be compelled to fully co-operate in an ongoing contract probe “investigating how a former City employee was awarded a sole-source contract in apparent violation of the City’s ethics and contracting rules.”
The lawsuit does not name the contractor or the amount that contractor has been paid.
The IGO wants the court to require Georges to tell them who hired that individual and why, saying it “has been unable to determine who bears responsibility for the critical decision to contract with the former employee.”
Hodge has been running the show for the IGO since former IG David Hoffman resigned to run for the U.S. Senate; former Assistant US Attorney Joseph Ferguson is due to be confirmed later this month. The City's Law Department is claiming such information falls under attorney-client privilege, a claim the IGO says is bunk. Marin explains:
GO argues attorney-client privilege is a bogus argument, that the Inspector General and Georges both work for the same city and follow the same law, requiring the full cooperation of every city department in investigations of questionable hiring and contracts.
Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the Law Department, said, “We strongly disagree with the IG's assertion that attorney-client privilege does not apply in this situation."