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Emanuel Orders Stop To City Credit Card Use

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jun 4, 2011 8:00PM

After a Fox Chicago/Better Government Association investigation revealed city employees using city credit cards to pay for everything from flowers to expensive restaurants to city-issued red-light tickets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered an immediate full-stop to all credit card use. In a memo to his cabinet and city department heads, Emanuel also ordered the cancellation of all city credit card accounts and suspended employee expense reimbursement until a full investigation is completed.

Via Fox Chicago, the memo states, "This is completely unacceptable to me and I am troubled by the disrespect this shows for the hard-earned dollars taxpayers give the City of Chicago." A spokesman for the mayor's office also told Fox Chicago that they discovered the credit card abuses while responding to requests for information. The expenditures might not even be a breach of city policies. "It could be that the policy is overly vague or badly worded," the mayor's office spokesman said.

A bulk of the abuses were found at, of all places, the Chicago Housing Authority. Credit card use has been also been suspended at Chicago Transit Authority. Fox Chicago/BGA's earlier investigation of credit card expenses by the Chicago Park District has already made waves. It led to the suspension of District Chief of Staff Shawn Schmidt, who has since resigned.