The Chicago Board of Ethics ratified the inspector general’s findings on Nov. 13, and Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin now has an opportunity to contest the results of the probe at a future meeting of the board. Each violation of the law could trigger a fine of $20,000.
Chicago Board of Ethics
New rules requiring nonprofit organizations to register as lobbyists are set to take effect July 1 after a delay of nearly four years.
The board’s ruling could also complicate efforts to hold public officials or candidates responsible for other kinds of violations, unless the City Council acts to change the law, sources told WTTW News.
Michael Dorf, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s attorney, said the board’s decision “avoided setting a dangerous precedent.”
The probe by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability concluded that two Chicago Police lieutenants “may have directed an improper campaign of harassment” against Pete Czosnyka “in retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights.”
Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s determination that Gardiner violated the city’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance is the “first-ever finding of probable cause in an inspector general ethics investigation of a sitting member of City Council,” officials said.
Benjamin George, a construction worker, said his life was upended on Aug. 19, 2019, when he stopped at a 7-Eleven store in Jefferson Park and mistakenly picked up a cell phone left on the checkout counter that did not belong to him.
“The record is clear that Gardiner engaged in both content-based and speaker-based restrictions on his Facebook page, according to the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. The Court thus finds Gardiner in violation of the First Amendment.”
Djavan Conway, who served as an intergovernmental affairs advisor on Johnson’s transition leadership team, acknowledged he failed to terminate his registration as a City Hall lobbyist in January 2021, according to the settlement agreement he reached with the Chicago Board of Ethics.
Chicago Board of Ethics Chair William Conlon said the settlement was “in the best interest of everyone,” while former Ald. Howard Brookins said he had been vindicated.
The former mayor failed to uphold her fiduciary duty to the city, misused city property by identifying herself in campaign emails as the mayor of Chicago and solicited campaign contributions from employees she supervised, according to the city’s watchdog.
Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) could face a $40,000 fine for violating the city's ethics ordinance.
The Chicago Board of Ethics determined all of the violations of the city’s Ethics Ordinance were minor in nature, which will mean the candidates will be admonished in condfidential letters from the board — but not fined.
No rules require city officials to stream meetings online or allow members of the public to weigh in virtually, either by Zoom or by phone – putting at risk Chicagoans’ ability to keep tabs on their government with a simple click of a button.
Carmen Rossi, who also owns several Chicago nightclubs and holds the liquor license for the Lollapalooza music festival, lobbied the city on behalf of his firm, Chicago Parking Solutions, LLC, even though Rossi was not registered to lobby for the firm, according to a settlement agreement.
The nine enforcement actions – an unprecedented number for the board to take at a single meeting – were approved at a special meeting of the Chicago Board of Ethics approximately two weeks after Chair William Conlon sent a warning to all candidates: Do not use images of uniformed Chicago police officers, firefighters or city personnel in campaign advertisements.