Suit claims Daley called inspector general his ‘worst mistake’

SHARE Suit claims Daley called inspector general his ‘worst mistake’

A lawsuit filed by an aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley claims the mayor once said creating the Inspector General’s Office was “the worst mistake [he] ever made.”

Anthony Boswell, the former head of the now-disbanded Office of Compliance, claims in the suit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court that although the city hired him to fight political corruption, “it never intended to stem political nepotism” and just wanted “a rubber stamp.”

Daley created the office in 2007 to get around an inspector general who had embarrassed him.

But federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan and attorney Michael Shakman, the original plaintiff in the long-running Shakman patronage case, had accused Boswell of ignoring blatant violations, covering up hiring irregularities he was supposed to correct and failing to discipline employees who refused to toe the line.

Boswell, a lawyer whose office oversaw hiring practices, claims in the suit that Daley privately told him “creating the Inspector General’s Office was the worst mistake [he] ever made” because “that Office seeks to ruin lives by making statements it had little evidence for.”

Daley’s spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Neither did Boswell’s attorney.

Current city officials could not immediately comment.

In the suit, Boswell claims the city was fraudulent and failed to honor the promise that Boswell in his role could “ultimately eliminate political corruption in the City of Chicago.”

He is seeking back pay, benefits and other compensation he would have been entitled to had he not been forced, in his view, to resign. He also seeks other unspecified damages and fees.

Though the office was created to avoid embarrassment, Boswell himself became an embarrassment to Daley.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson targeted minority contracting fraud and Shakman decree violations under Boswell’s watch. At the inspector general’s recommendation, Daley suspended Boswell for 30 days for allegedly mishandling an intern’s sexual harassment complaint against a 911 center deputy.

This is not Boswell’s first legal action related to his old job. Boswell filed a lawsuit in 2010 that contained the explosive allegation that then-Corporation Counsel Mara Georges led a “retaliation campaign” that culminated in the “illegal” suspension of Boswell after he blew the whistle on her efforts to manipulate hiring and promote her predecessor’s unqualified daughter.

The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed. Boswell resigned in 2010 before Daley could act on another Ferguson recommendation — that Boswell be fired for accepting two years’ worth of Spanish lessons from a consultant over whom he had “contracting authority” on city time at taxpayers’ expense.

Contributing: Fran Spielman

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