Sneed has learned the City of Chicago’s law department plans to bring action against Equifax, a mega consumer credit-reporting agency whose computer system was hacked recently, exposing highly sensitive background information on 143 million Americans.
“Our city could be the first municipality to take action to punish Equifax and its executives for plotting to hide from the public the hacking that victimized at least 1 million Chicagoans,” said Ald. Ed Burke (14th), the City Council’s finance chairman.
“There is a provision in the city’s municipal code enabling us to bring action against companies that commit fraud on our citizens through negligence or conspiracy — and failing to report it immediately,” added Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who has become a consumer advocate champion.
He and Burke are leading the charge against Equifax along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has emerged as a leader among the nation’s mayors in the wake of his initial victory in federal court on the sanctuary city imbroglio.
“Unlike any other industry, the burden of repairing Equifax’s errors is placed on the consumer,” Hopkins said.
Equifax is now facing blistering public criticism for not protecting the sensitive data — as well as not reporting the hacking problem when it occurred in July and not made public until late August, added Burke, who is working on the municipal action along with Hopkins.
Hopkins also will propose a portion of the fines be appropriated to reimburse those Chicagoans who have suffered any loss as a result of Equifax’s conduct.
It’s been reported Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who abruptly “retired” Tuesday, made $15 million in salary and bonuses and stands to benefit from an $18 million golden parachute.
“If Equifax violated our municipal code, fines can range from $2,000 a day to $10,000 a day for every day the offense was in existence,” Burke said.
“Multiply that by approximately 1 million Chicagoans victimized by this scheme for 120 days, there could be a potential $1 billion in fines,” he said.
“Then we could close our current structural budget deficit and solve our city’s pensions problem for retirees,” Hopkins said.
The big question: Will other big cities take on Emanuel’s lead in tackling Equifax?
It’s rumpus with the grumpus time!
Sneed is told the four tops . . . (a.k.a. Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin) are holding a hush hush legislative meet at an undisclosed location Friday.
• Rumored rumpus? The big talk will be squawk dealing with the hundred million dollars Dems are pushing for the Obama Library in the fall veto session up against GOPers pushing for workmen’s compensation and property tax reform.
Jim Durkin was hoping his Peninsula hotel fundraiser headliner Wednesday night — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a member of the Cubs’ Ricketts family — would be a good omen for the Cubs to clinch the National League Central Division title.
Who ya gonna call?
Grant “The Bartman Ball” DePorter, on behalf of Harry Caray’s eatery, tells Sneed he just acquired actor Bill Murray’s “Ghostbusters II” jumpsuit at auction Tuesday for $41,845.
Good timing, Grant — now the word is out Murray is negotiating to play Cubs manager Joe Maddon in a proposed film about the Cubbies’ World Series win.
“Bill Murray is unquestionably the Cubs’ most famous super fan and is known as the Cubs’ World Series good luck charm,” said DePorter. Cubbie Anthony Rizzo told Murray “you’re the inspiration.”
Sneedlings . . .
Former speaker of the House John Boehner at Harry Caray’s in Lombard for lunch Tuesday and later for drinks. . . . Today’s birthdays: St. Vincent, 35; Hilary Duff, 30; and Naomi Watts, 49.