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The Watchdogs

Investigations of City Hall, county government, politicians, education, business and pocketbook issues affecting taxpayers and consumers.

‘Narco-junior’ gave up ‘El Chapo,’ now faces shorter sentence Thursday in Chicago

Feds have asked for 17 years for Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of other top Sinaloa cartel boss

Chicago cop quit, took city pension after ex sued, saying he goaded her to shoot self

City Hall refuses to pay to defend John R. Schuler from the lawsuit.

Car insurance roulette: You could pay more because you’re a woman regardless of driving record

You could be a great driver but still have to pay more because of gender, ZIP code, other reasons unrelated to driving, a Sun-Times investigation found.

Judge who convicted man in case with legally blind eyewitness retired in April

Judge Nicholas Ford, a former prosecutor whose rulings in a police brutality case, other criminal matters have come under fire on appeal, has retired.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s legacy: Neighborhoods didn’t flourish the way downtown did

ANALYSIS: To most who follow development, growth, "Mayor 1 Percent" tag hung on Emanuel is unfair. Others say he did too little for neighborhoods.

FBI investigating engagement ring given to ex-Gov. Pat Quinn’s press secretary

The FBI is trying to determine who paid for the ring former Pat Quinn press secretary Brooke Anderson got from her husband Lou Bertuca, the ex-governor’s 2014 campaign manager.

Judge gave teen 76 years based on eyewitness he didn’t know was legally blind

A Cook County judge found an eyewitness persuasive in a Chicago murder case. What he — and the accused — didn’t know: The witness was legally blind.

‘Sort of shocks the conscience,’ judge says of ex-Chicago cop charged in beating

Former Chicago police Sgt. Eric J. Elkins, who quit amid two internal affairs probes, had been the subject of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation.

Illinois’ Medicaid backlog leaves more than 100,000 without health coverage

Tens of thousands in Illinois are waiting months for health care because of state backlog in determining who’s eligible for Medicaid.

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson under scrutiny in probe of failed Bridgeport bank

THE WATCHDOGS: Loan now part of a broadening federal probe of failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings that also includes bank president's hanging.

O’Hare runway mishaps: Despite errors, city workers face little discipline

Even when they are involved in runway mishaps at O'Hare Airport that violate safety regulations and could pose a deadly hazard, Chicago city workers routinely escape serious disciplinary action, records obtained by the Sun-Times show.

Ald. Edward Burke cashed in on projects he boasted of landing for his ward

Ald. Edward M. Burke's law firm has financial ties to nearly every development project he touted during his recent re-election campaign, a Better Government Association investigation found.

Another O’Hare runway mishap: City worker drove in front of landing jetliner

A city worker assigned to ensure runway safety was involved in a runway mishap at O'Hare Airport on April 2, when he drove a municipal vehicle onto a live runway as an American Airlines jetliner was landing.

‘El Chapo’ lieutenant Jesus Raul Beltran Leon pleads guilty to drug conspiracy

Jesus Raul Beltran Leon’s guilty plea scuttles a drug conspiracy trial set for next month.

Do you have a recalled dehumidifier like one that caught fire, killing this dog?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to check the make and model of their dehumidifiers to see if they've been recalled, warning of fires.

Costs pile up at CPS-funded charter network over CEO who ‘acted inappropriately’

Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools has spent $338,000 related to the sudden retirement of its CEO, who said he’d "acted inappropriately" with recent female graduates of the city’s largest government-funded but privately run charter network.

Congress about to ban IRS from offering free online tax filing. Thank TurboTax.

House has passed a bill that would bar the IRS from creating its own online tax-filing system. TurboTax maker Intuit, H&R Block lobbied for it.

Trump insider wanted to develop S. Loop site but couldn’t strike deal with Rezko

Convicted political fixer Tony Rezko’s former business partner Daniel Mahru confirms he had a deal set to sell undeveloped downtown Chicago property to Trump insider Felix Sater in the early 2000s for $175 million but says Rezko wouldn't do it.

FBI grilled Cook County judge with ties to indicted Chicago cop

Judge Mauricio Araujo told the FBI that indicted Chicago cop David Salgado is "more than an acquaintance but not quite a friend."

Once accused of strangling friend, Chicago man charged with choking girlfriend

Eleven years after a Cook County prosecutor twice told the Chicago police he wouldn't file a strangulation charge against a NW Side man, the man is charged in Florida with trying to strangle girlfriend.

Records: UIC missed warning signs on child psychiatrist’s research going awry

UIC has downplayed oversight problems on child psychiatrist's research, but documents show the school acknowledged lapses to federal officials.

Trash, permit violations and mud: why some Chicagoans hate ‘Windy City Rehab’

A reality TV show that turns Chicago fixer-uppers into pricey homes is creating lots of buzz, but some neighbors wish the flippers stayed away.

IRS investigating erroneous tax documents sent to 100s naming Skokie car dealer

Operator of Sherman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Skokie says it doesn’t know how errors affecting 300 taxpayers occurred, that amounts of misreported income were as high as $8 million.

Chicago spent more than $113 million on police misconduct lawsuits in 2018

The city of Chicago paid more than $85 million last year to settle police misconduct lawsuits and another $28 million to private attorneys to defend City Hall in those cases, records show — more than in any year since at least 2011, according to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter.

Customer of failed Bridgeport bank charged with fraud, forcing way into office

A big customer of a failed Bridgeport bank is charged with forcing his way in with gun-carrying lawyer after losing his office in bankruptcy.

New name for Mundelein retreat center where priests accused of abuse were sent

Records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show a church governing body approved name change for former Cardinal Stritch Retreat Center in part to distance center from its past, housing priests accused of sex abuse.

Feds’ wiretap shows Madigan, Solis eyed development of state land in Chinatown

The unfolding federal investigation of Chicago Ald. Danny Solis has exposed the behind-the-scenes machinations over a 2.7-acre parcel of state-owned land in Chinatown.

Rahm’s unhappy, so park district trashes Supt. Kelly’s golden-parachute contract

Under fire from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Park District and Supt. Mike Kelly "mutually decided" Thursday to rip up his contract.

Woman sues city, saying violent Chicago cop goaded her into shooting herself

A Northwest Side woman is suing the city of Chicago and her former boyfriend, a police sergeant she says goaded her into shooting herself in the face. She blames the city’s "broken disciplinary system" for failing to punish him despite a history of violent acts, two DUIs and dozens of complaints.

Judge OKs CPS paying $4M to family of autistic teen who, unwatched, drowned

A judge signs off on $4 million settlement with family of a Chicago Public Schools special ed. student who drowned in a school pool. And CPS has paid more than $100,000 in back pay to a teacher who lost his job for, he says, repeatedly sounding the alarm about problems at the school.

Chicago cop’s pension sweetened while under investigation for molesting teenager

THE WATCHDOGS: Chicago police Sgt. Eric J. Elkins was given a break that boosted his pension despite internal affairs investigation over sex crime.

Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, city has sharply scaled back environmental enforcement

Environmental enforcement by City Hall sharply declined under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He cut costs, staff was slashed, and .