Hired Truck whistleblower sues Chicago citing unfair termination

| 5/18/2006

One of the first city employees to blow the whistle on corruption in Chicago’s Hired Truck program is suing the city for what he claims was an unjust termination.

Patrick McDonough, a former plumber for the city’s Water Management Department, was fired in April 2005 for allegedly violating a policy that all city employees must live within the city limits of Chicago.

However, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, McDonough claims the real reason for the loss of his job has to do with his contacting the newspaper in 2001, after he witnessed trucking companies getting paid to leave their trucks at construction sites without actually doing any work.

A spokesperson for the city, however, told the Chicago Tribune that McDonough’s firing came from an anonymous tip, and was not part of a more elaborate plan to retaliate against him.

McDonough’s initial tip-off, along with several others, set the stage for a federal investigation that turned up corruption and scandals throughout the city’s ranks.

To date, 44 individuals have been charged for their involvement with Hired Truck, in which trucking companies gave bribes and political contributions to city employees in exchange for lucrative contracts with the city. Thirty-seven people have pleaded guilty or have been found guilty. Twenty-two people – 18 of whom were city workers – have already been sentenced, according to the Sun-Times.