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
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.