Project 6 CEO not surprised by Emanuel standing by Claypool
Faisal Khan argues the recent hiring scandal that led to the forced resignation of Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool stands as a symbol of all the corruption that has poisoned most of state government.
“This story isn’t any more about Forrest Claypool as it is Rahm Emanuel,” Khan, CEO of Project 6, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing government corruption, said during a recent appearance on “Chicago’s Morning Answer” radio show, which is a co-hosted by Dan Proft, who also is a principal in Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“We’ve had a mayor that campaigned hard for transparency, and if you look at his career at City Hall, has acted in every way but in any transparent form,” he said.
Named by Emanuel to head CPS two years ago, Claypool was forced to step down after a CPS inspector general probe found that he violated city rules by hiring a friend, then sought to cover up the transgression by repeatedly lying to investigators.
“What he did was egregious,” Khan said. “He lied to law enforcement; he wasted taxpayer money trying to get legal opinions to justify the hiring of a friend and gave that friend lots of money.”
Khan said he wasn’t surprised to see Emanuel rallying to defend Claypool, whose actions he said were taken right from the mayor’s playbook.
“Instead of firing him right away, the mayor stands beside him, says he’s a standup guy,” Khan said. “He’s engaged in shady deals we know nothing about, two of his former executives have ended up in jail. We really need to have a hard look at this.”
Khan also alluded to a suit recently filed against Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios alleging that he violated state and federal civil rights and housing laws by knowingly generating inaccurate assessments that effectively punished poor and minority homeowners across the county.
Filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the suit charges the system implemented by Berrios is “neither accurate nor uniform" in the way it systematically discriminates against minority communities by overvaluing low-priced homes and using a reverse strategy for those that are costlier, all for the purposes of instituting and safeguarding an unfair property tax system.
Arguing that tax rates have recently been twice as high in predominantly black and Hispanic working-class neighborhoods like North Lawndale and Little Village as they are in the far more affluent and mostly white communities of the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, the suit argues "evasions and deceptions undermine public trust and confidence in the residential property tax system and do not comport with democratic principles, which require that government officials be accountable to the public."
The Chicago Tribune has reported the probe has now advanced to include an assessment of commercial and industrial properties.