Public Watchdog.org

It’s Almost Time For “Scapegoat Caudill”

04.07.08

Last month we discussed former Park Ridge Chief of Police Jeff Caudill’s “Voluntary Separation Agreement And Release Of All Claims,” which we labeled “The Fix” because it’s both a sweetheart deal for Caudill and a way to keep the public in the dark about the results of the upcoming “audit” of the Park Ridge Police Department. 

We pointed out how Paragraph 7 of The Fix provides that “Mr. Caudill and City management officials agree to refrain from making statements to the general public or news media disparaging one another” – which means that any of the audit results that relate to Caudill or his management of the police department over the past eight years might be kept hidden from the taxpayers who are paying for the audit, including those citizens who have had less-than-optimal experiences with the PRPD.

Well, it didn’t take long for the first part of that prediction to begin coming true. 

As reported in last week’s Herald-Advocate (“Committee recommends firm to conduct police audit for city,” April 3), Mayor Howard Frimark and the most handpicked of his alderpuppets, Jim Allegretti (4th Ward), pushed through their choice for the police department auditor, the Lisle-based law firm of Ekl Williams, over the choice of fellow Public Safety Sub-Committee member Ald. Frank Wsol (7th Ward), Kroll Investigations, a risk-consulting company which has monitored investigations of the Los Angeles and Detroit police departments, and conducted an investigation of misconduct within the San Francisco P.D.

In that H-A article Allegretti is quoted as saying (about the PRPD’s various problems that prompted the audit): “I think a lot of our problems retired,” a clear and arguably “disparaging” reference to the recently retired Caudill.  And, more importantly, it sure suggests that at least one alderpuppet – the same one who is one of the most vocal when it comes to defending closed session meetings and secrecy – is ready to make Caudill the scapegoat for most, if not all, of the things the auditors might find wrong with the PRPD. 

Which causes us also to wonder about the choice of Ekl Williams, whose estimate of approximately $75,000 for between 350 and 400 hours of auditing work seriously low-balled the estimates from Kroll (774 hours of work for $231,100), Jenner & Block (760 hours for $276,870) and Ungaretti & Harris (700 hours for $250,000).  And it’s being reported that Ekl Williams qualified its less-detailed work proposal with a disclaimer that more hours and money might be needed once they get into the assignment.

That gives Ekl Williams the opportunity for a classic bait-and-switch once they begin the assignment.  On the other hand, it also gives Frimark and his Alderpuppets a ready made excuse to cut the audit short while claiming to be saving us money.  Allegretti has already started setting the table for that maneuver by bad-mouthing the more comprehensive audits, saying he’s “really not that comfortable with that much money.”  Of course, this is the same alderpuppet who voted to give $400,000 to Napleton Cadillac (and PRC Partners) to clean up pollution on the old Napleton site.  

Bait-and-switch or just a plain old fashioned whitewash? With Frimark and Allegretti calling the tune on who gets to do the audit, that may end up being the only choice we have.

2 comments so far

Interesting that the initial disparaging comments comes from Allegretti who was so vociferous at the last city council meeting about the potential for the city being sued if a police audit revealed too much. (Which, by the way, raises the question of how the impending audit could reveal “too much”.) To then go out and take such a public shot at Caudill with clear knowledge of the disparagement clause in his agreement with the city is just a little ironic, huh?

There’s no way in the world that any kind of decent investigation of all the things that they are supposed to be investigating can be done by lawyers and private investigators for $75,000. LESS THAN A THIRD OF WHAT THE OTHER FIRMS WERE CHARGINMG!!!!!!! Those guys have to be connected to somebody like Allegretti.



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