Little Sir Ekl, How Do You Do?


Last week we wrote about how attorney Terry Ekl, the auditor of choice for Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark and his Alderpuppets, basically told Ald. Frank Wsol (7th Ward) to pound sand in response to Wsol’s request that Ekl explain why he chose not to identify those public officials who – as described at pages 30-32 of Ekl’s report – were intruding into day-to-day police business.

Ekl’s accusing Wsol of playing politics by “pandering to his constituents” is particularly ironic, given Ekl’s long history of political activity and contributions to various judicial candidates and DuPage County States Attorney Joe Birkett.  So we have to assume that Ekl was just feigning indignation at the possibility that Wsol may have been acting in a political way.

Memo to Ekl: Politics is the only reason you were even hired.  The audit itself was just a political tool for Frimark to push former Police Chief Jeff Caudill out the door and quiet the complaints about the police department, and your lowball bid was the political excuse Frimark and the Alderpuppets needed to avoid hiring the likes of former Ass’t U.S. Attorneys Dean Polales or John Kocoras to perform a far more thorough (and a commensurately more expensive) investigation.

So please check your self-righteousness at the door when you show up at City Hall at 6:30 tonight for Round 2 of your questioning by the City Council, Mr. Ekl.  And consider actually answering the questions you’re asked rather than continuing to dodge, duck and stonewall – especially that question about which elected officials kept sticking their noses into police business. (We’re guessing it was Frimark and Allegretti, but we’re going to wait to see the official Vegas line before we actually put down any serious money).

The fact that Ekl can identify Caudill and several current and former police officers by name but then try to cover up the identities of elected officials whose conduct Ekl criticizes seems both inconsistent and downright unfair.

As for all you ordinary citizens out there who might be wondering why the City is spending more than $75,000 of our tax dollars for a report that some police officers and citizens are already suggesting is a “whitewash,” show up at City Hall tonight and see if you can find out.  You might also see Alderpuppet Allegretti do his “Chicken Little” the-sky-is-falling routine about all the lawsuits that will be filed against the City as a result of the report.  Of course, Allegretti voted against publishing the report to our citizens in the first place, so at least he’s consistent in his desire to keep us in the dark.

But as we await tonight’s festivities, we find it more than a little disturbing to see that the Culture of Secrecy appears to be expanding beyond our public officials’ concealing information from us to now include the City’s outside legal counsel’s concealing information from our public officials.

That is definitely not transparent or accountable city government.

Update (9/25/08):

Mr. Ekl’s answer to most questions boiled down to: “It’s in the report. And if it’s not in the report, that’s because I didn’t consider it important enough or provable enough to put it in the report. And if it wasn’t important enough or provable enough to be put into the report, there’s no reason to talk about it now.”  S-T-O-N-E-W-A-L-L.

Even though the entire report is about former Chief Jeff Caudill and how the department was run on his watch, Ekl admitted that he interviewed Caudill for only 2 hours.  That leaves us wondering just how interested Ekl really was in getting Caudill’s side of the whole story. And Ekl claimed morale is better since Caudill left, although he was unable to cite even one concrete reason for why that was.

Ekl’s excuse for not naming the elected officials who were meddling in police business was that “it serves no purpose”; and he distinguished away his naming of cops and Jayne Reardon because their situations were already “public knowledge.”

Ald. Bach went on record as supporting a new police station and being against the zero tolerance youth alcohol policy because it’s “not working” – which suggests at least the possibility that he may have been one of those “meddling” elected officials who were sending mixed signals to the police department about how the laws should be enforced.  Ekl encouraged the aldermen to contact the City Manager if they have police-related issues in the future. 

Ald. Ryan proposed the formation of a “blue ribbon” panel to monitor police dept. performance over a 2-year period, once a new police chief gets hired. We wonder, if such a panel is formed, whether the appointees to it will have to publicly establish their “blue ribbon” credentials?

Mayor Frimark called it an “excellent” report, which was no surprise considering how well it did his dirty work for him.

And Ald. Allegretti said nothing silly because he (along with Ald. Carey) was absent.