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Reposted from Hyde Park Johnny by Hyde Park Johnny

BBB signature Employee Sworn Residency Statement_1

In October 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to hire Barbara Byrd-Bennett as the school system's "Chief Executive Officer" following the dumping of Jean-Claude Brizard. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the Board Report making Byrd Bennett the highest-paid CEO in CPS history, at an annual salary of a quarter million dollars. Additional "performance bonuses" since then are not presently on the public record. But many other things are, and one of them shows that Byrd Bennett lied when she signed one of the routine forms that all new employees of CPS have to fill out: the "Residency" affidavit.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett falsified hiring documents in 2012 stating that her primary residence is in Chicago, while at the same time she was swearing in Ohio, in order to get a tax break, that her primary residence is in Solon, Ohio.

In documents obtained by Substance News, the signed "Employee Sworn Residency Statement", Byrd Bennett, on November 11, 2012, acknowledged and represented as fact that her primary residence was 233 East Wacker Drive, #2911, Chicago, Illinois 60601.

BBB Employee Sworn Residency Statement_1

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey speaking at FreePac, hosted by FreedomWorks, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Il Ducey
One thing Arizonans have learned in the few months that Gov. Doug Ducey has been in office is that the Koch-fueled pinhead does not like people questioning his decisions.

When educators and families protested the governor's draconian cuts to schools, Ducey and his dark-money backers brought the hammer down on officials who disagreed with him. In Mesa, they used a robocall campaign to smear Superintendent Dr. Michael Cowan, who had sent parents in his district an email describing the terrible consequences of Ducey's policies. When more than 230 superintendents signed a joint letter to legislators asking them to reject the governor's appalling education budget, he and the GOP tried to ram through a bill that would make their criticism illegal, which happily did not pass.

Bottom line: don't speak out, don't criticize, even if you're upholding the law by doing so. That was the predicament in which former acting director of Arizona's Weights and Measures Shawn Marquez found himself earlier this year. Marquez had worked for the department for 28 years and was two years short of retirement, but now he's out of a job because he enforced a law that Gov. Ducey and his business lackeys did not like.

Ducey is all for "the rule of law" when it's a law he supports. For instance, Bisbee was the first town in Arizona to enact a ban on plastic bags, like hundreds of other communities across the country, and Tempe and Flagstaff were considering a similar ordinance. But Ducey and his chamber of commerce chums did not like the idea that Arizona's blue communities might set stricter environmental standards, so he signed legislation that prohibits all municipalities in the state from banning plastic bags and other disposable packaging. If towns ignore the new state law, Gov. Ducey has said he'll prosecute because, you know, it's the law.

Other laws he's okay with ignoring, especially if doing so benefits the governor's business cronies. Until recently, Arizona law said that ride-sharing companies like Uber must license their drivers with the state, similar to taxis. So when the Super Bowl was here this year, and acting director Marquez suspected that Uber and Lyft were not complying with the state statute during the busy tourist season, he planned a sting operation to snare unlawful drivers.

When Gov. Ducey heard of the plan he fired Marquez, which we first learned of yesterday when the governor bragged about sacking the longtime employee at the RNC meeting in Scottsdale:

Ducey, a big supporter of the popular ride-sharing companies, told the audience that plan didn't sit well with him. "I'm happy to tell you that director is now in the private sector," Ducey said to the applause of a packed ballroom.
When reporters asked Gov. Ducey if he had fired the agency head for simply enforcing a law that was on the books at the time, he blathered some BS about government regulations killing innovation, but he did not answer the question, only stating, "We’re not looking to sting or surprise companies." Since the Super Bowl in February, Ducey has rolled back almost all regulations for ride-sharing firms, pushing through legislation that eliminates licensing and insurance requirements, business-friendly measures that even Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed.

So Ducey doesn't want to "surprise" companies with checkups. I guess now he'll eliminate all inspections so government agents don't "surprise" filthy restaurants, contaminated meat packers or manufacturers selling toxic products. In other words, it's still okay to surprise consumers. Because Doug Ducey said so, the law be damned.

Discuss
Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.com.

Republicans have successfully branded themselves as the party that worships "local governmental control". They want federal regulations repealed and the power given to the states on all sorts of things from the environment to the Affordable Care Act. But, when it comes to actual local control, where local municipalities set their own rules, the whole idea of "local governmental control" is simply a quaint notion to be dispensed with posthaste to maintain their own control over our state.

Republicans in Michigan are sick and tired of local governments having the audacity to do things like pass local minimum wage requirements or giving the LGBTQ community actual civil rights protections. That's why, on January 22nd, Republican Earl Poleski introduced H.B. 4052 which he calls the "Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act".

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Reposted from Hyde Park Johnny by Hyde Park Johnny
bizarro
Mayor Rahm Emanuel names Barbara Byrd-Bennett as the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools at a news conference in October 2012.

In a page out of "Bizarro World", where everything is opposite of what it seems, Substance News research into Chicago Public Schools vendor spending has uncovered 1.4 billion dollars of increased spending. During the recent corporate media dust up over an FBI investigation of Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett’s no-bid $20 million contract to SUPES, a company she has direct ties to, it became apparent that there needed to be a history check on CPS spending and public statements of the need for austerity.

suntimes headlines 04152015(2)

In light of the assertions that the Board of Education of Chicago is claiming a billion dollar (plus) "deficit" and the newly elected reactionary Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is declaring that Chicago schools should declare "bankruptcy", it was curious to see how Chicago schools was actually spending money on outside vendors. Vendors means everything extra outside of paying staff to teach kids. And a closer look at the vendor situation shows that during the past four years, spending on vendors has exploded, while spending on teachers and other staff has actually gone down!

bizarro-world

With the long history of corruption and prison sentences for Chicago politicians over the years there have been many laws passed to make public spending "transparent" to the taxpayers, not that it seems to be slowing down any sticky fingers or golden gooses. Or is this latest $20 million FBI corrption investigation just a slight of hand to deflect attention from the neo-liberal agenda to divert public assets to private hands?

CROSS POSTED @ http://www.substancenews.net/...

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

Michigan's Bigot-in-Chief, Attorney General Bill Schuette, has put forth some pretty remarkable excuses for his crusade to ensure that same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children together. For example, he suggested that marriage in our state is for regulating sexual relationships to make babies, news that came as a HUGE surprise to Michigan couples who cannot or choose not to have children but marry anyway.

Schuette has also argued that Michigan voters decided this over a decade ago so that's that and we don't need to consider whether or not opinions have changed or even if the ban actually violates the U.S. Constitution.

But, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court on Thursday, Schuette makes his most laughably ridiculous and Orwellian excuse yet. According to Schuette, and I am not making this up, keeping our same-sex marriage ban in place is important for preserving the dignity of the same-sex couples who are denied the right to marry.

Follow me after the orange squibbledigibbet for more.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Arizona state flag
Shut up or we'll shut you up!
Since 2008, Arizona has cut K-12 and university budgets more than just about every other state, to the point we now spend, in the public school classroom, roughly 70 percent of the national average per pupil: $7,382 in Arizona vs. $10,667 nationwide, one of the lowest rates in the country. For higher ed we're even worse, number 50 in per student spending.

Republicans like to say "education is not about the money," and that may be true to a point; but when you get down to the marrow, it is about the frickin' money, and the results here are predictable. For K-12 Arizona consistently ranks 40th or lower in nearly every performance category—graduation rates, teacher training, classroom spending, test results, and college and job preparation. The poor performance numbers ripple out into society at large, since we're not attracting high-value industries that demand an educated workforce.

In addition to reduced state funding, some K-12 schools find themselves in districts that include retirement havens, where residents historically turn out in droves to vote down budget overrides, the argument being, "I put my child through school in Michigan, why should I pay here?" Twelve of 36 school bond elections failed in November, so a district like Dysart, which has the misfortune of being near Sun City, had to lay off 143 teachers. Mind-boggingly, the dunderheads who voted against the override because they have no children here don't see why it benefits them to have good schools in the community—and don't get the meaning of "citizen."

For public education, the one-two punch of less state funding and failed budget overrides, in the face of increasing student populations, means districts are barely hanging on. Combine that with the legislature's giveaways to charter schools, and the GOP's goal is all too clear: privatized education. Also, the constant and very deep cuts to higher ed, including Arizona State, the largest university in the nation, have resulted in higher tuitions and increased corporate funding—making college less affordable to all but the wealthy and giving private industry more leverage in curriculum design.

More people are speaking out, many of them educators. I mean, really, what are they supposed to say when their profession is attacked and their budgets are dismantled year after year? "Thank you sir, stick it to us again!" Are responsible university presidents and district superintendents not supposed to inform the community about the effects of the legislature's dick moves? But now any such criticism or perhaps even discussion is about to be outlawed.

Head below the fold for more on this story.

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Wed Mar 18, 2015 at 11:23 AM PDT

Bizarro Arizona: Do the opposite

by Mother Mags

Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Leaving on a jet plane, except in Arizona
Yeah, sure, so Arizona isn't the only state whose legislature has passed a boneheaded sovereignty bill declaring that we don't have to follow federal policies, whether it's the EPA, DOJ or some other jackbooted agency issuing the regulations. But we are turning it into an art. A sick one. Almost daily.

Just yesterday, committees in both chambers passed HB 2368, which "prohibits the state from funding executive orders issued by the President of the United States and policy directives from the U.S. Department of Justice." Keep your nose out of Sheriff Arpaio's discriminatory practices, Eric Holder! Let the deportations continue, Barack Obama!

Right on the heels of that unconstitutional POS comes HB 2643, which says Arizona and all of its political divisions are prohibited (their word) from putting a dime into administering the Affordable Care Act. Yeah, they're going there. First the executive and legislative branches whack away at health services and housing programs for the poor and middle class; then they plunder, waaay more than anyone expected, public education—while "adjusting" tax rates to benefit the wealthy and corporations. Hundreds protested those dick moves at the Capitol—as have, surprisingly, many MSM editorials, which often point out that Gov. Ducey and his legislative cronies did not campaign on any of this BS.

Now the coalition of crazy wants to take away health care from more than 200,000 Arizonans who signed up for ACA in 2015, a 70 percent increase over the first year. The Republicans' mean-spirited measure would also affect hundreds of thousands of people on Medicaid, not to mention vaccination programs and much more, say health officials.  

Never mind the plea from Maricopa County Public Health Director Bob England, who told the committee that [HB 2643] could cost us millions upon millions of dollars in federal funding used to prevent disease and promote public health.
You want clean air? Good schools? Sane immigration policy? Affordable health care? Equal treatment under the law? Too bad, so does the federal government, and if they want it, we don't! Regardless of the cost—in lives or dollars. QED.

Worse and worser, over the bump.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
George Orwell would be proud: Gov. Ducey cuts school budgets and calls it an increase
It's no secret that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sucked up to the Koch boys and took piles of their cash, along with other outside dark money. He's following the playbook scripted by Wisconsin's Scott Walker, which will finish the job Jan Brewer started: less money for public schools and higher education, huge cuts in social programs, increasing attacks on teachers and other public sector employees, giveaways to the one percenters and corporations, muggings of our majestic public lands, assaults on voting rights, more abortion and LGBT restrictions, and more and more crappy minimum-wage jobs (a wage, of course, they will fight not to increase).  

Brewer left the state with a $520 million deficit this year, it's projected to be more than $1 billion next year, and Ducey's solution is: More tax "adjustments" that benefit the rich and corporations. Because it worked so well the last time.

Natch, another Ducey solution is more cuts to public schools and higher ed, at the same time he increases the private prison budget. Our universities have been sliced and diced more than any other state in the nation over the last eight years, and Ducey is continuing the assault, with another $75 million cut this year, representing 10 percent of the universities' revenue.  

More of the ugly over the bump.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

This past week, the City Council of Allen Park voted to fire their City Administrator Karen Folks. Why? Because she has essentially made herself the dictator of the city that recently saw their Emergency Manager leave because their financial emergency was declared over.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

Back in November, I wrote about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie considering the possibility of appointing an Emergency Manager for Atlantic City which has faced a critical financial emergency due to the near collapse of its gaming industry. This morning Gov. Christie announced that he will appoint an Emergency Manager. Former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is said to have been consulting with with Gov. Christie's administration but rumors that he will be the Atlantic City Emergency Manager were  inaccurate. Instead, Christie has appointed New York lawyer Kevin Lavin.

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Reposted from Hyde Park Johnny by Hyde Park Johnny

FULL TEXT OF LAWSUIT AGAINST CHICAGO 12th Ward ALDERMAN GEORGE CARDENAS WHO IS SUPPORTED BY RAHM EMANUEL. AND RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION FEBRUARY 2015.

cardenas corrupt

Since we are now in full swing of the February 24, 2015 Chicago municipal elections is it good to remind ourselves who are the people that are trying to get elected in our city. This post is a refresher on 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas supported by Rahm Emanuel, who is running for re-election against Pete DeMay a Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Federation of Labor endorsed candidate. The full text of the case against Cardenas makes for good reading and an insight into the corrupt ward politics in Chicago.

interesting reading
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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
    COUNTY DEPARTMENT- LAW DIVISION

Case No. 2014-L-006569

MARIA G. CHAVEZ,
Plaintiff,

V.

CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation and GEORGE A. CARDENAS, individually and in his capacity as alderman of the 12th
Ward of the City of Chicago,
Defendants.

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff, Maria G. Chavez, by and through her attorneys, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.C., and for her complaint against the City of Chicago, a municipal corporation, and George A. Cardenas, individually and in his capacity as alderman of the 12th Ward of the City of Chicago, states as follows:

PARTIES

1.     Plaintiff, Maria G. Chavez     ("Maria") is a resident of Cook County, Illinois residing within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago.

2.     Defendant, City of Chicago, is an Illinois municipal corporation, organized pursuant to Illinois law, with its principal place of business at 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois. The City of Chicago is in the business of providing municipal services such as police, fire, paramedic services and other public services to the citizens living within the fifty (50) aldermanic wards of the City of Chicago.

3.     Defendant, George A. Cardenas ("Cardenas"), is an Illinois resident who, at all times relevant to the allegations of this Complaint, was an employee and agent of the City of Chicago. At all times relevant to the allegations of this Complaint, Cardenas served as the alderman of the 12th Ward of the City of Chicago.

JURSIDICITION AND VENUE

4.     This Court has jurisdiction over the City of Chicago, as it is an Illinois municipal corporation with its principal place of business being located in the State of Illinois and over Maria and Cardenas as they are residents of the State of Illinois.

5.     Venue is proper in Cook County, Illinois as the City of Chicago's principal place of business is in Cook County, Illinois and Cardenas resides in Cook County, Illinois and a substantial portion of the cause of action arose in Cook County, Illinois.

ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL COUNTS

6.    On or about April 3, 2001, Maria started her employment with, the City of Chicago    — Department of Streets and Sanitation working as a timekeeper supervisor and administrative assistant. In 2002, Maria was laid off from the City of Chicago due to budgetary cut backs.

7.    On or about May 5, 2003, Maria was appointed by Cardenas to the position of Staff Assistant of the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

8.     From May 5, 2003 until May 2, 2014, Maria was an employee of the City of Chicago working in the 12th Ward's Public Service Office. From May 5, 2003 until May 2, 2014, Maria completed and excelled in the tasks assigned to her.

9.     As a result of her performance, Maria held and was promoted into job positions with more responsibility and received pay increases associated with those job positions, including administrative assistant, Senior Community Liaison and Manager of Community Relations and Program Development.

10.    From approximately November 2012 until May 2, 2014, Maria served as the 12th
Ward Manager of Community Relations and Program Development working with local community organizations, non-profits and schools.   In particular, Mana s dufies related to Program Development including the planning and execution of 12th Ward Events.

11.     During her employment with the City of Chicago at the 12th Ward Public Service Office, Maria organized, publicized and managed the following events:
a. Mother of the Year Event;

b. City Sticker Sale;

c. Environmental Awareness Fair;

d.  Weatherization Events;

e. Career Fair (in conjunction with the National Latino Educational Institute);

f. Annual Bike the Boulevard Event;

g. Annual Back to School Event;

h. Annual Toys for Kids Event;

i.  Movies at the Park;

j.  Senior and Community Health Fair;

k.  Little Village Health Fair;

l.  Thanksgiving Turkey Give Away;

m. Thanksgiving Senior Brunch; and,

n. Other hosting events.

12.     Throughout her employment with the City of Chicago at the 12th Ward Public Service Office, Maria received multiple positive employment reviews as well as letters of appreciation from local citizens, non-profit organizations and businesses for her efforts for the citizens of the 12th Ward.

13.   During the course of the February 2011 Municipal General Election, in which
citizens of the City of Chicago elect municipal officers including Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer and Alderman, the City of Chicago's Office of the Legislative Inspector General received complaints against Cardenas related to allegations that Cardenas was using city property, namely the 12th Ward Public Service Office, and city employees, namely the 12th Ward Public Service Office's employees, to gather registered voters' signatures and notarize petition sheets seeking the nomination of Cardenas as 12th Ward Alderman.

14.     The City's Legislative Inspector General's Office interviewed most but not all of the 12th Ward Public Service Office's employees.  News of the investigation became publically known in mid-2013 through news and radio media reports.

15.     In late 2013, Markese stated that Cardenas was displeased with the public disclosure of the City's Legislative Inspector General's investigation and that a number of 12th Ward Public Service Office employees that had provided information to the City's Office of Legislative Inspector General related to the political activity allegations and investigation related to his 2012 Aldermanic reelection.

16.     Markese, on behalf of Cardenas, advised all of the 12th Ward Public Service Office employees that all information related to Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the office as well as persons that may call the office are sensitive and confidential and should never be disclosed to anyone.

17.    In January    2014, Anabell Abarca, Cardenas' Chief of Staff ("Abarca"), and Markese, on behalf of Cardenas distributed the Employee Guidelines for the Office of Alderman George  A.  Cardenas.  ("Employee  Guidelines")  The  Employee  Guidelines  contained a
Confidentiality Provision, which prohibited the 12th Ward Public Service Office employees from disclosing sensitive and confidential information to anyone outside the office.

18.     Cardenas'  Employee  Guidelines  indicated  that  examples  of sensitive  or confidential information included such things as "matters involving the personal or professional lives of Office employees, internal legislative or political strategy     internal operations of the office." (Exhibit A)

19.    In January    2014, Cardenas required each employee to execute an Acknowledgement of Receipt and Review of Employee Guidelines. ("Acknowledgement")(Exhibit B)

20.   The Acknowledgment stated that each employee was at-will serving at the pleasure of Cardenas. The Acknowledgment also stated "[a]ll internal matters including conversations, memoranda, information and material of any description are strictly confidential." (See Exhibit B)

21.    On January 7, 2014, Cardenas required Maria to sign the Acknowledgment.

22.    On the evening of May 1, 2014, two (2) male Special Agents of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") arrived at Maria's home. The FBI Agents identified themselves as FBI Agents by showing Maria's husband, Alejandro Chavez ("Alejandro"), their badges and government issued identification and by providing him with their business cards. The FBI Agents asked to speak with Maria, however, Maria was not home at the time. Alejandro let the FBI Agents into the house and called Maria to tell her to come home because the FBI Agents wanted to speak with her.

23.    On May 1, 2014, around 7:30 p.m. while Maria was driving home to meet with the FBI Agents, Maria called Rocky Markese ("Markese"), the 12th Ward's Streets & Sanitation Superintendent.    Maria called Markese Twice without him answering his telephone.

24.    When Maria arrived home, the FBI Agents identified themselves by showing
Maria their badges and government issued identification and then interviewed and questioned her for over two (2) hours regarding the activities and communications of Cardenas in and out of the 12th Ward's Public Service Office related to their investigation of Cardenas' for violations of the law including illegal hiring practices and other illegal operations of the 12th Ward Public Service Office. Maria provided the FBI Agents with all of the information she possessed.

25.     On May 1, 2014, around 9:41 p.m. after the FBI Agents had left her home, Maria called Markese again.   Markese answered his telephone.   During this conversation, Maria advised Markese of the unannounced visit to her home of the FBI Agents, the nature of the questioning and that the visit caused her much concern and emotional distress.

26.     Markese asked Maria for details on what questions she was asked by the FBI Agents and the information that she provided. Markese told her "it is okay, it is too late now." Markese also advised Maria that he would tell Cardenas about it in the morning and that Maria, Markese, and Cardenas would discuss the issue further in the morning.

27.     On May 2, 2014 at approximately 7:48 a.m., Maria called Markese on her way to the office. Markese advised Maria that he would meet with her about the visit of the FBI Agents as soon as she arrived.

28.     Subsequently, at approximately 8:02 a.m. and 8:03 a.m., Maria attempted to call Cardenas on his cellular telephone. Cardenas did not answer.

29.    On May 2, 2014 at approximately 8:04 a.m. Maria sent a text message to
Cardenas stating "Please call me it is very important!!!! I need to talk to you in person. Please stop by the office. It is very important!!!!"

30.     Maria arrived to the 12th Ward Public Service Office for work at approximately 8:05 a.m. and met with Markese shortly thereafter. Maria explained in detail the questions that she was asked by the FBI Agents and the answers that she provided. Maria also showed the FBI Agents' business cards to Markese who questioned how Maria knew that the gentlemen who came to her house were FBI Agents. Markese stated that they would discuss the matter later that day with Cardenas at the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

31.     On May 2, 2014 at approximately 8:32 a.m. Cardenas responded to Maria's text message from 8:04 a.m. of that morning and the following text message exchange took place:

Cardenas: "Not around today. See Anabel."

Maria: "Sony I can't it regarding the FBI. It is directly with you."

Cardenas: "Our attorney is James Nally. If it's legal then he takes care of it." Maria: "It is okay. You don't understand."

32.     Shortly thereafter, Anabell Abarca ("Abarca"), Cardenas' Chief of Staff, arrived at the 12th Ward Public Service Office. Abarca called Maria into her office and advised Maria that she could go home if she was not feeling well. Maria was confused by this statement and told Abarca that she felt fine and needed to complete planning for an event the next week but that she might leave after she finished her work because the unannounced visit to her home by the FBI Agents prevented her from sleeping the previous night. Maria told Abarca that she did not want to get Abarca involved and that the FBI Agents' visit to her home was all about Cardenas. She also told Abarca that she was not going to lie to the FBI Agents and that she believed that they were going to come back to question her again.

33.     After her meeting with Abarca, Maria returned to her desk and began her work for the day. Markese went into Abarca's office and they met with each other for approximately twenty (20) minutes behind closed doors.

34.     Before noon, Abarca approached Maria at her desk and again told Maria she could go home. When Maria asked Abarca what she meant by that, Abarca said "Nevermind," and went back into her office.

35.    At approximately 12:45 p.m., Cardenas arrived at the    12th Ward Pubic Service Office. Cardenas went into Abarca's office while Markese stood outside of the doorway of the office.

36.     At approximately 1:00 p.m., Abarca called Maria into the office with her and Cardenas. When Maria entered the office Cardenas was in the process of signing a letter. He then gave the letter, which was inaccurately dated May 1, 2014, to Maria, pointed his finger at her face and said, "don't say anything, wait until [Abarca] explains it to you." He then said he had to leave and left the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

37.    Maria read the letter which advised her that she was terminated. When Maria asked Abarca for an explanation, Abarca said that Cardenas had the right not to give Maria a reason for the termination and that Abarca was not allowed to disclose to Maria the reasons for her termination. Abarca advised Maria to gather her personal belongings and to leave the office.

38.    Maria exited the 12th Ward Public Service Office at approximately 1:30 p.m.

39.    At all times relevant to this Complaint, Illinois had a strong public policy favoring the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses. The cooperation of citizens possessing knowledge of crimes in the investigation and prosecution thereof by law enforcement officials is essential to effective implementation of that policy. Illinois public policy favors citizen crimefighters and persons acting in good faith who-have probable cause-to believe that crimes have been committed should not be deterred from providing information to law enforcement officials by the fear of discharge from their employment.

COUNT I
VIOLATION OF THE ILLINOIS WHISTLEBLOWER ACT, 740 ILCS 174/1 et seq.
V. CITY OF CHICAGO AND CARDENAS

40.    Plaintiff, Maria G. Chavez, reasserts and realleges paragraphs 1 through    39, inclusive, of this Complaint as and for paragraph 40 of Count I of her Complaint as if fully stated herein.

41.     Under Sections 15 and 20 of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 ILCS     174/1 et seq., an employer, or persons acting within the scope of their authority, may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe there was a violation of a federal or state law, rule or regulation; and an employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in an activity which violates state or federal laws, rules or regulations.

42.     At  all  times  relevant  herein,  the  City  of  Chicago  and  Cardenas  were "employer[s]" under Section 5 of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 ILCS 174/5.

43.     At all times relevant herein, Maria was an "employee" of the City of Chicago under Section 5 of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 ILCS 174/5.

44.    Section 15 (b) of the Illinois Whistleblower Act,    740 ILCS    174/15(b), prohibits retaliation against an employee "for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule or regulation."

45.    Maria's communications with the FBI Agents on May 1,    2014 regarding her knowledge of Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the 12th Ward Public Service Office concerned violations of law such as illegal hiring practices and other illegal operations within the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

46.     Illinois has a strong public policy favoring the exposure of crime and the cooperation of citizens possessing knowledge thereof in the investigation and prosecution of those crimes by law enforcement officials.

47.     Cardenas  does  not have  a  reasonable  and  legal  cause  to  forbid Maria's communications regarding the aforementioned speech to the FBI Agents.

48.     Maria advised Abarca and Markese that she had spoken to the FBI Agents on May 1, 2014. Upon information and belief, Abarca and Markese relayed that information to Cardenas.

49.    Maria did speak to the FBI Agents and provided them with the knowledge that she possessed related to Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

50.     At the time that Maria met with the FBI Agents, she had a reasonable belief that the information she was providing was to assist the FBI in investigating and prosecuting Cardenas for violations of the law including illegal hiring practices and other illegal operations within the 12th Ward Public Service Office.

51.    Maria was retaliated against by the City of Chicago and Cardenas through the
termination of her employment for communicating with the FBI Agents regarding Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the 12  Ward Public Service Office.

52.     Maria's discussion and statements to the FBI Agents regarding Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the 12th. Ward Public Service Office is protected speech and activity under Illinois public policy and the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

53.     As a direct and proximate result of the City of Chicago and Cardenas' wrongful actions, Maria has sustained damages through the loss of her employment, including the wages, health care, life insurance and retirement benefits afforded to her as an employee of the City of Chicago, and attorney's fees and litigation costs, which have a value in excess of $50,000.

54.     Section 30 of the  Illinois Whistleblower Act allows for the recovery of reinstatement, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the award of back pay, reinstatement of all benefits, payment of attorney's fees and costs, and punitive damages to prevent further violations of the Illinois Whistleblower Act by the City of Chicago and Cardenas, as its agent and employee. 740 ILCS 174/30.

WHEREFORE, Maria G. Chavez, respectfully requests this Honorable Court for the entry of an order reinstating her as an employee of the City of Chicago with the same seniority status and benefits she would have had but for the Defendants' violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, enter judgment against the City of Chicago and George A. Cardenas for compensatory damages, back pay, with interest, and front pay, attorney's fees and litigation costs, which damages exceed $50,000 and an award of punitive damages in excess of $50,000 against Defendant, George A. Cardenas, to deter him from violating the Illinois Whistleblower Act in the future and any further relief that the Court deems proper and just.

COUNT II
VIOLATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ETHICS ORDINANCE
2-156-019 V. THE CITY OF CHICAGO AND CARDENAS

55.    Plaintiff, Maria G. Chavez, reasserts and realleges paragraphs 1 through    39, inclusive, of this Complaint as and for paragraph 55 of Count II of her Complaint.

56.    At all times relevant to the allegations of this Complaint, there was in full force and effect the City of Chicago, Governmental Ethics Ordinance, Chapter 2-156 of the Municipal Code of Chicago ("Chicago Ethics Ordinance"). CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156 (2013).

57.    At all times relevant herein, Maria was an "employee" as defined by Section 2-156-010(j) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance. CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156, Art. II, Par.1, § 010(j) (2013).

58.    At all times relevant herein, the FBI was a "public body" as defined by Section 2-156-019(a)(1) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance. CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156, Art. II, Par.1, § 019(a)(1) (2013).

59.    Section 2-156-019(b) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance provides that:
No person shall take any retaliatory action against an employee or any other person because the employee or the person does any of the following:

(1)     Discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy, or practice of any official, employee, or city contractor that the employee or other person reasonably believes evidences (i) an unlawful use of city funds or city funding for actions performed by or on behalf of the city, unlawful use of official authority, or other unlawful official conduct that poses a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety by any official, employee or city contractor; or (ii) any other violation of a law, rule, or regulation by any official, employee, or city contractor that relates to their work performed for, or on behalf of, the city; or

(2)     Provides  information to  or testifies  before  any public  body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any official activity, policy, or practice described in subsection (b)(1). CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156, Art. II, Par. 1, § 019(b) (2013).

60.     Maria's communications and statements to the FBI Agents regarding Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the 12th Ward Public Service Office were protected activities as defined under Section 2-156-019(b) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance. CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156, Art. II, Par. 1, § 019(b) (2013).

61.     Maria advised Abarca and Markese that she had spoken to the FBI Agents on May 1, 2014. Upon information and belief, Abarca and Markese relayed that information to Cardenas.

62.     The City of Chicago's and Cardenas' termination of Maria on May 2, 2014, less than twenty-four (24) hours after she spoke to the FBI Agents, constituted retaliatory action as defined under Section 5-156-019(a)(2) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance and constitutes a violation of Section 5-156-019 of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance.

63.    Section 5-156-019(c) of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance provides as follows:

If any retaliatory action, as defined in subsection (a)(2)(i), is taken against an
employee in violation of this section, the employee shall be entitled to the
following relief, if applicable:

(1)    reinstatement of the employee to either the same position held before the
retaliatory action or to an equivalent position;

(2)    two times the amount of back pay; and

(3)    reinstatement of the full fringe benefits and seniority rights.

CHICAGO, ILL.. MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Ch. 2-156, Art. II, Par. 1, § 019(c) (2013).

64.     As a direct and proximate result of the City of Chicago's and Cardenas' termination of Maria's employment on May 2, 2014, she has suffered damages through the loss of her employment, the wages, health care, life insurance, retirement and seniority benefits afforded to her as an employee of the City of Chicago, which have a value in excess of $50,000 as described in Section 5-156-019(c).

WHEREFORE;Maria G. Chavez, respectfully requests—this Honorable Court for the entry of an order reinstating her as an employee of the City of Chicago with the same seniority status and fringe benefits she would have had but for the Defendants' violation of the Chicago Ethics Ordinance, enter judgment against the City of Chicago and George A. Cardenas for compensatory damages, to include two times that amount of her back pay, and any further relief that the Court deems proper and just.

COUNT III
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE V. THE CITY OF CHICAGO

65.    Plaintiff, Maria G. Chavez, reasserts and realleges paragraphs 1 through    39, inclusive, of this Complaint as and for paragraph 65 of Count III of her Complaint.

66.    Maria was discharged on May 2, 2014 by the City of Chicago.

67.    Illinois has a strong public policy favoring the exposure of crime and the cooperation of citizens possessing knowledge thereof in the investigation and prosecution of those crimes by law enforcement officials.

68.    Maria's communications with the FBI Agents on May 1, 2014 regarding her knowledge of Cardenas' activities and communications in and out of the    12th Ward Public Service Office concerned criminal activity such as the use of public funds and the honesty or corruption of public officials.

69.    Maria advised Abarca and Markese that she had spoken to the FBI Agents on May 1, 2014. Upon information and belief, Abarca and Markese relayed that information to Cardenas.

70.    Maria was terminated in retaliation for speaking to the FBI Agents and for exercising her rights to speak to law enforcement regarding an investigation of Cardenas.

71.    The City of Chicago's termination of Maria less than twenty-four (24) hours after she spoke to the FBI Agents was wrongful because it is contrary to a clearly mandated public policy of the State of Illinois.

72.     As a direct and proximate cause of the City of Chicago's wrongful termination, Maria has been damaged in that she has suffered and will continue to suffer from emotional distress, loss of reputation, and had sustained back and future compensation losses and loss of fringe benefits, including but not limited to health insurance and pension benefits, in excess of $50,000.00.

WHEREFORE, Maria G. Chavez, respectfully requests this Honorable Court for the entry of an order awarding her compensatory damages in excess of $50,000.00, plus costs of this action against the City of Chicago and for any other relief this Court deems appropriate.

Respectfully submitted,
MARIA G. CHAVEZ
By:
One of her attorneys

Steven M. Laduzinsky (sladuzinsky@laduzinsky.com)
Tracy L. Brdar (tbrdar@laduzinsky.com)
Laduzinsky & Associates, P.C.
216 S. Jefferson Street, Suite 301
Chicago, Illinois 60601
(312) 424-0700
Atty. No.: 40727

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

Incoming tea party extremists Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser have already pledged that the first piece of legislation they introduce will be a personhood amendment that would ban abortion in Michigan. The fact that this is unconstitutional and has been tossed out in other states already does not deter the two from their crusade. And I use the word "crusade" very deliberately; Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat are very much on a religious crusade. With the release of their "Contract for Liberty" this week (read it HERE or HERE), the two of them have made it very clear that their vision for Michigan's government is one ruled by their own personal flavor of Christianity.

Period.

As you read through the Courser and Gamrat's "Contract", it quickly becomes very clear that it is actually not a contract at all. Rather, it is a religious manifesto. The word "God" appears twelve times. Some version of "divine" appears nine times. The word "worship" occurs six times. In contrast, the word "democracy" occurs exactly zero times.

The overarching theme in their Manifesto can be found in the section titled "Hearts Set Aflame for Liberty...":

As God gives us the freedom to choose salvation through Christ or reject Him, our own government should allow us the self-determination of personal success or failure. God’s Providence, individual liberty, and personal responsibility make up America’s foundation, prepared and poured years ago. The national treasures that symbolize our Constitutional Republic, our Capitol and White House and all the other precious symbols, were crafted out of rock and metal but bound together by the blood, sweat, and tears of the sacrificial giving of our patriot leaders. All of these ideas flow from Divine inspiration of hearts set aflame for liberty by the moving of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Courser and Gamrat make it clear that they believe the men ("Founders") who wrote our Constitution and formed our republic were "divinely inspired" men who "took their very inspiration from the Divine Inerrant Word of God". This, in their mind, justifies running our state government according to their personal interpretations - or at least the interpretations of their personal Christian sects - of the Bible, a book written over two millennia ago, nine hundred years before the concept of zero as a number was invented.
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