CHICAGO (March 14, 2018) – Today, Project Six released a new investigation that shows possible misconduct and waste involving a city vendor and the termination of a politically connected, senior-level city employee in the Chicago City Clerk’s Office. However, the City Clerk’s Office has refused to give any details or answer any questions surrounding the termination or any potential misconduct associated with major city vendor contracts.
The senior-level employee, Jonathan Friend, served as senior advisor in City Clerk Anna Valencia’s office before he was terminated in February 2017. However, after Friend’s network access to city vendors was cut off, he was allowed to stay on the job for two weeks–while being paid by the city–and “resign.”
While at the clerk’s office, Friend was in charge of managing city contracts with major contracting companies, including Clarity Partners. Emails obtained through FOIA by Project Six show possible misconduct surrounding Friend’s managing of Clarity’s contract with the city, including giving internal city work product to Clarity and inflated billing figures from Clarity.
Friend is married to Becky Carroll, a powerful consultant and CEO of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political PAC, Chicago Forward PAC. The Mayor’s Office has denied any involvement by the mayor or Mayor’s Office in Friend’s termination.
The refusal by the clerk’s office to answer any questions surrounding this termination makes it impossible to determine if it was a termination of a senior-level employee that didn’t follow protocol and potentially wasted taxpayer dollars, or a favor for a politically connected employee who was terminated for cause.
“Taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent and if their government is operating properly,” said Faisal Khan, CEO of Project Six. “Taxpayers also have a right to know whether any city official or employee, regardless of political connections and clout, has violated the public trust in any manner. If the clerk’s office properly terminated a city employee for possible misconduct, then they should be applauded for their action. But if that employee was allowed to stay on the job—with pay—for two weeks, then taxpayers deserve to know why. City Hall refusing to be transparent or give any information about possible misconduct or tax dollar waste is unacceptable. Asking our governments for insight into their operations is not accusing them of corruption, but without transparency and answers to reasonable inquiries, it is impossible to tell the difference.”
The full investigation, with FOIA’d records and documents, is available online here
Project Six is a nonpartisan group dedicated to investigating and ending government corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Working with residents, Project Six hopes to make Illinois’ elected officials work for taxpayers and voters, not for the politically connected or corrupt. Anyone interested in learning more about Project Six or submitting a tip to Project Six investigators should call (888) 366-2569 or visit thesecretsix.com.