Chicago council's watchdog turns over files to FBI

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago is not ready for reform, so says the outgoing watchdog for Chicago’s City Council, who revealed on his last day on the job that the FBI has seized his computers and files, containing information about ongoing investigations into several aldermen.

FOX 32's Dane Placko reports it could make for some nervous people at City Hall.

"You're looking at an ethics office being closed here in Chicago. Something we never envisioned would actually happen," said Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan.

In Khan's office, the wall is blank, the shelves are empty and moving boxes are packed. Monday was the last day for the Legislative Inspector General and his staff of seven, whom are out of business after the aldermen they investigated allowed Khan's four year term to expire without picking a replacement.

"To close this office or allow it to be closed, they are setting this city back years when it comes to ethics oversight," Khan said.

But on his way out the door, Khan dropped a bombshell on the City Council revealing that last Friday, FBI agents armed with a subpoena seized computers and files from the office that contained sensitive material about several ongoing investigations of sitting aldermen.

"I can tell you there are a number of investigations that are being referred to outside law enforcement agencies, including the US Attorney's office and the Attorney General's office and the IRS. And as far as I'm concerned they'll be continuing to conduct those investigations,” Khan said.

The City Council is supposedly putting together a blue-ribbon committee to search for Khan's replacement, but that could take weeks or even months.

Mayor Emanuel, who frequently clashed with the legislative IG, says the position will be filled.

"We are never, and I told the city council in no uncertain terms, I said on Friday we are never going back to the days without an inspector general. There will always now be an inspector general for the city council," Mayor Emanuel said.

But Khan says his successor needs a bigger budget and new rules that don't limit their ability to investigate aldermen for corruption.

"The hands were tied from day one. I don't believe this office was ever designed to succeed. I think the system was rigged from day one.” Khan said. "This city is sometimes labeled the wild west of ethics. And that's just accurate."

The FBI would not confirm or deny that it seized the IG's records. Khan says after a slow start, his office was receiving more than 120 complaints a year of ethics violations by Chicago aldermen.

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