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Expensive tastes

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008

* Mick Dumke has compiled an astonishing list of Chicago judgement and settlement payouts just since the beginning of this year

$15 million (with another $35 million coming from insurers) to settle suits from the 2003 fire in the Cook County Administration building that left six people dead;

$12 million dispersed to victims of the Daley administration’s patronage system;

$11 million to pay off a Millennium Park contractor fired several years ago for not working fast enough;

$13 million so far to victims of abuse under former police Commander Jon Burge;

$2.7 million in January to settle various suits over police misconduct, traffic accidents, and citizens’ “animal loss.”

In case you lost count, that’s $53.7 million just this year. The total judgments and settlements for all of last year was $47 million. In 2006, the total was $49 million. And in 2005 it was $34 million.

Chicago is on a roll, baby, and nothing changes

Sneed has learned Ald. Ed Burke plans to introduce a City Council ordinance demanding the mandatory sterilization of any dog or cat over 6 months old living in Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Garp - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    The funniest thing about Daley’s patronage payouts is listening to the hacks lament and gripe about how much money the peasants recieved from the federal monitor. Really, hang out in a ward office for a while. They want their cut.


  2. - Alan McNish - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 10:42 am:

    The funny thing about the Chicago City Council is, they don’t address the big problems. Mandatory sterilization of pets?

    How about fixing the streets? They’re a mess!


  3. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    The real issue here is not the payouts, but the fact that most seemed reasonable due to the Cook County system. When you have judges and juries doing what they are doing, facts and real liability do not matter.
    The settlements are more a reflection on the court system than on the way the city is run.


  4. - Greg - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    Skeeter’s right. What’s less sad than the ytd settlement total is what the ytd jury verdict total might look like. Almost every public company in America, for example, has paid a group of lawyers +/- $5M just to settle investor suits that could get ugly in front of a jury. So large settlements themselves don’t necessarily raise red flags.

    The problem with government settlements, however, is the lack of incentives to minimize the costs of all this, since it’s basically costing “management” nothing.


  5. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Greg,
    The “settlement” cost the chief of the CFD his job (in Daley style, it took a while, but he got it done).
    As somebody with some familiarity with that case, I can say that the incompetence of the CFD was shocking. They appeared not to know the basics of fighting high rise fires.
    Daley kept his job though!


  6. - Greg - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of elected management, but good to know that managers are being replaced.


  7. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:12 am:

    It would have show great creativity and a smarter approach to problem solving if instead of giving $12 million to job hunting ‘victims’, they got city jobs neutering those dogs and cats.


  8. - Enemy of the State - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    The city that works.


  9. - Ashamed to be a lawyer - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:35 am:

    A friend of mine worked for the CTA about 5 years ago. They budgeted around $40 million a year back then for the small lawsuit payouts. The ones where some jerk climbs into a wrecked bus and feigns injury.
    No wonder the CTA is constantly in financial trouble dispite increased ridership.
    We deserve a first class public transit system and more subways and elevated trains.

    Can you imagine how clean the existing trains and tunnels could be if we didn’t have the parasitic trial lawyers encouraging the deadbeats and “kicking back” to the County and General Assembly?


  10. - gray wolf - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    perhaps people should be sterilized first


  11. - Pat collins - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:57 am:

    Wasn’t cracking down on lawsuits of the things that Rudy G brought to New york?

    He actually got out of lots of consent decrees, and fought the trivial lawsuits, and so reduced total costs.

    Of course, he was an R. :)


  12. - Garp - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 12:28 pm:

    CA,

    Now your talkin’.


  13. - Levois - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 2:41 pm:

    Burke wanted to discuss the idea of banning transfats and a congestion tax maybe the pet sterilization will fail as well.


  14. - Fox Mulder - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 6:11 pm:

    Well, this must explain why Arne Duncan refiled his nuisance suit against the State (Alexi and Hynes) whining for more money for the Chicago teachers pension fund. The last suit was blown out of the water a few years back. Can’t have more cash for pensions or kids if it’s all going out the front door of the courthouse.


  15. - chiatty - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 8:54 am:

    Ashamed to be a lawyer:

    Your friend’s story is as bogus as the phony claims that it references. The CTA doesn’t pay out millions in sore neck claims for people who climb into a bus and say they’re hurt. That’s more b.s. from the Lawsuit Abuse idiots at the Illinois Civil Justice League.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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