Legal: Employee Investigations?

By:  Diane Benjamin

I’ve written before about the City spending resources to prosecute employees when arbitration reaches a different conclusion than the one the City wants.  Remember Scott Oglesby?   https://blnnews.com/2013/05/06/the-real-story-of-scott-oglesbys-firing/

Now they are doing it again.  This time it’s a fireman, Jon Caponi, who was arrested in 2016 for domestic violence.  See the newspaper story here:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/prosecutor-firefighter-abused-position-in-domestic-case/article_0d5a9d5f-8679-5c94-adf7-5328a0fb2c5b.html

Caponi was arrested one day after receiving a Good Samaritan Award from the American Red Cross for building a ramp for a disabled woman.

The chargers against him were dropped, when statements from his girlfriend could not be verified and a neighbor witnessed her falling off a porch drunk causing her injuries.   See the newspaper story here:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/charges-dropped-against-firefighter/article_429f637e-c9d8-504d-9e35-8fa15620a0ea.html

That wasn’t good enough for the City though.  They wanted him to sign a statement giving up all of his civil rights and arbitration in exchange for 7 days off.  He refused, so they gave him 30 day suspension plus one day. His case was heard in arbitration this week.  The arbitrator has 60 days to rule.

According to witnesses, a lawyer employee of Sorling Northrop came to the hearing with 4 binders containing hundred of pages each plus 5  large boxes.  Keep in mind the legal charges against him were dismissed.

Sorling Northop, the Springfield law firm, must love working for government.  They don’t have to worry about not getting paid since government just has to raise taxes to pay the bills.

I filed a FOIA request for legal expenses just on this case.  Since I filed, more were incurred.

I received redacted invoices the City states don’t apply to just this case, but all the invoices are labeled “employee investigations”.  See the FOIA HERE  Note:  Many of the invoices show a “balance forward” meaning the bill from the previous month had not been paid.

12/6/2016  $5500.00

1/10/2017  $9550.00

2/9/17  $5000.00

3/7/2017  $4107.50

4/10/17  $500.00

5/4/17  $1000.00

6/8/17  $5177.25

7/13/17  $3248.75

8/8/17  $700.00

9/6/17  $500.00

The above total is $35,283.50.  Bills for October and after are not included.  If the charges involve other employees, who are they and why?  It’s a secret.

I’ve seen on-line comments from citizens being harassed by their government, I know of one issue an alderman had to investigate to get the City to stop because it was baseless.  I’ve heard from two people who believed either their homes or businesses were being watched after they spoke out against some City action.

Putin?  Putin?

In Oglesby’s case the City didn’t like the arbitrator’s ruling, so they further prosecuted him until he quit.  What will happen if this arbitrator rules against them?

Below is a recap of Legal Expenses since Tari Renner became mayor.  It’s all about CONTROL!  With the projection for FY 2019, legal expenses have almost doubled since 2012.

If the City had spent this much time overseeing the Coliseum, they wouldn’t be looking stupid for failure to protect the interests of taxpayers!

http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=5108

PDF page 191

http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=13157

PDF page 173

PDF page 177 has a projection for next year:

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Wake up Call says:

    Why! Why! Why! Are we as taxpayers putting up with this! People died and are still dying for this country. Where are the citizens! In case you haven’t heard this before, history repeats itself. Where are we headed as a people! I would certainly hope that concentration camps aren’t next! Sounds like if Renner had his way that might happen! Wake up people you have the power to stop this….use it!

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  2. Peace and prosperity will NOT come to this city AGAIN until Renner and his cronies are banished from here. Just like the buy back routine-WHY don’t they stop that?
    MAYBE they’ll talk about that THIS WEEKEND at their council retreat at the Den @ Fox Creek. ANY bets on that.

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  3. Honestly you would be surprised what gets hidden in legal expenses from the public that I think should be made known to the public what they were paid for.

    I remember being on a school board fighting a court case and you would not believe what was being paid to some lawyers in Chicago. Why I believe we could have built several new classrooms for what that case cost the district. No joke too.

    What it boils down to is a p***ing match to see who can fold first or in some cases an arbitrator rules. Generally what you have are a few people that are hell bent on defending no matter what the cost will be and aren’t willing to compromise.

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  4. garibaldi says:

    We are doomed! The city council is lame and needs to be voted out. I will lead the charge. The mayors’ manic thought processes are too hard to follow…or… maybe they not able to be followed.

    Like

  5. PleaseDontUseMyRealName says:

    Jon is a good guy. Doing the right thing is natural for him. The city can’t understand this.

    Like

  6. Diane you said it best when you said, “Putin? Putin?” That’s what this is like…imagine in America when citizens participate in Government ant police are called. It’s embarassing.

    Like

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