Chicago, a city notorious for political corruption, now has one more scandal to add to its list.
Thanks to a change in the city’s pension code passed in 1991, 23 retired labor union officials stand to collect a total $56 million from two city funds over their lifetimes, according to a Chicago Tribune/WGN TV investigation. The law uses the retired leaders’ union salaries to determine their pensions, instead of the salaries they made as city employees, the report found.
Some of the more egregious examples include Dennis Gannon, who the city re-hired for one day and managed to net a $158,000 pension, according to The Tribune. Liberato "Al" Naimoli, president of the Cement Workers Union Local 76, officially retired from his $15,000 a year job working for the city last year even though he hadn’t held the job for 25 years. Naimoli is drawing $13,000 from city coffers, according to the report.
The investigation's findings add fuel to critics who say Chicago and the state of Illinois is rife with corruption. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich could serve up to 30 years to life in prison for corruption charges including that he tried to benefit from picking President Barack Obama's replacement in the Illinois Senate, according to The Chicago Sun Times.
And Blagojevich isn't the only one who is corrupt; The Sun Times reports that Chicago FBI branch is investigating 2,000 public corruption cases in the area. A former Chicago police officer was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this month for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug dealers, among other charges, CBS reports.
At least the city is paying out pensions to people who are still alive. The federal government spent more than $120 million over the last five years on retirement payments for dead retired employees, the Office of Personnel Management reported on Friday.