Correction: Racist Emails-Investigation story
Jul. 25, 2017
CHICAGO (AP) — In a story July 24 about an investigation into the personal email of longtime state investigator Frank Capuzi, The Associated Press erroneously reported the messages came to light in an ongoing investigation of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's emails. The messages came to light during an investigation conducted by Ferguson into emails shared by other city workers and their bosses, not Ferguson's emails.
The AP also wrongly reported that Ferguson has been blocked from working on city projects. It was a private contract employee caught up in the scandal who has been blocked from working on city projects.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Illinois employees under investigation for derogatory emails
Illinois officials are investigating a longtime Chicago investigator with the Workers' Compensation Commission whose personal email is a source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials are investigating a longtime state investigator whose personal email has been the source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails.
The state began reviewing Frank Capuzi, 62, with the Workers' Compensation Commission after the newspaper's probe of derogatory emails that were forwarded from his address to a water department boss and others, The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2tTyeIv ) reported.
"The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission is currently investigating the highly offensive and inexcusable email messages from one of its employees," said Ben Noble, a spokesman for the commission. "After a complete and thorough administrative review, the commission will determine what actions may be appropriate."
Chad Fornoff, executive director of the state Executive Ethics Commission, said that although Capuzi didn't use his government email address, the messages should still be reviewed for any violations of state law, rules or policies, including conduct unbecoming of a state employee.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration code of personal conduct says employees should conduct themselves with "with integrity and in a manner that reflects favorably upon the state." Commission officials said the code and the state ethics law are all part of the review.
The messages came to light in an ongoing investigation by Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. The findings of Ferguson's investigation have led to five high-level water department bosses being let go, including Commissioner Barrett Murphy; his deputy, William Bresnahan; and Paul Hansen, a district superintendent. A private contract employee also was caught up in the scandal and has been blocked from working on city projects.
The newspaper obtained nearly 1,300 emails from the water department, including several emails forwarded from Capuzi to Hansen. The newspaper found that at least four derogatory emails that Hansen received came from Capuzi's address.
A July 2013 email obtained by the newspaper with the subject line "Chicago Safari Tickets" makes light of the shootings of children in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
"We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour," the email states. "You'll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today."
The email also includes an image of four white people in safari attire taking pictures of several black people trying to break into a car.
A July 2014 email titled "Watermelon Protection" includes an image of a scarecrow, dressed in a white KKK robe and pointed hood, amid a watermelon patch.
The newspaper said Capuzi hung up when called and didn't respond to follow up emails.