Shocking News Surrounding the Chicago Treasurer
In a shocking revelation that has sent ripples through the political landscape of Chicago, allegations of misconduct and ethical violations have emerged against City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin. These allegations, detailed in a four-page letter dated December 2020, were penned by the attorney representing two former employees who were terminated by Conyears-Ervin.
The letter, which was long concealed by the city, accuses the treasurer of a range of misuses of power, including the use of government workers for personal purposes, pressuring public employees for political gains, and misappropriating taxpayer resources. This exposé not only sheds light on the alleged transgressions but also questions the ethics and transparency of city officials.
In a statement released late last week, the Chicago City Treasurer said:
“While I am not allowed to discuss the specifics of this settlement, I will make a general statement as I take these matters seriously.”
“I have never, nor will I ever abuse or misuse taxpayer dollars and breach the public trust. I treat my responsibility to the citizens and taxpayers with the utmost respect.”
The Letter of Accusation
“The reason given for firing them was a pretext as there was no change in administration (the Treasurer took office over a year prior) and neither Ms. Evans nor Ms. Harper had done anything remotely justifying their termination,” the 2020 letter said. “They are precisely the sort of employees the City seeks to hire and retain, not terminate.”
“Treasurer Conyears-Ervin engaged in a pattern of disturbing conduct against the public trust, many of which violated the City of Chicago ethics rules as well as state and federal law,” the letter stated.
“Her consistent and pervasive practice has been to misuse City money, City employees and City resources to benefit her private interests as well as those of her friends and campaign supporters.”
“After losing a public battle with the Mayor on this issue, the Treasurer hired an ex-CPD officer to fill the opening of Assistant to City Treasurer, a job that requires financial training and experience which the candidate was utterly lacking,” the letter continued. “This employee does not provide any services to the office and does not even come into the office. Rather he serves as a private armed security guard to the Treasurer and is her driver.”
“The Treasurer also used City resources to support Ms. Zuccaro’s run for the … Illinois House of Representatives seat by allowing her to campaign on City time.”
“This misuse of hiring to obtain personal services and favor her allies is a pervasive problem, extending well past these two employees to numerous other employees and contractors.”
Misuse of Resources
Alleged Misuse of Public Resources
The letter alleges that City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin used government employees for personal purposes. This includes planning her daughter’s birthday party and even employing them as personal bodyguards. Such actions, if proven true, raise serious ethical concerns about the misuse of taxpayer-funded resources.
Political Favoritism and Pressure
Furthermore, the letter claims that Conyears-Ervin pressured public employees to organize events that would benefit her political allies. This potentially undermines the impartiality and fairness expected from public officials.
The letter also points to an attempt by the treasurer to influence BMO Harris, one of the banks where the city’s funds are held, to issue a mortgage tied to a building connected to her husband’s aldermanic office. This raises questions about potential conflicts of interest and ethical violations.
Retaliation and Secrecy
Alleged Retaliation and Lack of Transparency
The letter alleges that Conyears-Ervin threatened retaliation against employees who raised concerns about her actions and told them not to worry about legality, suggesting job security depended on her. This raises concerns about a lack of transparency and a hostile work environment.
Settlement and Legal Battles
Following the dismissal of the employees who brought forth these allegations, a $100,000 settlement was reached. However, the city’s reluctance to release the letter and the legal battles that ensued cast a shadow over the handling of these allegations.
The allegations against City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, if substantiated, pose significant challenges not only to her reputation but also to the ethical standards expected of public officials. The unfolding legal battles and revelations demand a thorough investigation into these serious accusations.