Board of directors fires director who hired activist in ‘rape email’ – NBC Chicago

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The director of a state council who in early 2020 was forced to terminate a contract with a Democratic activist after his name surfaced in alleged government cover-ups involving rape and illegal employment by the The state was removed from office.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Council voted to fire executive director Brent Fischer on Sept. 8, Fischer’s acting replacement Keith Calloway said on Wednesday.

State records show that Fischer, 54, who earned $ 156,780, had been on paid administrative leave since June. Calloway and the chairman of the standards board said they couldn’t comment on the reason for Fischer’s dismissal as it is a personnel issue. It is not known if this was related to his management of the agency in January 2020 when an inflammatory email surfaced naming contractor Forrest Ashby, prompting the board to cancel Ashby’s job.

Ashby’s connection to the board of directors entangled him in the scandal in which a 2012 email was discovered urging key staff to become governor at the time. Pat Quinn to be indulgent with Ashby, then a public servant facing discipline. Written by Michael McClain, a retired Quincy lobbyist and confidant of former House Speaker Michael Madigan, it said of Ashby: “He kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape at Champaign and other articles. administration.”

By the time WBEZ radio discovered the email through a public registration request, McClain and Madigan were under federal investigation involving utility giant ComEd and an alleged bribery scheme. .

Governor JB Pritzker called the email “horrific,” noting that it referred to two crimes – an alleged sexual assault and the alleged hiring of jobless employees by “Jones,” an apparent reference to former Senate Speaker Emil Jones Jr., a Democrat from Chicago.

Pritzker referred the case to the Office of the Executive Inspector General for investigation. The office did not return a phone call requesting comment on the status of the investigation. His spokesperson did not answer questions on the subject.

Fischer, a Quincy resident who served as Adams County Sheriff for 17 years, in December 2015 was appointed executive director of the Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which authorizes specific training for police and other law enforcement agencies. statewide law enforcement. Attempts to contact him on the numbers listed in his name were unsuccessful.

Fischer was in charge when the agency hired Ashby, who is also from Quincy, on contract. After retiring from state government in 2018, Ashby worked on the Pritzker campaign. The Standards Council paid him $ 14,400 from October 2019 to January 2020.

Calloway, who was Fischer’s deputy director during his 2.5 years on the standards board, has been acting executive director since July 1. He said he did not know the details of the decision regarding Fischer.

“I don’t know the reason,” Calloway said. “It’s a question of personnel. You should ask the board of directors.”

The chairman of the board is Mitchell Davis III, police chief for Hazel Crest, in the southern suburbs of Chicago, who said in an email that Calloway “is the contact person on this matter and the answer to it. ‘he provided represents the response of the ILETSB Board of Directors. “

After the email came to light and Ashby’s contract was canceled, a spokesperson for the standards council told The Associated Press the council referred the case for an “independent investigation.” , but refused to develop or publish materials related to the order of the review. Calloway said Wednesday he was not aware of any such investigation.

In July 2020, ComEd admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement that he had embarked on a decade-long bribery program with Madigan and others, including McClain, who was indicted in November. Madigan, who as a result of the scandal lost his candidacy for a 19th term as Speaker of the House has not been charged with a felony and has denied any wrongdoing. Madigan was the longest-serving legislative leader in US history.

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Follow political writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor



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