Inspector General Nabs Employees


Once again, CHA Inspector General Leonard Odom is working on a case involving CHA employees. He says what he is trying to do is correct the mistakes of the past. “With the takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority came new employees, such as Mr. Shuldiner [CHA executive director] and Mr.

Eisendrath [former CHA chairman] and many other persons who established new rules of operation. A new system was initiated to update the registration of CHA property so that it is now easier to protect and retrieve property in case of theft. For example, take the case of some plumbing supplies that were stolen from CHA warehouses, transferred to sites unknown to us and eventually sold as scrap metal. During our investigation, these materials were recovered through the use of our new identification system. This system was established by our Finance Division. Thanks also go to our residents who brought forth information that was used to recover the materials.

“You may remember when four CHA employees were caught with a truck full of supplies stolen from our warehouses. A CHA employee informed us that this truck was en route to a hardware store. We arrested these corrupt employees in the act of unloading the truck along with the owner of the True Value hardware store, located at 3414 W. 63rd Street. We recovered paint, sinks, smoke detectors, plumbing tools and much more worth in total about $200,000.

“We want to send a message to CHA employees that the old CHA is gone and that they should keep in mind that if they steal, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Recently, we had a case where an employee of our Private Management division was seeking a bribe of $100.00 from a CHA resident. My office set up a trap for the dishonest employee where we gave the resident the money and when the CHA employee accepted the bribe, we arrested him and terminated him on the spot, although the case is still pending in court.

“Some of our employees are very tricky. Every weekend employees from my office go to the Maxwell Street Flea Market to see if we can identify CHA materials being sold and occasionally we find some. CHA materials have certain unmistakable markings which makes it easy for us to prove in court that the material are ours.

“During one investigation, we found three rooms full of materials worth over $50,000 that had disappeared from our inventory. Actually, these types of cases are rare. However, there are still people that are willing to commit these acts. In those cases, we also investigate whether any supervisors or managers were aware of the crime and whether they reported it. We are always seeking the cooperation of supervisors since it is part of their job to report theft.”

Odom also says that “Of all the cases that we have had since October 31, 1996, we have concluded 107 investigations and 48 are still pending. We have recovered nearly $40 Million in property that may have been lost forever due to theft.

“I want to make sure that the residents have our Investigations Hotline number so that they can report any illegal acts being committed by CHA employees: 1 – 800 – 544 – 7139.”

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