Inspector General reveals racist emails sent by Water Dept. bosses

CHICAGO — The City of Chicago’s Inspector General released several examples of racist and sexist emails sent between high-level Chicago Water Department employees.

One email sent between several high ranking officials featured the subject line “Chicago Safari Tickets.” The message said,” If you didn’t book a Chicago Safari adventure with us this 4th of July weekend this is what you missed,” and then it lists the number of people shot in neighborhoods such as Englewood, Austin and South Shore.

The email goes on to say, “You’ll also see lot of animals in their natural habitat.” The email further states, “Remember all Chicago Safari packages include 3 deluxe ‘Harold’s Chicken’ meals a day.”

The Inspector General’s report said an email also contained an image of a Ku Klux Klan robe on a stick in the middle of a watermelon patch.

The Chicago Tribune identifies the sender of the email as Paul Hansen, a water department superintendent. Hansen, who is the son of former 44th Ward Ald. Bernie Hansen, resigned in May as the investigation heated-up. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also ousted water commissioner Barrett Murphy.  Other water department officials have received suspensions.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s report said the inappropriate conduct didn’t end with email use.  A water department official also used city computers to access sexually explicit and age restricted videos on Youtube.

Another water department supervisor used a city account to send emails referring to Muslims as “rag head[s].” That employee, who is not named in the report, resigned in lieu of termination and will be placed on the city’s “ineligible to hire” list.

Read the full report here.