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Chicago Park District legal bills cost taxpayers over $300,000 in abuse case, so far

The inspector general's office reported in January that there was evidence supporting 29 of the 49 allegations investigated.

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Park District has paid at least $330,000 to outside law firms investigating the department's response to allegations of sexual harassment or abuse involving lifeguards at pools and beaches.

Legal bills connected to the issue include $259,000 to a law firm charged with investigating the park district's response to the allegations, according to WBEZ in Chicago.[1]



The firm released that report in early November. A former federal prosecutor leading the effort found then-CEO and General Superintendent Michael Kelly failed to investigate the allegations immediately after learning of them.

Kelly later resigned and three other officials were fired.

Another law firm has charged $70,000 to assist the park district inspector general's office in investigating dozens of complaints filed by employees, alleging that current of former employees had assaulted or harassed them.

The inspector general's office reported in January that there was evidence supporting 29 of the 49 allegations investigated.

“At several locations, long-tolerated hazing behavior fostered an environment where bullying, harassing and sexual misconduct flourished and went unchallenged,” the report said.

Representatives for the park district and law firms declined to comment on the legal bills.


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Notes & References


  1. Mihalopoulos, Dan. “The Chicago Park District's Lifeguard Abuse Scandal Has Cost Taxpayers More than $330,000.” WBEZ Chicago. WBEZ Chicago, February 25, 2022. https://www.wbez.org/stories/chicagos-steep-legal-tab-for-lifeguard-abuse-scandal/193ac2a1-726c-40fe-aaa9-d0789361c72e. ↩︎

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