Ald. Berny Stone (50th) has had it in for inspector general David Hoffman from the start. But Stone's antipathy for the city's independent watchdog has reached new heights.
"It is my intent, Mr. Inspector General, to wipe your entire office out of the budget," Stone said on Friday. "It is my intention to submit a budget amendment which will destroy your department."
The Tribune reports that "Hoffman's office started to investigate 50th Ward vote fraud after getting tips following Stone's narrow 2007 runoff re-election over challenger Naisy Dolar.
"The probe ended up with Cook County prosecutors charging Stone's 50th Ward Supt. Anish Eapen with official misconduct, absentee ballot fraud and mutilation of election materials. Prosecutors alleged Eapen, a member of Stone's political organization, used his influence to manipulate absentee voters and, in one instance, mark a citizen's ballot to gain votes for Stone."
Mayor Daley backed Stone over Dolar in a race that became bitter. Daley has a friend in Stone when it comes to Hoffman.
"The mayor has increasingly rebuffed recommendations from Inspector General David Hoffman, refusing funding requests and setting up a competing Office of Compliance whose sole purpose appears to be to undermine the inspector general's ability to ensure politics-free hiring," Jay Stewart of the Better Government Association wrote last spring.
The mayor doesn't seem to need Stone to starve Hoffman's department. A year ago, Hoffman said that he only had enough staff to investigate 18 percent of the 1,500 allegations he had received.
Stone's complaint, however, is personal; he claims he has been investigated by Hoffman when aldermen are exempt from his purview.
"I say you violated the laws of the United States of America, the State of Illinois and you violated my rights under the ordinance of the City of Chicago." Stone said. "That is why, Mr. Inspector General, it is my intent to wipe out your entire office on the budget . . . You don't deserve to be in office. The department doesn’t deserve to exist, and you shouldn't exist, so it is my intention to submit a budget amendment which will destroy your department, and I hope my fellow aldermen will see fit to vote for that amendment, and that's all I have to say to you and your staff."
Hoffman denies investigating Stone. That will be left to someone else.