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Ex-Employee Suing Alderman Stands Accused Of Being Ghost Payroller

Ald. George Cardenas

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – CBS 2 has learned the woman accusing Ald. George Cardenas (12th) of corruption is herself accused of working a no-show job.

Maria G. Chavez filed suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging Cardenas fired her for speaking to the FBI about “illegal hiring practices and other illegal operations” in Cardenas’ office.

However, CBS 2 has learned Chavez was the subject of a complaint to a city investigative agency, alleging she was being paid for little or no work.

In her lawsuit against Cardenas, Chavez claimed she spoke to the FBI about being asked to do political work while being paid as an Aldermanic staffer. That is illegal and a big no-no in politics.

Cardenas said in a statement he fired Chavez for “conspiring with a contractor” in violation of city rules. He also said he then quickly reported Chavez to the Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office, and the Chicago Board of Ethics.

The lawsuit claims the city’s Inspector General initially received complaints that Cardenas was using city property and city employees to gather voters’ signatures and notarize petition sheets for his 2012 reelection. Chavez claimed she was one of several employees at the 12th Ward office to be interviewed by the feds.

The Inspector General’s office interviewed most of the 12th Ward public service office’s employees at that time, according to the suit.

Chavez said she was fired after informing Cardenas and other employees that the FBI had visited her home.

The alderman denied the allegations Chavez leveled against him, and has said he never has been contacted by the FBI.

–CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

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