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Ald. Brookins Fined $5,000 By Ethics Board For Not Keeping Track Of Aides

By Heather Cherone | September 8, 2017 12:22pm | Updated on September 13, 2017 11:35am
 Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) holds a City Hall press conference in March.
Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) holds a City Hall press conference in March.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

AUBURN GRESHAM — Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to settle charges that he failed to keep track of the hours worked by his former chief of staff and four aides, the Chicago Board of Ethics announced Friday.

In the settlement agreement he signed, Brookins acknowledged that he failed to keep track of the time worked by his longtime Chief of Staff Curtis V. Thompson Jr. and four other aides during a period that stretched from November 2010 to July 2012, a violation of a city ordinance. The ordinance was put on the books to be transparent about how much aldermanic aides get paid.

Brookins did not immediately respond to a request for a response from DNAinfo.

After serving as Brookins' chief of staff for more than a decade, Thompson was sentenced in May 2015 to 15 months in prison for accepting a Christmas envelope stuffed with a $7,500 cash bribe, designed to grease the path of a liquor license, in December 2014.

Brookins was not charged in connection with that case, and he told the Tribune he did not solicit money from people with business pending before his office.

The original charge against the alderman was made in 2013 to the now-defunct Legislative Inspector General that was referred to the Board of Ethics.

In May 2015, Brookins declined to settle the charges that he violated an ordinance requiring aldermen to "maintain a daily record of the attendance of his or her personal employees."

After a hearing in July, an administrative law judge ruled that Brookins violated the law, prompting the alderman to settle the charges before the Board of Ethics could impose a fine.

As part of the settlement, Brookins agreed to maintain attendance records for his employees.