Saturday, September 30, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, September 30, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Canned for Safety Stance, Chicago Appointee Says

CHICAGO (CN) - Reporting numerous security violations at O'Hare Airport cost a mayoral appointee his job, the man claims in a thoroughly redacted lawsuit.

Mayor Richard Daley installed James Maurer at the aviation department in 2005 as managing deputy commissioner for safety and security, according to the complaint.

Maurer says he was fired in 2009 within months of Rosemarie Andolino's appointment as commissioner of aviation.

Though several paragraphs in the complaint regarding security deficiencies that Maurer purportedly discussed with the Transportation Safety Administration

are blocked out, Maurer says Andolino repeatedly ignored his attempts to address these issues.

Though Andolino's predecessors emphasized the importance of addressing security issues, Maurer says Andolino was preoccupied with completing the O'Hare Modernization Project in Chicago's failed push to win the 2016 Olympic bid.

Even though the airport's security problems "could expose passengers and employees at O'Hare to increased risk of terrorist attacks," Andolino "stopped supplying Maurer with the resources needed to continue taking corrective steps," and his progress "slowed to a halt," the complaint states.

Maurer says he complained to his bosses "on a near daily basis," but that "his issues and complaints were shunned, dismissed and ignored."

The managing deputy commissioner lost his job when the woman Andolino appointed as his supervisor accused Maurer of assaulting her during a staff ethics meeting.

Maurer says the assault allegations were fabricated and that witnesses agreed that no assault took place.

Among the security concerns that are not blacked out in the complaint is "parking of unscreened, non-governmental vehicles in the secure side of the airport, contrary to warnings of potential disaster."

Maurer notes that the parking is next to an airstrip, hangars and the area where Air Force One is stored when the president visits Chicago.

O'Hare also lacks blast-mitigating garbage cans, and airport police are unarmed, Maurer says.

The Department of Aviation declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Alleging retaliatory discharge, malicious prosecution and slander, among other charges, Maurer seeks punitive damages and reinstatement.

He is represented by attorney Keith Hunt, who was out of the office Friday and not available for an interview.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.