Thursday, September 28, 2023
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City Worker Loses Benefits Over Politics

(CN) - Chicago's former head of streets and sanitation properly lost his annuity and benefits after he was convicted of mail fraud for organizing 200 co-workers to send out political ads for the mayor's office, an Illinois appeals court ruled.

When the mayor's office asked Daniel Katalinic to help with elections, Katalinic started an organization among coworkers that awarded political involvement with promotions, the ruling states. Since its start in 2000, the group grew to 200, "almost all" of whom were his employees, Katalinic admitted.

When city job openings were posted, Katalinic sent a prioritized list of potential hires to the mayor's office, giving top billing to members of his political group. According to the ruling, his picks were almost always given the job.

After his retirement in 2003, Katalinic was convicted of a felony for a letter he sent to a streets and sanitation worker about the worker's promotion to a career service motor truck driver position, a reward for his political activity.

The appeals court ruled that the mail fraud was "directly and inherently" connected to Katalinic's employment, because Katalinic used his position as deputy commissioner to direct the hiring scheme.

The three-judge panel affirmed judgment against Katalinic, stripping him of his annuity and other benefits.

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