Cook County Record

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Chicago Inspector General asks court to order ex-alderman candidate Siaw to testify in campaign finance inquiry


By Cook County Record | Jun 19, 2019

Chicago ferguson joseph
Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson | Youtube screenshot

Chicago’s city Inspector General has asked a Cook County judge to force a former candidate for Chicago alderman to testify amid an investigation into campaign finance law violations.

On June 17, Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court, asking the judge to enforce a subpoena to Theresa Siaw.

Siaw ran for alderman earlier this winter in Chicago’s 26th Ward, seeking to unseat incumbent Ald. Roberto Maldonado. Maldonado defeated Siaw and another challenger, David Herrera, in February.

Siaw finished second, capturing 28 percent of the vote in the election, to Maldonado’s 51 percent.

The complaint filed by Ferguson asserts his office served Siaw with a subpoena in March in relation to an unspecific ongoing campaign finance investigation, allegedly aimed at a current city official.

The subpoena directed Siaw to testify as part of the investigation.

Neither the complaint nor the subpoena specify the identity of any city officials being investigated, or the information the Inspector General’s Office is seeking from Siaw.

During her campaign, Siaw was targeted by Maldonado in mailers distributed in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, asserting Siaw did not actually live in the 26th Ward, but rather resided in suburban Burr Ridge.

Further, the mailers asserted Siaw had lied about her employment, and did not work as director of OMNI Healthcare.

The controversy over the mailer was reported in an article published by Block Club Chicago on Feb. 19.

According to the complaint, Siaw’s attorney, identified as James Nally, told the Inspector General Siaw was refusing to testify, as the Inspector General doesn’t have authority over her, as a private citizen not employed by the city or serving in an elected or appointed city office.

The Inspector General’s office replied with an email to Nally, which “included a court order issued on July 6, 2017, in a similar legal dispute” which was decided in the Inspector General’s favor.

The Inspector General gave Siaw until April 1 to withdraw her objection and schedule a time to testify.

After initially telling the Inspector General Siaw was out of the country, Nally said on April 8 Siaw was not withdrawing her objection to the subpoena, and still refused to testify.

The Inspector General’s office said “Siaw’s refusal to comply … has prevented OIG from completing its investigation of alleged violations of campaign finance laws by a City official.”

The Inspector General asked the judge to declare Siaw must comply with its subpoena, and enforce the subpoena by ordering Siaw to testify.

The Inspector General is represented in the matter by attorney Peter Neumer, identified as special assistant corporation counsel for the Inspector General’s office.


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