Sunday, September 24, 2017

Newly-Released Records Show $52,520 Of Taxpayer Cash Went To Local Cop For Boystown Security Patrols

Chicago cop Thomas Walsh Sr leads a Northalsted security patrol in 2017.
Newly-released documents show that a Lakeview-based Chicago cop’s private security firm received more than $52,000 in tax money to patrol Boystown in 2011 and 2012, a violation of city ordinances.

The money was paid to Walsh Security LLC—owned by 19th District CAPS Officer Thomas Walsh—between May 2011 and April 2012, according to city records turned over in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by CWBChicago.

Neither Walsh nor his company was licensed by the state to contract security services at the time, records show.

City records show payments totaling $46,000 were made by SSA #18 to Walsh Security in 2011.

Ledgers provided by the city show that Walsh Security received $46,000 of tax money during 2011 and another $6,520 in 2012.

All of the money was supplied by taxpayers via the city’s Special Service Area #18, which charges local landowners a tax premium that is supposed to pay for local streetscaping, business promotion and security. SSA #18’s funds are managed by the Northalsted Business Alliance (NBA) and a group of unpaid, politically-appointed commissioners.

City employees, including cops, are prohibited from taking on work and contracts that are paid with SSA funds. The rules are clearly laid out in the SSA’s agreements with the city as well as in annual ethics training that all city employees are required to complete.

Accepting the tax money and performing work without proper licensing appears to conflict sharply with Walsh’s written assurance to the NBA that Walsh would “provide services in compliance with all applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations.”

Walsh’s LLC was established on March 14, 2011, just two months before he signed an agreement to patrol Northalsted, state records show. Walsh did not receive a state license to contract security for another 30 months, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said.

The new discoveries come just three weeks after CWBChicago published an extensive report showing that Walsh’s security company is routinely performing security services via an unusual arrangement that has payments sent to a different company while Walsh’s employees appear to do the work.

SSA #18 dropped Walsh in April 2012 and used two other security firms through 2013.

In October 2013, Walsh’s two adult children—Amanda Walsh and Thomas Walsh Jr—established A&T Security LLC. The next month, Amanda Walsh received a license to work as an unarmed security guard. And Thomas Jr. followed suit the next month. But neither of them ever became licensed to contract security services, according to state records.

In May 2014—mere months after the company was incorporated and the Walsh children earned basic licenses to work as unarmed security guards—the NBA announced that A&T Security would assume patrols of the Boystown nightlife district. This time, the money came from the Alliance’s own bank account, not the taxpayers’, according to records.

As recently as this summer, A&T continued to receive the payments for Northalsted’s security patrol even though it still doesn’t have a license to perform such work, according to a source with knowledge of the NBA's operations.

Even stranger is the fact that the people who are doing the actual work on Halsted Street appear to work for Walsh Security.

Thomas Walsh Sr. routinely leads the security patrol from a post at Roscoe and Halsted, according to witnesses. Security guards working Boystown wear Walsh Security shirts, vests, and other identifiers.

In police reports that list the patrol guards as witnesses or victims, Northalsted's security officers are consistently referred to as being agents of Walsh Security.

Thomas Walsh Sr (right) attends the 2017 annual meeting of the NBA. | Northalsted Business Alliance

A source familiar with the Alliance's operations in 2014 said they believed A&T was used instead of Walsh Security because "the Alliance was sensitive to the issues with Walsh and the possible conflict with [his work in the police department]."

CWBChicago reported this spring that Officer Walsh's position as the 19th District's police "business liaison" put him in the potentially conflicting position of handling complaints against companies that funded his private security patrols through Northalsted.

A sergeant now serves as the 19th District's business liaison and Walsh has been reassigned to handle court advocacy, the department said. The potential for past conflict of Walsh's interests is the subject of an on-going police department internal investigation, according to a CPD source who requested anonymity.

Amanda and Thomas Walsh Jr did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the relationship between A&T and Walsh Security LLC.  Leadership of the Northalsted Business Alliance also did not respond to multiple inquiries.

In August, Thomas Walsh Sr. stated that his son had completed the security contractor written test. Yet, four years after A&T was formed, neither the company or the two Walsh children have been licensed to contract security in Illinois, records show.

The elder Walsh did not respond to questions about the relationship between A&T and his own company.
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