Saturday, September 7, 2013

WATCHDOGS: Firm got city deals after hiring lobbyist linked to indicted Rahm aide’s deputy

An insurance company got more than $2.5 million in contracts from the city of Chicago after hiring an Ohio lobbyist with ties to one of indicted former city Comptroller Amer Ahmad’s top aides at City Hall, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.

James T. Raussen, who stayed on as the city’s managing deputy comptroller after Ahmad quit his city post in July, was a Republican state representative in Ohio before leaving office in 2008 to work as an insurance administrator for then-Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat.

USI, which bills itself as the 10th largest insurance broker in the United States and 14th largest in the world, ended up winning two city contracts for insurance brokerage services — a $200,000 deal in May 2012 and a $1.5 million deal in October 2012 — that Ahmad signed. The larger contract calls for USI to be the city’s insurance broker for O’Hare and Midway airports and special events including Taste of Chicago, in addition to excess liability coverage.

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