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Chicago aldermen call for more transparency on migrant crisis spending after NBC 5 Investigates report – NBC Chicago

NBC 5 Investigates obtained two invoices showing that employees of Favorite Healthcare Staffing, who help operate the city’s migrant shelters, made at least $135 an hour.

In some cases it was more.

An establishment manager reportedly earned $14,000 in one week. An invoice for a nurse shows that person received more than $20,000 for one week in December. Both invoices included overtime.

Additional documents showed that Kansas-based Favorite Healthcare Staffing has received at least $56 million since last October to provide care to the more than 13,000 migrants now living in Chicago.

In addition to these documents and the contracts that were provided to NBC 5 Investigates through public records requests, city agencies continue to withhold additional financial documents that could better illustrate how hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to treat and accommodate migrants in the city.

Two aldermen – Raymond Lopez and Scott Waguespack – discussed NBC 5 Investigates’ reporting during Thursday’s council meeting.

In an interview, Lopez, who represents the city’s 15th district, reacted by saying: “Seeing bills like these, it’s disgusting. They are scandalous and warrant immediate investigation.

He went on to say: “We’re going to find out who got paid, we’re going to find out how much… stop procrastinating, we’re clearly getting bills that gobble up millions of dollars.”

Ald. Waguespack, of the 32nd Ward, said council members receive financial information but did not see specific expenses until the NBC 5 Investigates report.

On Thursday, Council members approved additional federal funds to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Waguespack said that while aldermen have been briefed on future plans, details have been far from forthcoming.

When asked if they had precise accounting of where the money intended for migrants went, Waguespack replied: “No, we didn’t go there. This is the big concern that has been raised today.

Asked about his administration’s lack of availability, Mayor Brandon Johnson reiterated that his administration “is transparent.”

“So let me just make sure you’re clear and everyone here is clear – every Monday there’s a conversation with the alders, who are part of a task force. Every Friday, an email is sent. So all the alders can see it. We released information providing details that when we appropriated the first $51 million…I was the person who said the vast majority of that went to staff,” the mayor said Brandon Johnson in response to NBC 5’s investigative question. “Now, if you’re looking for more specific items, what do you want to know? How much does it cost for spoons or forks? I just want you to be very clear that we have issued a very detailed response on how we are approaching this humanitarian initiative. If you ask us to do it more regularly, of course we can do it.

The aldermen we interviewed said they believe the information requested by NBC 5 Investigates should be released by the city.

As of Thursday evening, Favorite Healthcare Staffing had not yet responded to our calls and emails seeking comment.

NBC Chicago

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