City Clerk Anna Valencia denies she used her position to help husband's company

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Thursday, April 28, 2022
Alderman calls for investigation into City Clerk Anna Valencia
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Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, a candidate for Illinois Secretary of State, denies she tried to help her husband's company, Ignite Cities.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A member of the Chicago City Council is calling for the new inspector general to launch an investigation into allegations City Clerk Anna Valencia tried to help her lobbyist husband get business with the city of New Orleans.

Valencia strongly denied Wednesday that she has done anything improper and said the request for an investigation was politically motivated.

Within minutes of the city council approving Deborah Witzburg as the new Chicago Inspector General, Alderwoman Silvana Tabares called for the investigation into Valencia.

She sent a letter to Witzburg alleging Valencia "inappropriately used her position as an elected citywide office holder to benefit the business interests of her lobbyist husband."

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"The City Clerk, Anna Valencia, really stepped over the line and the public deserves to know by how far and what are we doing to ensure that doesn't happen again," Tabares said.

Valencia, who is running for Secretary of State, came under scrutiny for emails that showed she helped connect her husband's consulting company, Ignite Cities, with officials in New Orleans who were looking to ramp up internet service there.

As Valencia conducted votes at city council Wednesday, the New Orleans city council held a special meeting as it investigates possible contract-rigging, even though the contract with Ignite Cities was cancelled.

"I have nothing to do with any of my husband's business dealings whatsoever," Valencia said, "and what I think is really sad about this is, it's a political stunt by my opponent Alexi Giannoulias to distract from his failed record."

Tabares has endorsed Giannoulias in the secretary of state's race.

Ald. Michele Smith, who chairs the ethics committee and introduced an ordinance to strengthen ethics requirements, was asked to weigh in on the Valencia investigation request.

"I think when someone makes an allegation and brings it to the inspector general, the inspector general should investigate," Smith said.

When asked if Chicagoans should have this investigation done so that they don't have any concerns, Valencia said, "Look I have nothing to do with my husband's dealings. I'm here to serve the people. I'm here with integrity, I've served with integrity, open transparency my whole career."

Valencia is in a three-way Democratic race for Secretary of State with Alexi Giannoulias and Alderman David Moore. Moore said that if the inspector general feels there's some impropriety, she should investigate it.