A Chicago city councillor has filed a formal complaint against a municipal official after he was caught on voicemail using an antisemitic slur about a local rabbi.
Local news outlet Chicago Block Club reported on the incident on Thursday. Alderperson Samantha Nugent reported her ward superintendent, Andrew Szorc, to the city’s Department of Human Resources after she was made aware of the voicemail from a call made last September, she said.
The incident was investigated by the city’s Office of the Inspector General, which recommended the Department of Streets and Sanitation fire Szorc and place him on the city’s do-not-hire list, according to the office’s quarterly report, which was released last month. Street and Sanitation officials agreed. Szorc retired before he could be fired, the paper reported.
Szorc had been trying to get ahold of a rabbi at a local school to discuss trash and overgrown weeds on campus, according to the report. After leaving a message, Szorc did not hang up and the voicemail continued recording. He was heard saying to another person, “Yeah, yeah, I left two messages for [unintelligible]. He didn’t call me back. F***ing Jew,” according to the report.
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The rabbi who received the voicemail forwarded it to another rabbi, and they brought it to the attention of Nugent, who said she had spoken up in defense of both the rabbi, who was not named, and her Jewish constituents.
“I’m devastated that they even had to experience this,” Nugent said. “There’s no place for hate speech or antisemitism in the city or the 39th Ward.”
Szorc stepped down from his role on Feb. 23, according to department spokesperson Mimi Simon. Documents show the Inspector General’s office delivered its recommendations on Dec. 21, and that Szorc took a leave of absence from Dec. 20 until his retirement, Chicago Block Club reported.
Inspectors were told by Szorc that “a stroke has affected his speech, so he ‘maybe wasn’t saying it right,’” according to the Inspector General report. Szorc said he meant to say “f***ing Jewish school” due to his frustration at trying to get the school cleaned for two weeks with no response.
May 12, 2022 at 10:50PM