Alderman Ed Burke’s Workers’ Comp Aide is Committing Fraud

Burke’s Legislative Aide Falsely Claims She is the Workers’ Comp Director

Monica Somerville is a legislative aide who is fraudulently claiming she is the Director of the Workers Compensation Division. I discovered Somerville’s fraud when a friend showed me a letter that Somerville sent him (See note 1 to view two Somerville letters). At the top of the letter was “City of Chicago,” “Committee on Finance,” and “Alderman Ed Burke, Chairman.” In the body of the letter, Somerville gave a one-word explanation of “Non-Compliant” as the reason why the city was terminating my friend’s duty disability and medical payments. My friend was on duty when his ankle was hit with a fork lift truck. The driver of the fork lift tested positive for cocaine and was fired.

Two months after Somerville’s letter, my friend is still trying to find out what he did that was non-compliant. For Somerville to give a one word explanation for the termination of duty disability pay and medical expenses is incompetence, not fraud. My friend has a wife and five children that rely on his duty disability pay check. The workers’ comp division owes my friend due process and an explanation of more than one word for the stoppage of his income and medical payments related to his on duty injury.

Somerville’s fraud occurred after she signed her letter. Underneath her signature, she typed, Monica Somerville, Director. In the next line Somerville typed, “Workers’ Compensation Division.” Somerville is not the director of the workers compensation division. The real director of workers’ comp is Robert Serafin. Somerville has no legal right or authority to call herself the director of workers’ comp when she is not. The city pays $119,556 to Robert Serafin to serve as the director of workers’ compensation. The city pays Monica Somerville $75,408 for her work as Alderman Burke’s legislative aide. Because of the seriousness of accusing Somerville of fraud, my friend submitted a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to verify Somerville’s legislative aide job title with the city’s human resources department. Indeed, the human resources’ FOIA response confirmed Monica Somerville’s job title is a “legislative aide,” not the director as she types on her letters.

I know of at least one other Somerville letter in which she fraudulently claimed she is the director of workers’ comp. I’m confident that Somerville sent many more letters with her fake job title to injured city employees. The Chicago Defender wrote an article about how Reginald Williams Sr. was injured when he was a passenger in a city truck that was involved in a major accident. Williams Sr. and his doctor want surgery to repair the injuries he sustained on duty; Somerville’s letter ordered Williams Sr. to return to work. This is exactly what Chicago Defender reporter KaiElz wrote, “In a letter dated January 14, 2015, Monica Somerville, Director of the Workers’ Compensation Division, stated that Williams was to complete the paper work to be reinstated to ‘full duty’ work in an ‘unrestricted capacity.’” To read KaiElz’s complete Chicago Defender article, click here.

Monica Somerville also listed herself on the Linkedin professional networking site as the “Director of Workers’ Compensation, and Police and Fire Claims” (see note 2 for a screen shot of Somerville’s false claims). Here are five of the 11 duties that Somerville claims she does for her legislative aide job.
*Manage the Committee on Finance workers’ compensation program
*Recruit, train, manage 17+ claims examiners for timely investigations and bill payments
*Analyze and review complaints and assist in resolving all complaints
*Advise counsels on parameters of settlement negotiating and grant authority
*Provide assistance to the executive director and prepare and present staff reports and other correspondence as appropriate

Somerville can’t arbitrarily assign job titles to herself and others because the Shakman settlement specified the job titles for all city council employees, including those in Burke’s finance committee. The exempt job list has only one Director of Workers’ Comp. Somerville can’t claim she is the director because Robert Serafin is the one and only director. Somerville can’t claim she assists the executive director because no such executive director job title or person exists. Somerville falsely boasts she recruits, trains, and manages 17+ claims examiners though no such job title for claims examiner exists in the Chicago budget or Shakman exempt list. It seems that the duties and responsibilities that Somerville posted to the Linkedin website are as fraudulent as sending letters with her job title as the director of workers’ compensation.

Somerville should have known better to falsely claim that she is the director of workers’ compensation. Not only is Somerville a lawyer, but she also served more than five years on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness. Alderman Ed Burke’s wife Anne was one of the Illinois Supreme Court justices who appointed Somerville to the Committee on Character and Fitness in 2011 and then reappointed her for a second term in 2014. Illinois Supreme Court justices bestowed Somerville with the duty to “evaluate the moral character and general fitness of applicants to practice law.” Since Somerville evaluated future lawyers’ moral character for over five years, one would think that Somerville would have known it was immoral to falsify her job title and responsibilities.

The question is did Monica Somerville take it upon herself to fraudulently claim she is the director of workers’ compensation or was Somerville following orders from Alderman Ed Burke or the real workers’ comp director Robert Serafin? If someone in a position above Somerville ordered Somerville to sign her letters with the workers’ comp director’s job title, then that person should be held equally accountable as Somerville.

Notes

  1. Click the following document to see the letter in which Monica Somerville fraudulently claimed that she is the workers’ comp director. Patrick McDonough Committee on Finance Stop Payment letters
  2. For a screen Shot of Somerville’s false Linkedin job title and duties claims, see following document. Monica Somerville’s False Linkedin Claims

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