Chicago to Smollett: Pay Up, or Else...

Posted: Mar 29, 2019 8:25 AM

The city of Chicago is demanding Jussie Smollett pay the overtime costs associated with police investigating the hate crime the “Empire” actor allegedly staged in January.

The Chicago Corporation Counsel sent a letter to Smollett’s attorneys Thursday asking him to pay $130,106.15 within a week, threatening a new charge if he doesn’t agree to do so in a “timely” manner. 

“[Y]ou made a police report in which you falsely claimed that two men had attacked you while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The Chicago Police Department conducted an extensive investigation into this report,” Corporation Counsel Edward Siskel wrote in the letter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Over two dozen detectives and police officers participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating the false claims, including a substantial number of overtime hours.”

The letter continued: “As part of this investigation, Chicago police reviewed video and physical evidence and conducted several interviews, expending resources that could have been used for other investigations. Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.”

The city also issued a monetary and legal threat if he doesn’t pay up.  

The city threatened to take legal action under the municipal code of Chicago if the actor did not pay the costs within seven days via a money order or certified cashier’s check. If he doesn’t pay, Smollett was threatened with a fine of up to $1,000. The city would also potentially seek up to three times the amount of damages, as well as court and collections costs and attorney’s fees, the letter threatened.

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the city could sue Smollett for the damages in civil court. “The city is not committing to any future legal actions at this time,” McCaffrey said. “However, we have a lengthy and successful track record or recovering costs under this ordinance.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed with the decision to bill Smollett for the overtime costs. 

It’s “a small way of both acknowledging guilt and, two, that we spent these resources and the taxpayers are deserved, at minimum” restitution, he told WGN-AM radio on Thursday. “And I think there’s a whole level [of] ethical costs because he’s still walking around [saying] `Hey, I’m innocent. Everything I said from day one is true.’ We’re gonna get the resources back. But, come with those resources is, implicitly, if you pay it, that the city spent money to uncover what the grand jury discovered.”