Thou shall not make a fool of Rahm... but everybody else it's ok!Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he isn’t embarrassed by the revelation that a former Chicago firefighter who starred in an Emanuel campaign commercial is collecting $91,113 a year in tax-free disability pay.
Emanuel said he was serving as White House chief of staff when Chicago Fire Department District Chief Patrick J. Kehoe went on disability leave.
The mayor dismissed as a “cheap trick” a Chicago Sun-Times story published Tuesday that noted that Kehoe was identified in Emanuel’s mayoral campaign commercials as a “retired Chicago firefighter.”
At the time the commercial began airing, Kehoe had been on disability leave for about four months after slipping on a driveway during a hazardous-materials call on July 17, 2009.
“I met Pat Kehoe in a fire station in 2001,” Emanuel said Tuesday. “In July of 2009, when he went in front of the pension board, I was the chief of staff to the president of the United States . . . I don’t know the case. I wasn’t here. I was in Washington, working for President Obama.
“We have a systemic issue on police and fire disability that needs to be addressed [and doesn’t] need to be played cheap tricks on. What happened to the disability is a serious issue, needs to be dealt [with] seriously and not made [a] frivolous issue….We have a systemic issue, not a one-off case.”