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Jussie Smollett refuses to reimburse Chicago officials for alleged hate crime investigation cost

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Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — When Chicago prosecutors unexpectedly dropped charges last week against Jussie Smollett, city officials two days later demanded that the Empire actor reimburse the city $130,000 for the cost of the investigation.  Apparently, Smollett isn’t willing to do that.

A statement late Thursday from Bill McCaffrey, spokesperson for the City of Chicago Department of Law, declares: “Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.  The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook Country.  Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team.”

The statement concludes: “The Law Department will file the suit in the near future.  As part of this legal action, the Law Department will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance.”

The city asked for an “immediate payment” of $130,106.15 “in an attempt to resolve this matter without further legal action,” according to a letter obtained by ABC News last week, which was sent from the Chicago Department of Law to Smollett’s attorneys. 

The letter requested the payment to be made within seven days, and added that if the fee isn’t paid in a “timely” manner, the Chicago Department of Law would prosecute Smollett and impose a fine between $500 and $1,000, in addition to up to three times the amount of damages.

Repaying the $130,000 wasn’t required in exchange for prosecutors dropping all 16 felony charges against Smollett for what police said was his staging the January 29 alleged hate crime attack against him.  Smollett did forfeit $10,000, which was 10% of his $100,000 bond, and also performed some community service, prosecutors said.

A federal investigation into a threatening letter investigators say was part of the hoax is still underway.

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

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