Chicago Inspector General Shakman Update

One of the items on my list has been to continue to put the light on the Shakman Violations that have continued in the Department of Water Management. Basically the posting of positions has been a sore point with me. The Department od Water Management has held up job posting for over a week in many cases. The scam works this way. A Job posting gets a date and the Unions are notified. The Shakman Monitor is also notified. I was told both are notified by E-mail. Amazing how this is always done proper. Then, after held up in the Water Personnel Department for a week, the worker’s notification is made (posted). This gives advance notice to the insiders. This is a violation to the Shakman Decree. I have made numerous calls to the New and Improved Chicago Inspector General regarding this matter. Two postings of note are up for rebid, the Superintendents of Sewer and Water. This should make it fair for everyone. I am sure the “Banks Boy” might be a little upset, but so be it. The last post of note was the Plumbing Inspector positions, six. (6) This one was held up for a three day period prior to posting. Ms. Harris received a call the day of the posting from me regarding the lack of public posting. This position for the first time ever was posted on time in the Building Department. The notice to the water department facilities was held up. Progress is slow and I think someone should be fired for continuing to hold up job postings. Maybe the Inspector General should visit Luci Pope and get to the bottom of this. When a job is well done, I complement, nice going David Hoffman and the Chicago Inspector General. Patrick McDonough.

8 Replies to “Chicago Inspector General Shakman Update”

  1. Expect the excuse for this to be administrative staff inefficiency, ie., it takes a long time to print a piece or pieces of paper, then walk over to the printer, pick up the piece or pieces of paper, walk to where the piece or pieces of paper are to be posted, realize that there aren’t enough thumb tacks to properly secure the piece or pieces of paper to the surface they are to be posted on, or that the employee responsible for posting the piece or pieces of paper forgot to bring a suitable tool, such as a stapler, with them, when they walked to the location that the piece or pieces of paper are to be posted, (said piece or pieces of paper being the piece or pieces of paper upon which there has been ink printed in such a way, and in such a pattern, as to communicate the information required to be posted in a timely manner), thus resulting in the employee responsible for ensuring that the piece or pieces of paper required to be posted in a timely manner must conduct a search for the necessary tool to accomplish said timely posting, said search being wherever and for whatever amount of time it takes to find and secure a suitable tool to accomplish the required task, ie., the posting of the piece or pieces of paper upon which are printed the symbols which convey the information to which this article refers, said posting being required to be at a location which is accessible to those individuals to whom the aforementioned information is required to be made available to in a timely manner.

    The apparent delay observed, and commented on as being untimely, is, thus, revealed to be merely due to the nature of the employee tasked with accomplishing same.

    Said employee thanks you for your patience and cooperation.

    (Response) Well educated Chicago Clout City Watcher.

  2. City fires self-proclaimed whistle-blower in hired truck scandal
    Charles Thomas
    April 1, 2005 – A Chicago water department employee says he was fired Friday because he helped blow the whistle on the city’s trucking scandal. The city claims Patrick McDonough was let go for other reasons.

    In an action that could lead to another high-profile lawsuit, the city water department, under the watchful eyes of the city attorney and presumably the mayor’s office, has fired an employee who says he provided the first information about the $40 million scandal involving private trucking firms contracted to the city.
    Patrick McDonough is a 44-year-old water department plumber, who claims to be the person who blew the whistle last year on corruption in the hired truck program.

    “Some days, there’d be two to four trucks just filing along, doing absolutely nothing,” said Patrick McDonough, plumber.

    Mcdonough, whose father and grandfather also worked for the city, was fired Friday morning. His lawyer believes it happened because McDonough tattled on top city officials, including indicted former deputy water commissioner Donald Tomszak and former hired truck program director Angelo Torres, who has plead guilty.

    “Gang members running programs, companies connected to the mafia loafing on the job, tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars and this man uncovered it. He should get a medal,” said Frank Avila, McDonough’s attorney.

    “You have no idea how bad I feel because I thought I did the right thing exposing the corruption that goes on in the water department,” said McDonough.

    In the termination letter, water commissioner Richard Rice charged McDonough with living outside the city limits, and in a statement, a Rice spokesman wrote the firing “follows an investigation by the inspector general’s office and a recommendation from the department of law.”

    McDonough says he lives in an Andersonville apartment building owned by his family for the past 35 years.

    “I’ve lived there on and off my entire life,” McDonough said.

    The name McDonough was on the doorbell and ABC 7 confirmed he used the address to vote in the 2004 general election.

    Attorney Avila vows to sue the city under the Illinois law that protects whistle-blowers, and he predicts the decision to fire McDonough will cost city taxpayers yet again.

    “Patrick McDonough is going to get his job back and win a suit against the city as a whistle-blower with the new statute you get a percentage of the waste,” said Avila.

    McDonough and his lawyer will fight the termination. A lawsuit is reportedly expected to be filed against the city in the coming weeks.

    You can see the ABC7 report by clicking on the video icon above. You will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to view this video. You can get it FREE by clicking here. NOTE: Video clips will only be available for 5-days from the date they were created. ALSO: Video clips will play in a separate window on Mac OS X machines, you may also see a video help screen.

  3. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
    November 10th – 6:31 p.m.

    The city council is our local version of the legislative branch of democratic government.

    Our problems stem NOT from there being TOO MANY aldermen, but from there being TOO FEW.

    Think about it.

    Consider the total population of our city, then divide that number by the number of legislative representatives, (aka aldermen, each chosen by the residents of the same number of city regions as there are aldermen, commonly referred to as wards). Presently, there are 50.

    Approximate the average number of citizens being represented by each of these aldermen, and/or, determine the actual number of citizens residing within the boundaries of each and every one of our city’s wards.

    This will result in your understanding how many citizens each and every city legislative representative, aka alderman, is responsible for serving and being accountable to.

    The purpose of having a legislative branch of city government is no different than the purpose of having a legislative branch of our state and federal governments.

    That purpose, along with the purpose of having an executive and judicial branch of government, is to SERVE THE INTERESTS OF ALL THE CITIZENS WHO HAVE GRANTED THEM THE AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

    It’s an understandable reaction, to the failures we have as aldermen, to desire that there be fewer of them, (fewer of them failing to perform their duties and fewer of them failing to live up to their responsibilities), said responsibilities being to fulfill their promise to those who granted them the authorities they so casually disregard.

    However, if you think about it, their failures lie NOT in the number of them, but in the NATURE of the individuals we have elected, or allowed to be elected, to this important legislative position of authority.

    The purpose of having a legislative branch of government is to provide the citizens representation in the activities of their government.

    The legislative branch is responsible for the making of law.

    The executive branch of government is responsible for the making, implementing and managing of policies, for the sole purpose of providing the citizens those services that are best provided by government.

    The judicial branch of government is responsible for the interpretation and adjudication of law.

    Our problems stem from the fact that the members of our legislative branch, our aldermen, have failed to exercise their authorities to ensure that the members of the executive branch are authentically serving the interests of the citizens who elected them.

    The executive branch members answer to the whole number of citizens residing within our city’s boundaries, while the legislative branch members answer to the smaller number of citizens residing within the boundaries of their respective wards.

    To REDUCE the number of aldermen would require a reduction in the number of wards and, thus, an INCREASE in the number of citizens said fewer aldermen would be required to answer to.

    As we have seen, the GREATER the number of citizens our elected officials have to answer to, the LESS influence the citizens have on their elected officials’ actions.

    DOUBLE the number of aldermen, thus dividing each and every ward into two wards, and you will have far FEWER citizens holding their respective representatives accountable for their actions.

    FEWER citizens to answer to means a louder voice is enjoyed by each and every citizen.

    FEWER citizens in a GREATER number of wards means that A SMALLER NUMBER of citizens WILL determine the outcome of aldermanic elections.

    With MORE aldermen, being elected by FEWER citizens, it is likely that those who wish to be aldermen will be much more active in seeking to satisfy the needs of their constituencies, resulting in the executive branch being LESS in absolute control of our total city governments.

    Presently, the executive branch needs only 26 aldermen to go along with their desires.

    Think about what it would mean if this same executive branch needed 51 aldermen to go along with their desires, 51 aldermen who answer to approximately HALF the number of citizens.

    Authentic Democracy requires the real and authentic opportunity for the citizens to have their desires respected and responded to.

    Th present ratios of the number of citizens to the number of those in authority over said citizens is the source of our current problems.

    Alter this ratio, even only in the legislative branch, and you alter the dynamics under which our government functions, or fails to function.”

    “I Wonder……
    November 10th – 6:51 p.m.

    I wonder that, if the city council has the inherent authority to alter the ward boundaries, do they also have the authority to increase the number of wards, as suggested above?

    Daley exploits the age-old technique of ‘divide-and-conquer’, why shouldn’t the aldermen do so in this manner?

    Anyone know the history and authority behind the determination of ward boundaries, ward population size and all other information relevant to same?”

    November 10th – 10:26 p.m.

    Why add more aldermen? New York and Los Angeles do fine with far fewer reps per capita. Adding more 100K aldermen, plus staff and expenses, would require yet another tax increase. Why add more people who will rubber stamp whatever Daley wants, no matter how stupid it is.”

    “re Hahaha
    November 11th – 2:48 a.m.

    I guess my request, for those who took the time to read my humble post, to THINK about my suggestion didn’t register in your mind this time.

    Why would more aldermen automatically rubber stamp whatever Daley wants?

    Why would the aldermen continue to make $100,000 a year?

    Why would you ask the question “Why add more aldermen?”, if you had actually read, considered and thought about the reasons stated in my comment?

    What do you think aldermen are supposed to be, if not the elected, legislative representatives of their individual ward’s residents?

    What do you think the city council is supposed to be, if not the city’s legislative branch of our city government?

    Just because we haven’t seen an authentic legislative body in this town for decades, doesn’t mean the purpose of the city council has magically been transformed into a rubber stamp for the executive branch.

    It’s been corrupted into being a rubber stamp for the executive branch.

    If you’ve lived here long enough, you will remember how effective the city council was at fucking over Harold Washington’s executive branch’s attempt to govern.

    Remember those 29 aldermen, led by ‘Fast Eddie V.’, ‘Dick Mell’, ‘Burke’ and the rest of the white aldermen at the time?

    The city council is supposed to be the legislative source of balance, said balance being between the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch of a democratic government.

    To repeat, 100 aldermen, representing 100 wards, each ward being half the size of the present 50 wards and each ward’s population being half of same, would present the residents with far more control over their respective aldermen.

    A city council with 100 aldermen would present far more of a challenge to the executive branch, ie., the mayor, to control, because those rubber stamps needed would no longer be 26, but 51.

    Further, since each, individual alderman would have to answer to half the number of citizens which they have to answer to now, and, since there would be twice as many aldermen, there would be a greater likelihood of the citizens’ desires being heeded, on every issue important to said citizens, regardless of what the fucking mayor wants.

    Also, each of the 100 aldermen would receive half, or less than half, of what the position pays right now.

    How much less will our government cost us, if every citizen now knew that their individual vote counted, come election time?

    Because, with fewer constituents in each of the now 100 wards, fewer votes would make the difference between winning or losing an election.

    Though the mayor would still have the advantage of being elected by the city’s populace as a whole, each alderman would be subject to only the approval, by getting their votes at election time, of far fewer voters, making it truly possible for anyone to get elected alderman, without the political machine’s support.

    Read and think about it, if you really want to understand.

    You do really want to understand, don’t you?”

    (Response) More alderman dilute the power. Just a bunch of puppet Alderman in Chicago.

  4. Thomas
    November 10th – 11:22 a.m.
    Patrick McDonough stumbled on tens of millions of taxpayer waste (at least $40,000,000) just by seeing private drivers sleep in their trucks. Gang bangers get good paying jobs who take bribes from outfit trucking companies who do no work.
    Maybe ask Patrick McDonough where to find waste.

    Ralph Fero found $60,000,000 in waste with the vortex Rain Blocker program with thousands of the devices being thrown out behind the Department of Water Managment (and many times they did not work as they were supposed to)
    Falph Fero with Chicago Magazine did an analysis of the top heavy management (with 3 to 10 managers supervising 1 worker sometimes) and very large salaries of family members and politically connected people with no credentials. Even Alderman Bernard Stone did a study and spoke out on the number of over $100,000 city employees.
    If Ralph Fero can find $60,000,000 in waste with the rain blockers and see the obvious top heavy and overpaid political commissioners, deputy commissioners and do nothing political workers–what about a study, a efficiency expert with an education, the US Attorneys etc.

    Just read the Sun Times and the Tim Novak now regular series on political waste and corruption.

    Some ways to cut (from big to small)
    1. Why does Alderman Burke need 4 bodyguards and a city car and a driver? He sometimes has more police officers all assigned to him? WHY?–is he going to be assasinated?
    ALSO–he is very wealthy why doesn’t he hire bodyguards instead of us paying for them.

    2. Why did Mayor Daley’s mother (and daughtes and son)(and God rest Sis’s great soul and a great lady) need a bodyguard???
    Again, the Daley’s are wealthy let John Daley’s insurance company (which insured all the hired trucks) pay for a bodyguard or international investment and finance “guru” Williama Daley.
    The taxpayers should not have to pay extra protection for alderman,
    unkown and no threats to all family members.
    YES, some of these jobs are hard and people in the public light can be attacked or kidnapped BUT nobody knows what Daley’s daughters look like. Alderman Burke sometimes has four or more police officers and a driver and city car (and picks up friends and does social things with his city car and driver)

    3. Cut the top heavy management, the deputy commissioners. Just ask Daley ally alderman Stone.

    4. Cut the HDO drug dealers and thugs, cut the 11th ward ghost payrollers, cut the 19th ward do nothings.
    The Operating Engineers salaries are too high.
    There are whole sections of people doing nothing or Whirity swiping in and out or Strodin building a house on city time.

    5. Chicago has much higher law suits by city workers and much higher workmens compensation claims than anywhere else in Illinois including coal miners.
    You have to change the culture.
    You have to get good lawyers and not political hacks like Mara Georges who is there to get contracts for Shefsky.

    6. Cut Intergovernmental affairs, which even the alderman joke are the notebooks with their spying and writing notes on everyone.

    7. Cut Maggie Daley’s subsidized art program let her friend Ryan and Aon fund it and not taxpayers–not saying it might not do some good but my mom might have a great idea to help kids and I don’t get taxpayer funding.

    8. TIFS–just read Ben Joravsky or County Commissioner Mike Quigley.

    9. The Inspector General’s office under Vrstrouias was a corrupt joke. His salary was a waste. How many stupid investigations wasted money on silly stuff or protecting big corruption and waste.
    Vrstourias now works in the States Attorney’s office.

    10. The Burge legal defense when everyone knows he is guilty and they settled or are going to settle cases that everyone knew would be settled over $20,000,000.

    11. The Jeremiah Joyce Airport contracts.

    12. The loss in the city revenue from selling land undervalue and buying it back for insane profits from Tom DiPiazza, Tim Degnan, Jerry Joyce, Oscar Dangelo, Michael Marchese.

    13. Grants to Churches (Separation of Church and state) and no interest loans over 30 years ffor 5 million. The Reader just did a story on the blaspehemer “Rev” Lucius Hall who corrupted the “Our Father/Lord’s Prayer” saying “give us our Daley, Daley, Daley bread” in exchange for corruption of the Black clergy and selling out his own people Rev. Lucius Hall has received 3,500,000 in grants.
    City Commissioners used to shake down contractors and employees for Old Saint Patricks Church and government has given them a lot of breaks.

    14. Alderman Stone had a good idea to sell the vacant lots the city owns or sell idle city property.

    15. Every alderman should have a program to turn vacant lots into productive tax earning land.

    16. Cut the stupid city council committees that do nothing and provide ghost payrollers and job spots for political people. One hack they call the hallwalker has no education and makes over $100,000 with no skills or training in his supposed field.

    17. Cut the number of alderman from 50 to 25 or 20 or even 10.

    18. Implement Term Limits
    2 6 year terms for Mayor
    3 4 year terms for Alderman
    The money and power is calcifying in the wrong places.

    19. Consolidate the Treasurer and Clerk into 1 appointed post. Why have elections on what de facto amounts to an appointment by the Mayor.

    20. Really eliminate patronage and thus eliminate the need for the millions wasted on the stupid Federal Monitor.

    21. Act right so you don’t have Sorich/Slattery indictments and federal monitors and stupid Shakman settlements where Michael Shakman will make 4,000,0000 in attorneys fees.

    22. The no bid and overbilling legal contracts that Mara Georges gives out to her mentor Brian Crowe at Shefsky or Freeborn Peters or other silly political connected overbilling law firms.

    23. Victor Reyes, just his family members on the city payroll, let alone the money he makes from no bid contracts on redisticting (Cost taxpayers 1,300,000) or his sisters company Aztec or pass through bs minority contacts.
    Let alone what Victor Reyes has cost in legal bills for investigations and law suits or all the criminal idiots who he put on the payroll (he probably put 1000 employees on the city payroll including his entire fat family)

    24. The whole property tax assessment and appeals which is for the politically connected
    Speaker Madigan got a 2,000,000 fee for his law firm when he saved a big airline $6,000,000 that could of gone to taxpayers
    Hynes, Houlihan and company make a lot of money from the current Byzantine tax system which does not work and favors politics
    Both commercial and homeowners are over taxed

    25. The Duffs at $50,000,000 of phony minority contracts for cleaning and other services that could of been done better and cheaper

    26. Grants to churches and non for profits that are political payback

    Eliminate politically connected art programs
    Eliminate the Inspector Generals office
    Eliminate 20 or 30 alderman
    Eliminate City Council committees
    Make a 10 or 20% across the board cut

    27. The Joyce cousins made a HALF A BILLION 500,000,000 of profit on the Cable buyout which was a joke

    28. Daley’s wife’s friends and Oscar Da’Angelo made money on concessions at O’Hare
    as did Tim Degnan with McDonalds

    29. The towing scandal

    30. The City of Chicago could probably fire at least 2000 political hack do nothing ghost payrollers

    We will get to education and pensions later

    November 10th – 3:17 p.m.
    Great ideas, Thomas. I agree with most except eliminating the IG’s office. If Hoffman were allowed to investigate city departments (and add the aldermen) without interference from Daley he would eliminate enough corruption to pay for his department tenfold.

    Pensions will be tough to tackle, especially with the new labor agreements. Daley 10-year, 4% raise per year contract with unions, minus meaningful benefit concessions, will handcuff the city. All in the name of the Great White Olympic Whale

  5. How reform-minded City Hall critic became a cozy insider
    ALLISON DAVIS | Foe of Daley I, now ally of Daley II — caught in glare of unwanted spotlight

    November 11, 2007
    BY TIM NOVAK Staff Reporter/
    As a young lawyer, Allison S. Davis was a City Hall outsider.

    He criticized Mayor Richard J. Daley over the 1968 riots. He worked to integrate Chicago neighborhoods. And he fought to elect judges based on legal ability, not political connections.

    » Click to enlarge image

    Allison S. Davis, pictured in 2003, has gotten deal after deal from Mayor Daley.
    (Keith Hale/Sun-Times)

    • Interactive map: Davis’ projects
    • Film role has parallels to his life
    • City land for Davis’ 2 sons

    He’s a loyal ally of Mayor Richard M. Daley, who appointed Davis to Chicago’s prestigious Plan Commission. Davis has gotten deal after deal from the mayor, helping to make Davis one of the city’s top developers. And Davis has forged strong ties to the Daley family, doing deals with one of the mayor’s nephews and giving legal business to Daley & George, mayoral brother Michael Daley’s law firm.

    Now, Davis finds himself in the glare of an unwanted spotlight.

    One of his business partners, William Moorehead, recently began serving a four-year prison sentence for stealing more than $600,000 from at least 13 federally funded housing projects he managed — including two buildings that he and Davis co-own. During the period Moorehead has admitted he was stealing the money, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned, he lent Davis $100,000 — a loan that has drawn scrutiny from federal investigators, though Davis hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

    Another of Davis’ business partners, former top political fund-raiser Tony Rezko, is set to stand trial in February on charges he demanded kickbacks from companies seeking state teacher pension business under Gov. Blagojevich, a friend of Rezko.

    Davis serves on a separate state pension board — the Illinois State Board of Investment — that also has been under federal investigation. Davis was appointed by Blagojevich, on Rezko’s recommendation.

    Davis, 68, declined repeated interview requests for this story. His spokesman asked that questions be submitted in writing. Davis then submitted written responses to some of them.

    Over the last decade, Davis and his partners got lots covering several city blocks from City Hall. They paid a total of more than $7 million for some of those lots. But they got many for free.

    ‘He likes to make money’
    Davis and his partners — including his sons Jared and Cullen — have gotten more than $100 million in taxpayer subsidies to build and rehabilitate more than 1,500 apartments and homes, primarily for the poor. His deals include a massive redevelopment of the Chicago Housing Authority’s notorious Stateway Gardens, across the Dan Ryan Expy. from Sox Park.

    It’s a lucrative business. Davis and his partners have made at least $4 million in development fees over the last decade.

    Still in the works: With Daley nephew Robert Vanecko, Davis is redeveloping another CHA project, along Chicago’s south lakefront. Their fees have not been disclosed.

    As Davis has become one of City Hall’s favored developers in the last 10 years, he also has become a major political player. He has donated more than $400,000 to dozens of political campaign funds. His top beneficiaries include Daley, Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama, who worked for several years as an attorney in Davis’ law firm.

    The evolution of Davis from City Hall critic to insider might seem unusual, but not to old friends and associates.

    “Does any of that surprise me? No,” said Robert Bennett, former dean of the Northwestern University Law School, who has known Davis since high school. “He’s an ambitious guy. He likes to make money.”

    Returns from Africa in ’67
    Davis grew up in Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago. His father, also named Allison Davis, was the university’s first African-American professor and was pictured in 1994 on a commemorative U.S. postage stamp.

    Davis attended three high schools: Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, the University of Chicago Lab School and Hyde Park High School.

    He has a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and a law degree from Northwestern University.

    After law school, Davis and his first wife moved to West Africa, where he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, coordinating smallpox-eradication efforts and vocational training in Mali.

    The couple returned to Chicago in 1967, at the height of the nation’s civil rights struggles. Davis took a job as a lawyer for the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council, a civic group often at odds with the late Mayor Daley over slums and integration.

    By 1969, Davis, then 29 and a lawyer at a small firm, co-authored a report, titled “Dissent In A Free Society,” that criticized City Hall’s refusal to issue parade permits to protesters who rioted during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

    “No one can accurately appraise the extent to which denial of peaceful expression resulted in violent confrontation,” said the report, written for the Chicago Citizens Commission to Study the Disorders of Convention Week.

    Making connections
    Around that time, Davis was among a group of young attorneys who founded the Chicago Council of Lawyers. Its chief aim: to elect judges based on legal skills rather than their ties to the Cook County Democratic Party.

    “Allison was a reform-minded lawyer, like me and some other young lawyers,” said Michael Shakman, who sued in federal court and won the landmark Shakman decree outlawing most City Hall patronage.

    “He’s obviously moved from one kind of career direction and orientation to another.”

    Some of those attorneys joined Davis in 1971 in setting up a small law firm — Davis Miner Barnhill — that focused on civil rights litigation and helping community groups redevelop Chicago neighborhoods. One partner, Judson Miner, went on to become City Hall’s top lawyer, under Mayor Harold Washington. Another firm lawyer, Carol Moseley-Braun, would become a U.S. senator.

    And the firm would later attract a young Harvard Law School graduate — the future Sen. Barack Obama.

    Among Davis’ first clients were his friends, Leon D. Finney Jr., head of The Woodlawn Organization, and Bishop Arthur Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God. Finney and Brazier developed Jackson Park Terrace, a 322-unit apartment building at 60th and Stony Island, built with government financing in 1971. Davis lists the project as the first of many low-income housing deals he has worked on as a lawyer, consultant, developer or owner.

    Davis soon began getting a string of government appointments. In 1974, Gov. Dan Walker put Davis on the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees state construction projects. He got other appointments from Gov. James R. Thompson and Mayor Washington, who named Davis to the Chicago Public Building Commission, a seat Davis held when Richard M. Daley was elected mayor in 1989.

    Two years later, Daley appointed Davis to the Chicago Plan Commission, a position Davis held until last January. His fellow commissioners included his high school classmate, Finney.

    As he served on the Plan Commission, reviewing major developments, Davis stepped up his own development activities. He was hired by George E. Johnson, the Chicago entrepreneur who made a fortune making Afro-Sheen and other hair-care products and cosmetics for African Americans. In 1994, Davis helped Johnson refinance Island Terrace, a 240-unit, low-income housing building at 6430 S. Stony Island. Johnson gave Davis a 10 percent stake and put him in charge of running the building.

    Davis hired William Moorehead & Associates, which managed housing projects across Chicago. Moorehead was a client of Davis’ law firm, and Davis and Moorehead were also business partners in housing deals.

    “I admired Allison a lot,” Johnson said. “He was very emotionally involved in the civil rights movement.”

    Davis gave up his law practice in 1996 to be a full-time developer and turned to Johnson and his wife, Joan, for backing. They gave Davis $500,000, becoming partners in several deals, but the relationship would sour within five years.

    “We made an investment to get Allison started in the developing business,” Johnson said.

    “We only had a few black developers at the time. Joan and I and Allison went to the mayor’s office. We wanted the mayor to know that we were interested in Allison being successful in this business,” he said.

    Johnson marvels at Davis’ success: “I’m amazed at how much he’s gotten out of City Hall.”

    The $100,000 loan
    Johnson split with Davis in 2002, after the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department discovered that Moorehead had been stealing from various housing projects — including Johnson’s Island Terrace.

    Johnson blamed Davis for hiring Moorehead.

    Moorehead pleaded guilty to fraud and other crimes last year, admitting he stole more than $600,000 from Island Terrace and other federally subsidized housing projects between 1994 and 2002 and used the money for personal expenses, covering up the thefts by improperly transferring money from one project to another.

    Moorehead had gotten a letter in 2000 from Davis, who said the sale and refinancing of their Evergreen Sedgwick housing project had been delayed for months. “I need to borrow $100,000 from the Island Terrace resources,” Davis wrote in the letter, dated June 15, 2000.

    Asked now about that letter, Davis said in a written response: “Mr. Moorehead made me a personal loan. I paid him back with interest six years ago.”

    ‘Not the good guy’
    Moorehead, who is cooperating in an ongoing federal investigation as part of his plea deal, said he would not discuss the loan, on the advice of his lawyer.

    After the thefts were discovered, Davis dumped Moorehead’s company and hired another firm to run Island Terrace — Urban Property Advisors, which is run by Davis’ son Cullen, who manages many of his father’s developments.

    Johnson sued Davis in 2003, charging that Davis mismanaged Island Terrace, letting the property fall into disrepair and failing to supervise Moorehead.

    The case went to arbitration and was settled last year. In the end, Davis had to give up his share of Island Terrace, but Johnson lost his stake in Davis’ companies.

    “He’s not the good guy I thought he was,” Johnson said.

    A second problem partner
    Rezko — Davis’ other problem partner — was involved in two major Chicago developments that Davis supported as a member of the city Plan Commission, even as the two men were business partners.

    The first, which came before the Plan Commission in March 2003, involved a housing development Rezko and his partner Dan Mahru went on to build along the Chicago River at Irving Park Road. Davis cast his vote for the project just a month after Rezko had helped Davis win an appointment from Blagojevich to the Illinois State Board of Investment, which oversees pension funds for state employees, judges and legislators.

    A year later, in March 2004, the Plan Commission approved Rezko’s proposal for the South Loop’s largest vacant property, 62 acres at Roosevelt and Clark.

    Rezko wanted to build stores and hundreds of homes on the riverfront property, with $140 million in city subsidies. The deal ultimately collapsed shortly before Rezko was indicted on unrelated charges.

    Before Davis voted to support Rezko’s deals, he said he checked with the city’s Law Department about whether his relationship with Rezko posed a problem.

    “I raised that issue with the corporation counsel at the time,” Davis said, “and was advised that it is not a conflict and I do not need to abstain from voting.”

    At the time Davis voted for those Rezko projects, the two men had a deal with the city to build three homes on formerly city-owned land, or face the prospect of having to give back the land.

    They only built two homes, but the city hasn’t moved to retake the land. One of those homes ended up going to Davis’ son Cullen.

  6. Daley says he’s unaware of allegations
    By Mickey Ciokajlo | Tribune staff reporter
    November 9, 2007

    Mayor Richard Daley said Thursday that he knew nothing about allegations his administration pressured business owners to sell property in Bridgeport to clout-heavy residential developers.

    Daley also said he was not aware the FBI is now investigating the matter.

    “I never heard of that,” Daley said of the allegation.

    Three industrial landowners who claim to have been muscled by City Hall said they were contacted by the FBI — two as recently as last week.

    Federal authorities apparently have taken an interest in development in the South Side neighborhood following the well-publicized problems of Bridgeport Village, a high-end project with players close to Daley. The city has said the homes have severe structural problems and need to be reinforced with steel braces to protect against high winds.

    The project also is the subject of a ongoing federal civil lawsuit in which a partner in the development, Thomas Snitzer, alleged City Hall orchestrated his removal as project manager.

    Snitzer alleged this occurred after he refused to continue making payments to project consultant Thomas DiPiazza, a longtime friend and business associate of former top Daley aide Timothy Degnan.

    Daley on Thursday downplayed the notion that federal authorities are looking into another aspect of his administration, highlighting the falling out between business partners and noting allegations often are made in civil suits.

    “Everybody files lawsuits. They file lawsuits everyday,” Daley said.


    Feds eye City Hall’s sway in Bridgeport
    Property owners say officials leaned on them to sell
    By Todd Lighty and Laurie Cohen | Tribune staff reporters
    2:07 PM CST, November 8, 2007
    Mayor Richard Daley said today that he knew nothing about allegations his administration pressured business owners to sell property in Bridgeport to clout-heavy residential developers. Daley also said he was not aware the FBI is now investigating the matter.

    “I never heard of that,” Daley told reporters. “Planning and Development is? I’ve never heard of that.” Asked how he regards the FBI looking into another area of his administration, Daley replied: “They look at everything. They look at your area, too. You have allegations, they do that all the time.”

    Federal authorities are investigating allegations that Mayor Richard Daley’s administration pressured property owners in the mayor’s native Bridgeport to sell to developers favored by City Hall.

    Three industrial landowners in the South Side neighborhood told the Tribune that they were contacted by the FBI — two as recently as last week. They contend that building inspectors harassed them, the city threatened to condemn their property or they were hit with unfavorable zoning after refusing to sell to political insiders for housing projects.

    The focus on Bridgeport development appears to be a new front in federal authorities’ investigation of alleged corruption in Daley’s administration. City Hall has already been shaken by convictions of Daley aides for taking bribes from contractors in the Hired Truck Program and for illegally rigging hiring to reward the mayor’s allies with jobs.

    FBI officials declined to comment.

    Jim Mazzochi, who owns a company that refinishes chrome car bumpers, said Wednesday that an FBI agent called him last week. Mazzochi, who referred the agent’s call to his lawyer, says the city bullied him to give up his land.

    “I think they want this for homes. I’m in their way,” said Mazzochi, who has run Chicago Plating in Bridgeport since the 1970s.

    Mazzochi and another landowner — who declined to be identified — were contacted by federal agents in late October, days after the Tribune detailed how a politically connected Bridgeport developer made a windfall profit by selling contaminated riverfront land to the city for a park.

    A third property owner, who also declined to be named, said he talked to the FBI several months ago.

    Complaints that Bridgeport businessmen were being muscled by City Hall have been brewing since 1999, with the start of the upscale Bridgeport Village housing development in the 11th Ward along the Chicago River. The project involved political heavy-hitters with close ties to the mayor.

    The project’s developers built 115 homes and had plans to acquire neighboring industrial land so they could construct hundreds more.

    The Tribune previously reported that Paul Levy, who owns a parking lot next to Bridgeport Village, said in a sworn court statement that he was threatened by a consultant for the project when he refused to sell his land. Levy said that consultant, Thomas DiPiazza, told him his property might be condemned by the city if he didn’t change his mind.

    Soon after, Levy got a letter from the city saying it intended to condemn his land and that inspectors found 169 building code violations at a nearby warehouse owned by Levy. The city ultimately withdrew its condemnation plan and did not fine Levy for the violations.

    DiPiazza is a longtime friend and business associate of Timothy Degnan, a former top aide to Daley. DiPiazza has declined to discuss Bridgeport Village.

    Mazzochi said DiPiazza also met with a real estate agent marketing the Chicago Plating property, but Mazzochi turned down the offer from Bridgeport Village developers.

    He says he then felt pressure from City Hall, which sent him a letter saying it might seize his property. He also said he has been targeted by city inspectors, including a team from various departments who recently arrived together in a van. An inspector who visited his property in 2002 with a police officer threatened to have Mazzochi thrown in jail, according to sworn testimony.

    The Tribune reported last month that DiPiazza and a partner bought a small piece of polluted land along the river for $50,000 in May 1998, a month before the city applied for a state grant to turn the property into a park. The two sold the land to the city in 2004 for $1.2 million, but the park has not opened.

    DiPiazza’s alleged role in acquiring property around Bridgeport Village was detailed earlier this year in a federal lawsuit filed by partner Thomas Snitzer against the city. Snitzer alleged that the city orchestrated his removal as manager because he refused to make additional payments to DiPiazza and to steer clear of property that 11th Ward power brokers had intended for others.

    City officials have said they helped persuade a state court to oust Snitzer because of numerous building code violations at the project.

    Bridgeport Village has since filed for bankruptcy protection and is selling off industrial property that it owns to pay creditors.

    Snitzer has alleged in Bankruptcy Court that the city might be blocking zoning changes on that property to force him to drop his federal lawsuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jacqueline Cox was so concerned about the charges that she ordered city officials to respond under oath.

    In sworn testimony last month, Ald. James Balcer (11th) denied that he had linked rezoning to Snitzer’s suit or that he ever based zoning decisions on political connections. “My concern is my community and the effect it will have on my community,” Balcer said.

  8. “More alderman dilute the power. Just a bunch of puppet Alderman in Chicago.”

    What power are you referring to?

    The power the mayor holds, when he only needs 26 rubber stamps out of 50?

    Or the power that the other 24 aldermen fail to even believe they have?

    Or would you be referring to the power held, and abused by, the biased appointments of the mayor’s rubber stamp aldermen on all of the vital council committees?

    Please try to convince your readers that getting 51 rubber stamps out of 100 aldermen is as easy as getting 26 rubber stamps out of 50.

    Please try to convince your readers that an alderman representing half the number of ward residents will be less responsive to those residents’ desires than that alderman is to the number of residents he/she is ‘representing’ now.

    Please try to convince your readers that the addition of 50 new aldermanic positions, requiring the election of 50 new citizens, and the cutting in half of each and every current ward, will result in the mayor’s machine having the same, or better, advantages than it has now.

    Please try to convince your readers that having to get half the number of votes to win an aldermanic election will make it harder for candidates independent of the machine to win an election.

    Please try to convince your readers that it will be easier to compromise and corrupt a majority of the proposed 100 aldermen city council, than it has been to compromise and corrupt a majority of the present 50 aldermen city council.

    Don’t forget to raise the argument that, in a 100 alderman city council, it would be much more difficult to get 51 aldermen to agree on much of anything, and that this would be a bad thing for the citizens, since, of course, it’s better for the city council to do harmful things, than it is to do no-things.

    Please be convincing.

    The mayor is depending on you to continue to support his favorite form of governing, namely, less aldermen to corrupt is better than more aldermen to corrupt.

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