What do Alderman Banks, Beny Garneata, and Mario Olivella have in common?

I think they made a famous Plumbing Inspector very mad! Michael McGann, Victor Crown and Patrick McDonough enjoyed the headline by Natasha Korecki exposing more corruption involving bribes for Chicago Plumbing Inspectors. I think Mayor Daley and Chicago Journeyman's Local 130 Union should be very nervous, scared even! I know why they did not allow me to be a Plumbing Inspector in Chicago, I don't take bribes! Nice job Chicago Inspector General! Patrick McDonoughChicago developer pleads guilty in bribe scheme
Garneata admits being a go-between for permits
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May 14, 2009
BY NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter / [email protected]
A Chicago developer and political campaign contributor pleaded guilty today in federal court to acting as a go-between in a bribe-for-permits scheme.
Beny Garneata, a Lincolnwood resident, admitted that, in December 2007, he acted as a go-between to pass on a bribe to a city plumbing inspector while pocketing some of the cash.
Garneata was charged with passing a $7,000 bribe to the inspector, Mario Olivella, who was also charged in the scheme.
Garneata is a onetime client of lobbyist James Banks, a powerful Chicago zoning lawyer whose uncle, Ald. William Banks, heads the City Council's Zoning Committee.
Garneata and his companies have made $23,000 in campaign contributions since 1999, including $5,600 to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and $4,000 to the 36th Ward Democratic Organization run by Banks.
He was among more than a dozen defendants charged in a 2008 crackdown on bribes tied to Chicago City Hall.
Federal authorities said the bribes were meant to speed, or fake, city building and zoning inspections.
Garneata is to be sentenced Aug. 13.

9 Replies to “What do Alderman Banks, Beny Garneata, and Mario Olivella have in common?”

  1. Affordable housing units used to turn a quick profit
    BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters
    Posted:05/15/2009 12:58 PM
    Affordable housing units used by many to turn a quick profit

    The Maxwell Street units were supposed to go to families. But many of them were bought up by single professionals, some of whom never lived there and some of whom rented them out. What’s more, some of the buyers already owned other homes.
    Fri, 15 May 2009 04:00
    BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters

    Mayor Daley promised that one-fifth of the homes built as part of the massive makeover of the historic Maxwell Street market would be set aside as affordable housing.

    Damaris Matis, a real estate agent, got to buy one of those 187 affordable homes.

    Matis, then 25 and single, already owned two condos and was making $43,782 a year when city housing officials deemed her eligible to buy an affordable one-bedroom condominium in the city-subsidized development, called University Village.

    She even got a $20,000 taxpayer-funded subsidy when she closed on the $190,500 condo on July 2, 2007, records show.

    Thirty-eight days later, Matis sold it — at a profit of $29,500.

    “I never even moved in,” says Matis, now 28. “I just decided to sell it.”

    The condo is no longer “affordable.” Matis sold it to a suburban couple who, under the city’s rules, didn’t have to meet any income guidelines. Now, that couple is leasing it out.

    It’s one of 50 taxpayer-subsidized affordable homes at University Village that have been resold — often within months — for huge profits.

    Those condos and town homes are no longer part of City Hall’s affordable-housing stock.

    Instead, they’re now home to doctors and other professionals.

    “That’s disgraceful,” says Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), the City Council’s leading advocate for affordable housing. “I don’t know what kind of monitoring the city is doing. That certainly looks like an abuse of the program.”

    It isn’t.

    The city never took steps to stop affordable buyers from flipping their homes at University Village, the 58-acre development being built by three clout-heavy businessmen: William F. Cellini, who earlier this year was indicted on corruption charges along with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich; Michael Marchese, a friend of Mayor Daley, and Richard Stein, an ally of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and other politicians.

    That’s just one of many loopholes with the development’s affordable-housing program, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation found.

    • The city required the affordable homes be set aside for families, but at least 67 percent were sold to young, single people instead. Those singles made, on average, $44,919 a year, according to records the city provided. Many of them worked for the city, state, university and other governments.

    • Fifty affordable homes were resold by the original buyers for an average profit of $63,710 — including six that resold for more than $100,000 over the original purchase price.

    • Some of the affordable condos went to people who already owned homes, including Matis, the real estate agent. Another was William Kowal, a Chicago firefighter who already owned a home on the Southwest Side. Both Matis and Kowal flipped their affordable homes within months.

    • One affordable condo was sold to Jeffrey Mauro, a 22-year-old whose father co-owns New West Realty, the company that was hired to sell University Village’s 900 homes, including the affordable units. Mauro tried to sell his condo for a $144,000 profit but ended up leasing it out, records show. He still owns it.

    • Some of the highest-income buyers of the affordable units — including Kowal — got taxpayer-financed subsidies, while some of the lower-income buyers got nothing.

    The 187 affordable homes are among 4,354 that City Hall has subsidized since Daley took office in 1989. How many are still affordable? City officials say they don’t know: They don’t keep track of that.

    The developers’ attorney, Kathleen M. Vyborny, declined to answer questions from the Sun-Times. But in an e-mailed statement, Vyborny said Cellini, Marchese and Stein had “followed faithfully” the 9-year-old redevelopment agreement between City Hall and the University of Illinois to turn the storied Maxwell Street market into a “campus town.”

    City Hall mandated that 21 percent of the homes be set aside for affordable housing. That was the price for the developers getting as much as $75 million in city funds through a City of Chicago “tax-increment financing” district created to help pay for the project. The TIF money is being used to pay for streets, sewers and sidewalks, and to provide the developers with up to $2.5 million so they can subsidize some buyers of the affordable homes.

    Affordable housing was one of the key points city officials used to justify razing the more-than-century-old Maxwell Street market to make way for the $750 million development that also includes new dormitories for UIC, as well as a 3,000-seat auditorium, conference facilities and stores.

    But city officials acknowledge that the affordable-housing program has had problems.

    “There were no restrictions on resale,” says Molly Sullivan, spokeswoman for the city’s Community Development Department.

    In fact, in her e-mail, Vyborny says the city and the university “anticipated that buyers might resell these units. Buyers who resell their affordable housing units early — before 10 years — must repay cash grants they received.”

    Matis was among 89 people who received one of those taxpayer-funded subsidies that ranged between $10,000 and $25,000, property records show. But there are no records of anyone repaying those subsidies when they resold their homes.

    Since the University Village deal was made, the city has changed its rules in an effort to preserve taxpayer-subsidized affordable housing forever.

    “Today, we have in place policies that address the issue of the resale of affordable units because we recognize the value of long-term affordability,” Sullivan says.

    Those new rules limit, for instance, the amount of profit someone can make when selling a taxpayer-funded affordable home. Also, those homes can be sold only to buyers whose income meets city eligibility guidelines.

    And city officials have decided that people who already a home cannot buy a taxpayer-subsidized affordable home.

    What happened at University Village is evidence that City Hall has failed to ensure that affordable housing is available for people who need it the most, says Julie Dworkin of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

    “Something’s going on that’s not totally kosher in terms of these units getting resold right away and not remaining affordable,” says Dworkin. “It just demonstrates that it’s not benefitting people who are in great need of affordable housing.”

  2. You will never take him down. He knows the city like the back of his hand. Patrick McDonough is like a little misquito that you just flick away. The mayor is not worried about you at all. In fact he gets a good laugh out of you when he sits and counts his money. Your a good diversion towards other things. Good luck, you’ll need it…

  3. I know why they did not allow me to be a Plumbing Inspector in Chicago, I don’t take bribes! Nice job Chicago Inspector General! Patrick McDonough

    Please refer to Page 44 of 59 of the clout list as follows:

    Patrick McDonough W M J 2231 10/11/1996 List Gerry Sullivan from the union

    So this was our own mr Clean, I am a victim of clout who tried to get the union a promotion to Plumbing Inspector-look like you tried but did not get it. Pat you are such a Hypocrite.

    By the way the City Lawyers know all abo this one Pat.

    (Response) We will get to the bottom of this when they get the Business Manager from Plumber’s Local 130 on the stand. I would like to hear what they say on the stand, in Federal Court, in front of a Federal Judge, and Prosecutor…. get the point!

  4. Some people have a lot of nerve, Denise [email protected]#$, of all people is spreading the rumors that Vanessa Qu&*^ is going on Family and Medical leave to have Picardi’s baby on June 1st. Denise Lan*** has been selling herself to the highest bidder for years. After having the baby of a married man with Streets and Sanitation, who got caught in that hired truck scandal you would think she would keep her mouth shut.

  5. He got 11 and one forth hour of overtime last week! The Department of Water Management is loaded with money! Look at all the contractors raking in the money! Keep it for real!

  6. Plumbing inspector convicted of bribery, conspiracy
    Comments

    January 5, 2010

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A federal jury Tuesday convicted a Chicago plumbing inspector accused of overlooking code violations and pushing through permits.

    Mario Olivella, 42, was convicted of two counts of bribery and conspiracy for taking bribes to overlook code violations at a building at 1637 W. Granville that is being converted to condos. He faces up to 15 years in prison at his May 28 sentencing.

    Prosectors alleged Olivella’s $105,000 credit card debt and $1 million debt to mortgage lenders provided ample motivation for graft.

    One payoff came in the form of an envelope stuffed with $9,000 delivered to Olivella in the parking lot of East of Edens Restaurant, according to trial testimony.

    Dumitru and Lavinia Curescu, the husband-and-wife developers also on trial for paying the bribes, received separate decisions.

    The jury could not reach a verdict on Dumitru and a mistrial was declared. Charges remain pending and he could be retried. His wife, Lavinia, was acquitted of all charges.

    Olivella is the 12th of 17 city workers snagged in a federal investigation dubbed Operation Crooked Code to be convicted.

    Ten other non-city workers charged in the probe include contractors, developers and expediters, who are hired by developers to shepherd applications through the permitting process more quickly.

    Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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    capt paddy wrote:
    shakdown, breakdown, your busted. What Union was Mario in? How does that fit into the picture? What business agent did he deal with? What Alderman? Hmmmmm. We need to focus now!
    1/5/2010 9:47 PM CST on suntimes.com
    Recommend Report Abuse

    focus wrote:
    This is no surprise the Building Department is certainly a group crack criminals for Mayor Daley. We can lay the blame for deaths of many citizens on the thugs. Like 713 .W. Wrightwood,E2, and other deaths. This is the same department that spawn Christopher Kozicki,William Rooney,Kurt Burger,James Haran,Stan Kaderbek,Brian McGinnis,James Harney,Peter Ousley,Dennis Mondero,all criminals.Retired Inspectors operating as licensed permit expediters,or bag men.Don’t worry Mario,your friend Michael Reese who will be sentenced soon will be there for you,as will Jose Hernandez. To the remaining unindicted Building and Zoning malefactors,don’t fall on your swords for Daley ,save yourselves!!! FLIP.
    1/5/2010 9:06 PM CST on suntimes.com
    Recommend Report Abuse

    imc wrote:
    So Mr. Olivera you’re going to prison. Well I think I should share a few tips with you just so you’re not holding someones belt loops on the first day.

    1)Speak only when spoken to. This might be a little difficult for a loudmouth such as yourself.
    2)Show some respect, earn some respect. Again, I know this is a whole new concept for you. After all these guys will be in your face not on the phone as you were previously accustomed.
    3)Get yourself a good prison job. The kitchen can always use another Puerto Rican. Oh sorry, I mean Cuban.
    4)One of those big CHICAGO PLUMBERS LOCAL 130 2010 CALENDARS will come in handy for keeping track of who “owns you” that particular week.
    5)Careful not to urinate on the electric fence. You’ll pass out and wake up surrounded by several happy inmates and a very sore rear end.

    Well good luck! Couldn’t of happen to a better guy.
    1/5/2010 7:11 PM CST on suntimes.com
    Recommend Report Abuse

    here it goes wrote:
    All City inspector’s should be tested all over again to see if they really understand their job.

    Seems why taxpayers to get the 311 request answered about illegal conversions go untouched.

  7. I personally think that the punishment is to freaking harsh. Because its hard in this world. But what I don’t get is why is it okay for people in office why can they do all kinds of crooked stuff but nothing happens to them but a slap on the hand and that’s it I think that its not fair its plain I’ll bullshit innocent people don’t even get a chance but quick to lock them up that’s bullshit that’s all the whole government is coruptso what does that tell you.

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