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*** UPDATED x1 *** Rumors fly about Meeks, but he denies them all

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

* From Mark Brown’s column today

Sun-Times reporters Tim Novak and Abdon M. Pallasch report that a single individual, Arthur J. Hardy Jr., is listed as the circulator who gathered some 7,000 signatures on nominating petitions for two mayoral candidates — 3,160 for the Rev. James Meeks and 3,990 for Rob Halpin, the real estate developer renting Rahm Emanuel’s house.

That’s a lot of signatures for any one individual to gather in a short time, which is all Halpin had after launching his last-minute mayoral bid, egged on by those seeking to accentuate the issue of whether Emanuel meets the city’s residency requirement for citywide candidates.

I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but if you couple Mr. Hardy’s prolific output with the fact he lists his address as an Uptown homeless shelter, there’s a reasonable basis for asking some questions, such as whether he really collected all those signatures or whether somebody got carried away signing his name.

At the going rate of $1 per signature — which is what professional petition circulators typically are paid — that would also mean somebody owes Hardy a nice chunk of change. One of the other interesting questions would be who it is that hired him — and whether it’s the same person for both candidates.

I checked with Sen. Meeks today about this and he flatly denied any connection. “I don’t need to roll like that,” he said. Meeks said he has had zero contact with Halpin, never met him and totally denied any involvement by his campaign. Meeks said his campaign decided during the last week of filing to hire people to help pad his signature totals and that Hardy was apparently hired during that time period. But, he said, there was no connection between Hardy’s work for Meeks and Hardy’s work for Halpin.

A check of campaign expenditure reports shows that Arthur Hardy has apparently never received any money from any campaign in the past. This could just be a homeless guy trying to get himself out of poverty. If so, good for him. But pure coincidences are few and far between in Chicago (and Illinois, for that matter), so Meeks will probably have to deal with this for a while even if he is innocent.

* Meanwhile, we have this from Chicago Pride

Requesting anonymity, a source in Springfield tells ChicagoPride.com that State Sen. and Rev. James Meeks, who represents the 15th District on Chicago’s south side, has allegedly been working behind the scenes with other African-American ministers to derail passage in the House as an effort to keep the legislation from making it to the Senate, thus relieving the prominent minister from declaring his vote, for or against, on record.

“Rev. Meeks has been playing fast and loose with the LGBT community,” said the source.

Meeks also flatly denied this report, adding: “I have not spoken with a single person in Springfield about the civil unions bill.”

*** UPDATE *** Both of Sen. Meeks’ House members, Reps. David Miller and Will Davis, said this morning that Meeks has never spoken to them about the civil unions bill.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


19 Comments
  1. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:32 am:

    “I have not spoken with a single person in Springfield about the civil unions bill.”

    Now that would be odd…


  2. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:44 am:

    Of course he hasn’t spoken with anyone in Springfield. They’ve been out of session. Non-denial denial, you betcha.


  3. - bored now - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:45 am:

    not really. it’s much more likely the sen. meeks was parsing his comment to keep this issue at arms length. after all, most of the people he could possibly have talked to about this (sen. cullerton, other african american legislators, etc) are in cook county, not springfield. his comment does not preclude that whatsoever…


  4. - Pioneer P. - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:46 am:

    If that guy was getting a buck a signature, he won’t be homeless for long. $$$


  5. - LouisXIV - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:46 am:

    I agree that Meeks’ “denial” is not a denial at all. He is accused of working with other black ministers behind the scenes (presumably putting pressure on black state reps to vote no) all or most of whom would be in Chicago. Thus, saying he has not spoken to anyone in Springfield is probably true and completely irrelevant.


  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:55 am:

    LouisXIV, you misread what I wrote or I wasn’t clear enough. He denied the report and then added the rest.


  7. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:00 am:

    wow, Meeks and Emanuel with issues on circulators. Meeks with the overlap, Rahm with the out of city people. the fur is flying!


  8. - chiatty - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:08 am:

    Meeks, a preacher, not tell the truth?

    Meeks, a man of God, shade the truth?

    Meeks, a politician attempt to misrepresent?

    As he said, he doesn’t “need to roll like that”.

    Yeah, right.


  9. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    I think Rev./Sen. Meeks is trying to keep the bill out of the Senate. If it makes it to the Senate, he has no choice but to vote yes. If he votes no, the GLBT Community will go viral against him, similar to the efforts against Senator Brady, to keep him out of City Hall. Meeks does not want to be subjected to that. The unfortunate thing for him on top of this, is that now he has to deny and maybe even abandon his alleged secret efforts against Rep. Harris’ bill.

    On a personal note - Go Greg, get it passed.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    Meeks can’t duck the civil unions issue, Senate vote or not. That train left long ago.


  11. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    More evidence that Meeks is a politician first and a Baptist Minister a distant second.

    Meeks will lose badly for mayor for the same reason Bill Brady lost for governor. He’s running away from positions he supposedly has held for years and in the process making no one happy and raising distrust on all ends of the spectrum. Like Brady, Meeks is not a leader. He’s an opportunist.


  12. - Real 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    Please discuss why having a valid number of signatures mandates either a political army exists, or A CANDIDATE HAS INDIVIDUALS GET SIGNATURES FOR MONEY. Thanks.


  13. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:08 am:

    I think that it is also interesting that Carol Moseley Braun collected a substantial number of petition signatures using paid circulators and that her campaign is using Mike Noonan as an advisor.

    Are the Madigans hedging their bets on Emanuel or is Braun being used as a stalking horse to divide the African American vote?


  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Uptown Update reports that Mr. Hardy is a registered sex offender.

    However, since the addresses don’t match its not clear that its the same Arthur Hardy.


  15. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    Instead of asking Meeks if he made a secret deal, how about if someone just asks him for his position on the record :)


  16. - Fed up - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    Ghost,
    let me respond as Sen,Rev Meeks I have not yet seen/read the bill so it would be premature to comment on it. Thank you.


  17. - meg - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 1:40 pm:

    Uptown Update reports that Mr. Hardy is a NONCOMPLIANT sex offender. Lovely.


  18. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 5:33 pm:

    Quite honestly, all of this is kind of stuff that makes your stomach turn–who is this Hardy guy anyway and why can’t Meeks get the requisite number of signatures without having to pay out thousands to others? MANY other pols NEVER PAY A DIME TO ANYONE to get on the ballot–and for positions requiring as many or more sigs. than he needed…he’s a decent guy–it’s just not his time (if ever) and his entry into the race (like Mosely-Braun) was ill-advised and untimely. The only hope the African American community had (and still COULD have) in this race for Mayor is the one who the Black Community’s LEADERSHIP ordained…(no pun intended, James), but none other than the highly qualified, well-rounded, and wise old civic leader, one U.S Rep. Danny Davis. Period. Ask him about ill-conceived and untimely runs–like his OWN for this job way back in 1991 against Mayor Daley–it wasn’t his time. Now is. But unless a substantial number of blacks finally coalesce around their one and only realistic chance at regaining the power and clout of the Harold Washington era– and enough liberals, progressives and independent-minded thinkers who look at the overall picture and recognize the Congressman’s overall superior status, wisdom, and moxy to fairly and competently manage one gargantuan-sized heck of a politically complex and challenging American City to run and join them to bring victory…then, instead, Mr. Rahm will easily carry the day both by default since he, too, has at least a decent public background as Blago’s Congressional successor and working with the Prez., but more so it would happen as a result of his intransigent, focused perseverance, perceived clout with the leader of the free world, adequate-enough roots in Chicago, and the BIGGGG money to buy SO many generality/feel-good type “Now ain’t I such a friendly, yet short n’ serious kinda Chicago guy who if he says he cares about you, and has some vague(sounds somewhat eerily Bradyesque, doesn’t it?) kind of plan to keep Chicago moving ahead” …(Just what IS all of that Gobbledygook rhetorical stuff ANYway?!) TV COMMERCIALS and whatever other similar-type Ads he creates for public indigestion. There’s still time for a good old-fasioned City of Big Shoulders mayoral electoral battle, but with Meeks and Braun persisting in gumming it up for the one and only other viable candidate besides Mr. Ex-Chief of Staff (sorry, Gerry), Mr. Washington D.C. comes, or returns to, Chicago wins….


  19. - buggydune - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 7:46 am:

    Looks like further research needs to be done on this Arthur J. Hardy Jr. fellow. That’s quite an impressive stat, 7,000 signatures for two separate candidates. Like the comment I heard on WGN this morning, Professor Paul Green likened Mr. Hardy to a new breed of CLOUT in Chicago…”homeless clout.”


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