* 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.