* We have a new tagline for mayoral candidate Gery Chicago: Millionaire city hall lobbyist…
A City Hall insider for decades, Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico has made millions of dollars in the last few years from his law firm that lobbies for clients seeking city business, according to three years of tax returns he released Tuesday.
Chico’s 2009 federal income tax return shows he and his wife, a school consultant, made $2.6 million. The couple paid about $830,000 in federal taxes on their income. They paid more than $900,000 in federal taxes the year before, when they declared $2.9 million in earnings, according to the records. […]
Chico’s law firm, Chico & Nunes, is a registered City Hall lobbyist for more than 40 companies — including large corporations such as Cisco Systems, Exelon Generation and Clear Channel — according to city records.
Chico said that if he is elected mayor, he would sever ties with the law firm but would not ask the firm to give up its business lobbying at City Hall.
I know lots of lobbyists. Almost all are more honest and scrupulous than many people I know outside of politics. The problem is, the common folk don’t think so. To them, lobbyists carry bags of cash around to hand out to crooked politicians. If Chico does start to surge, Rahm Emanuel can use that tagline against him. And it’ll probably be effective. That last statement about refusing to ask his firm to stop lobbying the city just makes it worse.
*** UPDATE *** From the Chico campaign…
- Gery isn’t a lobbyist and hasn’t had that registration since he was appointed to the Park District in 2007.
- Gery’s law firm isn’t primarily a lobbying firm - most revenues come from litigation, federal regulatory law, real estate transactions, construction safety and employment.
- if Gery is elected, he would sever all ties with the firm. As mayor, he would go further and restrict his old firm from being eligible from bidding on any city contracts. (just fyi, as part of his ethics plan, Gery would also abolish no-bid contracts and put everything out to competitive bid, which could save the city millions…)
- A little context here in terms of transparency. The Trib asked for his tax returns about 3 weeks ago, and we provided this openly and transparently as soon as Gery’s accountant prepared it for us. I believe Gery is the only serious competitor who has been working in the private sector, and we released three years of his tax returns…. and others like Rahm Emanuel, Carol Mosely Braun & James Meeks have yet to release their tax returns.
* This could be a case of the headline and the lede not matching the actual substance. “Burnett might lose spot on ballot“…
The chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus is in danger of being knocked off the ballot because of outstanding fines stemming from code violations at a pair of Chicago properties he allegedly owns.
But scroll down…
Other sources said Kasper is arguing that at least one of the outstanding fines stem from an eight-year-old citation issued to the “correct address, but the wrong” real estate identification or PIN number.
“His name got dragged into it,” a source said of Burnett. “The citation was for work done without a permit. The property [Burnett] owns is vacant.”
Before filing for re-election, Burnett asked the city to run a “debt check” on him. It came back “clean,” said a source close to the alderman.
* We haven’t heard the last of this one, methinks…
Weeks after Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios drew criticism for putting his son and sister on the payroll, a report was sent out by two county watchdogs reminding of ethics rules against hiring kin.
The two-page “advisory,” co-authored by county Inspector General Patrick Blanchard and ethics board chief MaryNic Foster, doesn’t go after Berrios specifically, but tongues are wagging about the timing of its release and the clear reminder of the ethics ordinance, which prohibits county elected officials and other employees from hiring or immediately supervising a relative. […]
Asked whether Berrios might rethink the hires considering he may have violated county ethics law, [spokeswoman Kelley Quinn] said: “Absolutely not. I think because we do have them here, this transition has gone smoothly.”
* Springfield’s Education Reforms And The Chicago Mayoral Race
* Coming To Their Consensus - Blacks labored in vain to unite behind a single mayoral candidate. Meanwhile, all but one of the top white contenders have bowed out.
* Inspector General urges City Hall adopt no-gift policy: “This is an area that is fraught with the possibility of bribery at worst and the appearance of impropriety at best…A history of unchecked gift-giving…creates a perception of partiality,” Ferguson wrote.
* Preckwinkle names new aides on county contracts: The county’s new purchasing agent is Maria de Lourdes Coss, a Chicago city official who most recently worked as a purchasing director at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The new contract compliance director is E. LaVerne Hall, most recently at the Chicago Public Schools business diversity office.
* VIDEO: Susana Mendoza - Public Affairs