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Mendoza reverses course, jettisons Solis/VAP money

Thursday, Jan 24, 2019


Chicago mayoral hopeful Susana Mendoza received a big infusion of campaign cash last year from the political organization of Ald. Danny Solis (25th Ward) — who is a mole in the federal corruption investigation against powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward).

Records show Solis’ 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization gave $55,400 on March 15 to Mendoza. She was re-elected as Illinois comptroller in November, but promptly declared her candidacy for mayor in next month’s election. […]

“If Danny Solis is charged with wrongdoing, Susana will donate the contribution,” the spokeswoman, Rebecca Evans, said in a statement sent to WBEZ.

On the same day as the contribution from Solis, Mendoza received another $45,200 from five companies whose board members are investors in a firm founded by Solis’ sister Patti Doyle Solis and one of the alderman’s longtime supporters, lawyer Brian Hynes.

That company, Vendor Assistance Program LLC, is based in Chicago and has been a major beneficiary of a program to speed payments to government contractors owed money from the state.

* Mendoza has since changed her mind…

Today, Susana Mendoza released the below statement announcing she is donating all contributions received from VAP affiliated organizations and individuals and Danny Solis’ political committees to the Montford Point Marines, and calling on Toni Preckwinkle to end her lies and follow Susana’s lead on providing transparency. Attached is a check proving Susana Mendoza’s donation to the Montford Point Marines.

“I am donating $73,900 received from Danny Solis’ political organizations and $67,650 received from VAP related organizations and individuals to the very worthy Montford Point Marines war heroes and veterans to save their chapter hall in Englewood and help fund critical repairs. These were legal contributions that were fully disclosed as is required by law. Nonetheless, given new information that has come to light regarding these individuals and organizations, my value system dictates that I immediately donate these funds to this worthy cause. I call on Toni Preckwinkle to do the same within 24 hours with the $116,000 she received from the Ed Burke fundraiser that is now the subject of an FBI criminal complaint. By waiting until the end of March to return this tainted money, she is choosing to use dirty money to get her through this mayoral election. That’s shameful. From accepting an illegal campaign contribution from an alleged extortion scheme, to covering up sexual harassment allegations against her chief of staff, to firing the head of her security detail to cover up using a county vehicle for political purposes, to yesterday’s revelation of a patronage hiring, it’s clear that Toni Preckwinkle is the boss of the party bosses and is the last person who can be trusted to end this backroom culture of corruption she’s been a part of over the last quarter of a century.”

* From the comptroller’s office…

Due to the catastrophic budget impasse, the state racked up more than $1 billion in late payment interest penalties. Comptroller Mendoza was the first public official to loudly raise the alarm about this wasteful spending. She has also criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the state’s Vendor Payment Program (VPP) since she first took office.

Not only has Comptroller Mendoza prioritized social services, schools, universities, healthcare and pensions ahead of qualified purchasers during the budget impasse, she also championed the Vendor Payment Program Transparency Act to shed light on the program. For the first time since the program’s creation, qualified purchasers and the program’s financial backers are now displayed in a monthly report on the Comptroller’s Office Website.

Representatives of the purchasers went before a legislative committee in the spring to bemoan that fact that they felt they were not being paid quickly enough. The Vendor Payment Program played an important role in keeping many vendors afloat during Illinois’ 793-day impasse. The state owes these interest penalties, and they will be paid. But there is still a $7.7 billion backlog of unpaid bills that the Comptroller’s office must triage. In paying those bills, Comptroller Mendoza will do what she has always done: prioritize education and care for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Things to know:

    * The oldest commercial voucher is late September. We’re working on finishing paying September, but we are more current with education and other priority payments like pensions and debt service.

    * The oldest interest vouchers date back to 2016.

As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that Mendoza gave Vendor Assistance Program LLC any preferential treatment. But campaigns being campaigns, this is probably a wise move. The check was written out of her Friends For Susana Mendoza account, which is her statewide account, and it pretty much wipes out all the money left in that fund.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    good. now can Toni take back talking to Ed Burke about hiring his son?

  2. - Rocky Rosi - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    This is why most people never run for elected office. And the beat goes on…..

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    The level of hot potato tossing here is getting comical. Burke and Solis who? Funny seeing a person neck deep in ties to those two chastising her opponent for being in deeper.

  4. - PJ - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    I love Chicago. We get to get to choose between Mendoza’s deep ties to corrupt aldermen, Preckwickle’s deep ties to corrupt aldermen, or the coronation of King Daley VIII.

    I worked in Chicago politics for two years, and I have yet to meet an alderman I wouldn’t prefer to see behind bars.

  5. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    There are 11 people running who aren’t Preckwinkle, Mendoza or Daley.

  6. - Huh? - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    I never liked a politician repaying a donation from a tainted donor. Same with giving a like amount of money to a not for profit organization. How does the repayment or donation “clean” the original political donation from a now untouchable person?

    Money is fungible. The politician isn’t returning the original cash. The repayment or donation doesn’t change the fact that a tainted donor gave a donation to a politician. The payment or donation whitewashes a seedy relationship.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    –As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that Mendoza gave Vendor Assistance Program LLC any preferential treatment. –

    I wonder what would be “preferential treatment” for a company like VAP? Getting paid late, on a regular basis, to get more juice?

    Not a good look for the comptroller, regardless.

  8. - west wing - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    The David Binder poll that shows 34 percent undecided in the mayor’s race — that could be the key. With the toxicity of the Burke-Solis mess splattering ink (and worse), with that trend continuing as new revelations hit, with an intense media scrutiny that will only grow — I can foresee the Mendoza and Preckwinkle campaigns heading into a nose dive. The good old boys helped build their careers, and the good old boys may bring them down.

  9. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    ===There are 11 people running who aren’t Preckwinkle, Mendoza or Daley.===

    And one of them, Gery Chico, was endorsed by Ed Burke. So that leaves 10 from which to choose.

    I wish we could have Vallas and Lightford in the run-off, but I don’t think we deserve good choices given our history of electing criminals and mopes to office.

  10. - Regular democrat - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    BGA will be all over VAP and i dont think Mendoza will be happy

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    ==There are 11 people running who aren’t Preckwinkle, Mendoza or Daley==

    Not in this universe. I would love for Lori Lightfoot to win, but I’m joined by about 2% of the Chicago electorate who has ever heard her name.

  12. - Water is Wet - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 11:53 am:

    @47th Ward, You nailed it. What’s even more infuriating, because Mendoza and Preckwinkle have these problematic ties to ongoing corruption scandals, their names are dominating the news cycle even more than before, which keeps hurting Vallas and Lightfoot on the name recognition front.

  13. - Mendoza fan - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    So, the lenders complain in legislative hearings that Mendoza won’t jump them in line ahead of schools and hospitals to get their money; they donate to her campaign to try to get her to speed up payments; She tells them “no” and squashes their proposed bill to force her to pay them more quickly and instead passes a bill to force them to disclose who is making money on this. Looks like the donors got squat from Mendoza for their donations to her campaign. Sounds like a quality you’d want in a mayor.

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===Getting paid late, on a regular basis, to get more juice===

    I checked on this. They don’t get interest on what’s owed only to them.

  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Is she the front runner now?

  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    I miss Elizabeth Brackett, but today I miss her even more. Imagine the book she would have written about the 2019 Mayoral race.

  17. - "Old Timer Dem" - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    Mendoza is going to have a myriad of problems explaining her close past relationships with Burke, Solis and Madigan. Her next poll will likely show her dropping in popularity about as much as her previous poll saw Preckwinkle sinking.

  18. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    Preckwinkle is the one taking the biggest beating out of the Burke situation. Chicago voters are well aware of who he is while Solis has minimal name recognition to hurt Mendoza. Susana built up a lot of good will with voters while she battled Rauner the last 2 years. Unless there’s more to come, like a Solis indictment or news that she was caught on tape saying something sketchy, this will not have that great of an impact on her.

  19. - Duopoly - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    @”Old Timer Dem” =Mendoza is going to have a myriad of problems explaining her close past relationships with Burke, Solis and Madigan.=

    Since you left out your darling Aaron Schock I’m assuming that your not really a “Dem”.

  20. - WSJ Paywall - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    =Since you left out your darling Aaron Schock I’m assuming that your not really a “Dem”.=

    Most Dems I know haven’t heard about the Mendoza/Schock connection, honestly.

  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    =Most Dems I know haven’t heard about the Mendoza/Schock connection, honestly.=

    Ignorance is bliss.

  22. - Long time D - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    I must be stupid for even asking but what connection between Mendoza and Schock ?

  23. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 9:17 pm:

    ===Getting paid late, on a regular basis, to get more juice===

    I checked on this. They don’t get interest on what’s owed only to them.–

    Real honest journalism, with the follow-up, in action. Thank you, brother.

  24. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Jan 25, 19 @ 3:36 am:

    Nothing to see here folks just bidness as usual, move along..oh and to all my former neighbors vote accordingly.

  25. - Anon - Friday, Jan 25, 19 @ 9:30 am:

    Which campaign will make the ad giving Mendoza a yellow card and then a red card, saying she should be out of consideration for voters?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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