Ald. Michelle Harris (8) raised more money than anyone else on the City Council in February, adding roughly $166k to her personal campaign fund as she runs for Clerk for the Circuit Court of Cook County. Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) trailed far behind in second place, reporting about $27K in new money over the same period. Meanwhile, two aldermen received donations from a construction company that has been doing business with the city since 2001, and one alderman reported a $50k donation from one individual, which is significantly higher than the $5.4K cap imposed on individual contributions to personal campaign funds.

Notable Individual Contributions:

  • Ald. Carrie Austin (34) reported a $50k contribution from Patrick Heneghan, a business litigation partner at the law firm of Schopf & Weiss, LLP. That amount is well beyond the $5.4k cap imposed on individual contributions to personal campaign funds. (Aldertrack called Ald. Austin’s office to determine if the amount is a typo, but they did not confirm with us by publication deadline.)

  • Ald. Austin also got a $1K donation from Ald. Ed Burke’s Burnham Committee. In January, Ald. Austin joined Burke in using a parliamentary procedure to delay a vote by the City Council on plan to put the city’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson in charge of investigating aldermen. That move gave them enough time push a diluted version of the ordinance through the council.  

  • Custom Strains, a medical marijuana dispensary that got approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals in November to open a dispensary in the 28th Ward, donated $3k to Ald. Jason Ervin (28). ZBA had previously approved a special use permit for Custom Strains to open a dispensary in Fulton Market (1105 W. Fulton Market St.), but according to the company’s attorney, Jim Banks, who spoke at the November ZBA meeting, unnamed “obstacles” at that site proved too difficult to allow the project to proceed. Instead, his clients found another site: an old car dealership at 1301 S. Western Ave, located within a few blocks from the Illinois Medical District, Garfield Park, and the Union Pacific Railyard. Ald. Ervin spoke in favor of the dispensary at that ZBA hearing, noting its close location to area hospitals and the applicant’s commitment to refurbish a building that had been vacant for over five years.

  • Benchmark Construction, a building company that does business with the city, gave money to two aldermen: $2.5k to Ald. Deb Mell (33) and $1k to Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6). In 2014, the company won a $11.2M city contract the 37th Street Sewer Improvement Project, among more than 40 other city construction contracts dating back to 2001.

  • The Magellan Development Group, the real estate firm behind the famed Wanda Vista project, donated $2.5K to Ald. Brendan Reilly’s (42) personal campaign fund. The Plan Commission and the Council recently approved a planned development for the “supertall” downtown lakefront skyscraper that will consist of four interconnected, all glass, curve-shaped buildings, each one taller than the next. David Carlins, a developer with Magellan, also donated $2.5k to Ald. Reilly.

  • Fred Eychaner, owner of Newsweb Corporation, a Chicago-based company that owns several ethnic and alternative newspapers, gave money to two Aldermen, Deb Mell and Scott Waguespack (32). His $1K and $1.5K contribution to them, respectively, dwarfs the $400K he gave to Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Kim Foxx in February.

  • The Peter Kamberos Revocable Trust donated $2.5k to Ald. James Cappleman (46). Kamberos is the husband of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

  • Kimbal Goluskapresident of the Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc. and a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce donated $5,000 to the 4th Ward Democratic Organization. She is a proponent of opening a casino in downtown Chicago.

Biggest Fundraisers:

  • Ald. Michelle Harris (8), who is running for Clerk for the Circuit Court of Cook, raised more money than anyone else on the City Council in February, adding roughly $166k to her newly-created personal campaign fund, Citizens for Michelle Harris. But that number isn’t truly representative of how much cash she brought in for the month of February, since it includes a $48K transfer from her other, older campaign fund, Friends of Michelle Harris, which is still active. That fund closed out the the fourth quarter of 2015 with about $228,600 in the bank, and received only one contribution in February: a $2.5K transfer from Ald. Will Burns (4). Meanwhile, Ald. Harris’ new fund reeled in some sizable checks from MWRD Commissioner Marty Durkan ($50k), the Construction & General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago ($10K), and Grosvenor Capital Management($25K). The Durkan transfer helped pay for these double sided mailers blasting Gov. Rauner.

  • Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) was the second highest fundraiser on the City Council for the month of February, reeling in about $27K in political contributions. The largest check came from Michael Bisbee, Owner of LGN Group. He also got a $3.5K contribution from Bill Gritsonis, a consultant with PCG Consulting, Inc., a management consulting firm based in Boston, MA, “that serves primarily public sector education, health and human services agencies, and other state, county, and municipal government clients.” Ald. Reilly also transferred $15k from his personal campaign fund (Citizens for Alderman Reilly) to the 42nd Ward Democratic Organization, which he also controls as 42nd Ward Democratic Committeeman.

  • In addition to receiving money from Benchmark Construction, Ald. Sawyer reported campaign donations from the Illinois Hotel-Motel Political Action Committee($1K); Unison Consulting, a Chicago-based, “leading aviation consulting firm” that is certified as a minority and disadvantaged business, according the the company’s website ($1K); Nikki Zollar, a member of the board of trustees for Chicago State University ($1.7K); and Killerspin, LLC, a table tennis facility ($1K).

  • Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) reported five $1K contribution checks from Baker Development Corporation, the real estate firm that oversaw the development of the 180,000-square-foot big box retail complex located on the border of Lincoln Park and Bucktown. It’s directly across the Chicago River from the Lathrop Homes, a public housing complex that will soon become a massive mixed-used development once the City Council approves the master plan for the site. That Lathrop plan calls for 50,000-square-feet of commercial retail, which Ald. Waguespack opposes because there’s no shortage of retail space in the area, his Chief of Staff Paul Sajovec told the Plan Commission. Two of those checks Ald. Waguespack reported list a different limited liability corporation (2230 Elston, LLC; Baker Lincoln, LLC) with the same address: 1156 W. Armitage Ave., the headquarters for Baker Development.  Checks from 105 Madison OPCO, Inc. and W & A Baker Building Trust list the same address as the two LLCs. One check from Elston Development, LLC lists a separate address on the SBOE website, but according to state records, the LLC is owned by Baker Development, too. Ald. Waguespack also got $1k from Midtown Athletic and $2.5k from Steven Schwartz, owner of the Midtown Athletic Club.

  • IL State Sen. Tony Munoz’s 12th Ward Regular Democratic Organization raised $12k in February. MWRD Commissioner Michael Alvarez donated $1k and Cook County Democratic Party Chairman and Assessor Joe Berrios gave $1k. Meanwhile, Friends of Twelve, the PAC run by Ald. George Cardenas (12), who is running against Munoz for 12th Ward Democratic Committeeman, reported one contribution: a $11.3K check from All Around Amusements, a carnival company located in Lockport, IL. Ald. Cardenas’ personal campaign fund received four checks totaling $8K. The largest donation, $5K, came from Theresa Siaw from Burr Ridge, IL. Siaw’s occupation is listed as “Healthcare.” Her LinkedIn says she’s a Board Member for Centro Romero, a “community-based organization that served the refugee immigrant population on the northeast side of Chicago,” according to its website.

  • Ald. Pat Dowell got a notable amount of political support: $5k from State Rep. Mattie Hunter, $3K from State Rep. Lou Lang, $2K from Mike Zalewski (she didn’t specify if the check came from Ald. Zalewski or his son, the state rep. who shares his name), $1.5k from State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., $1.5k from State Rep. Bob Rita; and $1.5k from State Rep. Silvana Tabares.

  • Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) received $2K from Gutierrez for Congress, the personal campaign fund for U.S. Cong. Luis Gutierrez. The two were seen together at a campaign event for Theresa Mah, whom both are supporting in the upcoming election against incumbent State Rep. Alex Acevedo.

  • Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29) got some political support, too, with $5K from Ald. Nick Sposato (38) and $2K from Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin.

  • City Treasurer Kurt Summers raised $19,700 in February, including three $5.4K checks from Chicago-based investment firm Victory Capital Advisors, the company’s partner and co-founder Brendan Carroll, and his wife, Colleen Carroll, who is listed as a “homemaker.”

  • “The Democratic Party of the 49th Ward,” the political party campaign fund for the 49th Ward Democratic Ward Organization, has beefed up its fundraising efforts since Ald. Joe Moore took over as ward committeeman following David Fagus’death last year. The campaign fund reported $17K in new contributions in February, including $5K from State Sen. Heather Steans; $1K from the law firm DLA Piper; $1.5K from JN Pritzker; and $2.5K from Azieb Gebrehiiwet, a day care provider who got an honorary street designation from the City in 2014.

  • The 28th Ward Democratic Organization run by Ald. Jason Ervin (28) received $16k in February, all of which came from construction companies.  

Non-Financial Highlights:

  • The treasurer for Ald. Scott Waguespack’s personal campaign committee, Angelina Briguglio, resigned in January, according to this letter filed on Feb. 25th with the SBOE.

  • Ald. Ervin (28) created a new campaign, “Ervin for Committeeman” on Feb 10. But despite the name, the campaign fund won’t be fundraising for Ald. Ervin’s re-election campaign for Democratic ward committeeman, instead, it will support the campaign of his wife, Melissa Conyears-Ervin, a candidate for state rep.