Ald. Michelle Harris (8) may have suffered an embarrassing loss to incumbent Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, who is currently the subject of a federal investigation, but she did manage to raise more than $122k in contributions from area business leaders, unions, and other local politicians.
Grosvenor Capital gave Harris’ campaign $25k, and its CEO, Michael Sacks, a close friend and big financial supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, gave an additional $25k. That’s in addition to a $25k check the company gave her the previous month.
Ald. Harris reported sizable checks from online ticket retailer Classic Tickets ($10k), former Chairman and CEO of the A. Finkl & Sons Steel Plant Bruce Liimatainen($7k), Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith (43), and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s 13th Ward Democratic Organization ($10k). She also received a $1,000 check from Citizens to Elect Lona Lane, the personal campaign fund for the former 18th Ward alderman, who is no longer in politics after losing in a runoff to Derrick Curtis, the ward superintendent at the time.
Harris’ impressive fundraising efforts still didn’t overtake downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), who brought in more than $133k in donations between his personal campaign fund and the 42nd Ward Democratic Organization fund he controls as the ward committeeman. That total does not include a $35k transfer he made between both funds.
Former Chicago Board of Elections Commissioner Langdon Neal donated $1,000 to Ald. Brendan Reilly (42). Neal vacated his seat on the three-member board on December 31. The seat was quickly filled by Jonathan Swain, the former Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, who was appointed by Chief Cook County Circuit Court Judge Timothy C. Evans.
Ujamaa Construction, a Chicago-based minority-owned business that frequently receives praise from Ald. Walter Burnett (27), made $1,000 contributions to three Aldermen: Leslie Hairston (5), David Moore (17), and Michelle Harris (8).
Former mayoral candidate and current presidential candidate Willie Wilson donated $2k to the 47th Democratic Ward Organization controlled by Paul Rosenfield.
Ald. Joe Moreno (1) loaned himself $25k on March 21st, six days after the too-close-to-call Election Day for Democratic Ward Committeeman. Moreno narrowly won with a tight 199 vote lead over his opponent, Maria Theresa Gonzales, an Assistant Cook County public defender. He also received a $1,500 contribution from the Tunney Group, a real estate firm managed by Ald. Tom Tunney’s (44) brother Ed.
J.B. Pritzker of the Pritzker Group gave a $10k check to the 43rd Ward Democratic Organization, which is, as of this most recent election, now controlled by committeeman-elect Lucy Moog, a Lincoln Park resident and former congressional aide who was a one-time neighbor of Mayor Emanuel in Washington D.C.
Reyes Kurson, a law firm led by former long-time aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley, Victor Reyes, and the one-time chairman of the now-defunct Hispanic Democratic Organization, donated $1k to Ald. Moreno (1) and $1.5k to Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29).
Zoning law firm and former employer of Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman, DLA Piper, contributed to the 11th, 44th, and 43rd Democratic Ward Organizations. The checks are in the $1k-$1.5k range.
The Burnham Committee, a PAC controlled by Ald. Ed Burke (14), wrote a $2.5k check to Ald. Will Burns (4), who retired his Council seat this month. But before he left, Ald. Burns helped Burke champion a diluted version of an ethics oversight ordinance that put the Inspector General in charge of auditing the aldermen and their staff. Under the amended version, workers compensation, controlled by Ald. Burke as Chairman of the Finance Committee, was excluded from such oversight.
Fred Eychaner, the owner of Newsweb Corporation, a Chicago-based company that owns several ethnic and alternative newspapers, donated money to Ald. Michele Smith (43), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), and Ald. Toni Foulkes (16), as well as the 43rd Ward Democratic Organization. Last month he gave money to two aldermen, Deb Mell (33) and Scott Waguespack (32). His $1K and $1.5K contribution to each, respectively, dwarfed in comparison to the the $400K he gave to Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Kim Foxx that same month.
State Rep. Luis Arroyo made two $1k transfers to two freshman aldermen: Chris Taliaferro (29) and Milly Santiago (31). Rep. Arroyo helped Ald. Santiago in her contested campaign against her predecessor, Ray Suarez, who held the post for two decades.
Old Veteran Construction, Inc, a minority-owned Chicago-based general contractor that worked on the new Malcolm X College campus and the Chicago Housing Authority’s Lake Parc Apartments, gave $1.5k to both Ald. Jason Ervin (28) and Ald. John Arena (45).
The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC donated $1k each to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), John Arena (45), and Toni Foulkes (16). The group, which represents “tens of thousands” of members of local construction and maintenance unions, also gave made two separate contributions ($2.5k and $1k) to Ald. Michelle Harris (8). Another building industry group, Construction and General Laborers, which is affiliated with the Laborers’ International Union of America, donated $1.5k to Ald. Carrie Austin (34), $1.9k to the 11th Ward Democratic Organization controlled by Cook County Commissioner John P. Daley, and $1.5k to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32).
Classic Tickets, Inc., an online ticket seller for major league sports, concert and theater events in Chicago, made two large $10k donations: one to Ald. Harris (8), another to Ald. Reilly’s 42nd Democratic Ward Organization. The company regularly writes $10k donation checks, and records show Reilly received two $10k checks from the company, one in February and one in April 2015.
John Doerrer, a registered lobbyist with the city and former director of IGA for Mayor Richard M. Daley, donated the maximum contribution allowed under state law, $1.5k to Ald. Ed Burke (14) and $1k to Ald. Michelle Harris (8). Doerrer works for Kaizen, Inc., and represents a variety of clients, including the Chicago Retail Merchants Association, McDonald’s Corporation, and Shoreline Sightseeing.
Aberdeen Development, Inc, a Chicago-based real estate firm that specializes in industrial building conversions, contributed to the personal campaign funds of Ald. George Cardenas (12) and Ald. Joe Moreno (1). They got $5.4k and $1k, respectively.
Notable New (Non-Candidate) D-1s
Citizens United for a Better West Side – Anthony Embry and Angelina Brigoglio filed the paperwork to establish this PAC on March 3rd, with the purpose of supporting “the progress, policy & ? [sic] candidates to the betterment of the west side.” The group has so far received two donations, each for $5k. Both of the donors, J.R. Davis and Dawn Davis, share the same P.O. box in Barrington, Illinois, it’s the same address shared by Armored Davis Bancorp, Inc. The Davises have in the past contributed to Ald. Reilly, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and former alderman, and failed mayoral and State Rep. candidate Bob Fioretti.
Illinois Alliance – Former West Side alderman Isaac (Ike) Carothers, who resigned from his post after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, is starting his own PAC. (Being found guilty of improperly using campaign funds does not prohibit you from running your own PAC). The Alliance has a simple mission: “to support various candidate [sic].” So far, the committee has raised about $15k, including a $10k check from Citizens to Elect Pat Spratt, the personal campaign fund for 7th Subcircuit Judge, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court in August to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers, the former alderman’s aunt.
36th Ward PAC – This group, founded by Melissa Angelucci with the Synnov Group, Inc., a construction firm that specializes in major transportation infrastructure projects, including the the new underground World Trade Center Transportation Hub and various other CTA and METRA projects, was created to support candidates “aligned with the committee and to educate voters of the 36th Ward.” 36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas has a deep infrastructure and construction background.