The Finance Committee approved $771,320 in legal settlements related to a class action lawsuit filed against illegal permit parking receipts and a medical malpractice suit. They also approved additional bonds to the Goldblatt’s senior living center project in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Complete agenda.

The committee met briefly Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Originally scheduled for the morning, Ald. Ed Burke (14) changed the time so he could spend the morning with Ald. James Balcer (11) at O’Hare Field for a ceremonial return of a fallen soldier.

Committee members present (6 of 34 members): Chairman Ed Burke (14), Marty Quinn (13), Willie Cochran (20), Howard Brookins Jr. (21), Jason Ervin (28), Ariel Reboyras (30).

The committee approved two legal settlements totalling $771,320 brought by the city’s Law Department.

1. Scott D.H. Redman. individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff. v. City of Chicago, Defendant, cited as 13 C 3810. [Amount $571,320]

On May 17, 2013, Scott D.H. Redman used his credit card to buy a residential parking permit and noticed the city-contracted vendor put too much of his credit card information on the receipt, which is against the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, or FACTA statute, so he filed a class action lawsuit against the city, according to Leslie Darling, 1st Assistant Corporation Counsel, who testified on behalf of the City’s Law Department.

According to FACTA, it is illegal for a customer receipt to display more than five digits of a credit card number and the card’s expiration date. Darling says the city didn’t know about the non-compliant customer recipients until Redman filed the class action lawsuit against the city. She adds that the issue has been fixed and the vendor will reimburse the city for the full cost of the settlement, which is 20% of the Redman’s original demand of $2.75 million. Redman has filed several of these types of complaints,  according to court records.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28), the only committee member to question Darling’s testimony, wanted to know how many people received noncompliant receipts. Darling responded that 19,044 noncompliant receipts were issued between Jan 21st 2013 and May 29, 2013. She says that those people will be notified once the full council approves the settlement, which amounts to $30 per receipt.

2. Linda Jackson v Dr. Edward J. Potash and City of Chicago, cited as 10 L 011424 [Amount: $200,000]

Linda Jackson suffered lithium toxicity and kidney damage caused by a perscription she received from a doctor at one of the city run health clinics. She now receives kidney dialysis three times a week while she awaits a kidney transplant. According to Darling, “The prescribing doctor acknowledged, in his testimony, a lapse of judgement and that his prescription and combination with the lithium was not recommended in the absence of close monitoring of the patient’s blood values, which was not done here.” Darling says the settlement is a, “cost effective measure to limit the city’s financial exposure,” and Ald. Burke agreed calling it a, “pretty good deal for the taxpayers”. The committee approved the settlement without any questions.

3. A communication recommending the proposed ordinance authorizing the City to enter into and execute a Loan Agreement with Goldblatts, the authority to issue City of Chicago Multi-Family Housing Revenue Bonds, Series 2015, (Goldblatts Supportive Living Project), and a Supplement to the Loan Agreement with Goldblatts of Chicago Limited Partnership. Amount of bonds not to exceed: $2,500,000 

The third item on the agenda, brought by the Department of Planning and Development and the Mayor’s Office, asks the city to approve the issuance of additional City of Chicago Multi-Family Revenue Bonds to pay for higher than expected construction costs associated with the Goldblatts Supporting Living Project. The bonds would be capped at $2.5 million. Cities approve these federal bonds to help finance the construction of multi-family housing projects catered to low-income families or elderly residents, the latter of which applies to this case.

The city already issued $18 million dollars worth of multi-family revenue bonds and and approved a $3.9 million dollar loan to help pay for the redevelopment plan to turn the historic Goldblatts Department Store building in the Back of the Yards neighborhood into a senior living center with 101-units.

But according to Lawrence Grisham, who testified on behalf of the Planning Department, additional bonds are needed because of higher project costs due to, “the historic preservation of the building,” and, “structural issues discovered during construction”. Grisham says the city needs to issue a new set of bonds because the original bond agreement, approved by the council in 2013, said the city-issued multi-family revenue bonds must pay for 50% of the project. Since the project costs more than expected, more bonds must be issued so the project does not fail the “50% test”. The committee approved.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20) testified in favor of the bonds. The project is in his ward and he says he is “very proud” of this project because it helps a vulnerable population and preserves a city landmark. Ald. Burke also spoke in favor and reminisced on the fact that the department store use to be in the 14th Ward.

Ald. Burke also deferred one of the eight items on the agenda–a proposed ordinance to exempt and alter certain permit fees Special Service Areas (SSAs) have to pay to the city–because the sponsor, Ald. Joe Moreno (1), had a prior engagement and could not attend Friday’s meeting. The ordinance [O2014-6897] will be on next week’s Finance Committee agenda. There is also a public hearing for the Goldblatts bonds scheduled for the same day.

Items 4-8, filed under “Miscellaneous” business, passed without discussion because they are “routine matters.”

4. One proposed order authorizing two applications for City of Chicago Charitable Solution (Tag Day) permits.

A. Hegewisch Girls Softball League
May 29-30,2015

B. RTW Veterans Center
June 24, 2015 – August 24, 2015

5. Four (4) orders authorizing the payment of hospital and medical expenses of police officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty.

6. A proposed order authorizing the payment of various small claims against the City of Chicago.

7. A proposed order denying the payment of various small claims against the City of Chicago.

8. A proposed order authorizing the payment of senior citizen rebate sewer claims.