The Council’s Finance Committee will reconvene this morning at 9:00 a.m. to consider an order from Chair Ed Burke (14) that would bar the city from doing business with Wells Fargo bank. The order is in response to revelations that the bank opened more than two million fraudulent bank and credit card accounts without customer consent.

Under the order, which is binding, the city would be prohibited from doing business with Wells Fargo for the next two years. Specifically, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Comptroller, and Treasurer would be prohibited from engaging Wells Fargo as a municipal depository, an underwriter for bond deals, a trustee in any loan or redevelopment agreement, a broker to buy investments on the city’s behalf, a financial advisor, or “in any other capacity or relationship with respect to the city.”

According to a chart provided by Ald. Burke’s office, the bank has benefited from about $19.5 million in business with the city since 2005.

The order also encourages the trustees of the city’s four pension funds to divest all of their investments with the bank and any of its subsidiaries. “At the very minimum, I think we can do this as a sign of our shock and displeasure about the conduct of a bank, and we don’t need to do business with a bank that has exhibited this kind of flagrant conduct,” said Burke when he directly introduced the order in committee on Friday.

On Monday, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced the state suspended $30 billion in investment activity with Wells Fargo. The amount is higher than the state’s actual annual investment portfolio of $25 billion, because it includes dollars that go through Wells Fargo to pay off the state’s bills. The state treasurer’s office is involved in about $1 trillion in banking transactions a year, according to the press release.

And according to Bloomberg, City Treasurer Kurt Summers has also announced plans to divest $25 million the city has invested with the bank.

That meeting is expected to run quickly, because at 9:15 a.m. the Council’s Rules Committee is scheduled to continue deliberation on decorum rules for public comment, also known as “The Blakemore Rule”. The committee recessed without a vote on the issue last week after several Progressive Caucus and freshman aldermen expressed concerns that the new rules were subjective and limiting.

The ordinance would add a Rule 58 to the city’s Rules of Procedure. The rule imposes a three minute time limit for all members of the public and says they must be physically present and “refrain from using profane language or obscene conduct, or make irrelevant, repetitious or disruptive comments.”

Ald. Burke, the sponsor, and Jeff Levine, an attorney with the city’s Law Department, said that the ordinance only codifies what’s already standard practice at council committee meetings.

The Council’s Progressive Caucus drafted an amendment that eliminates the physically present requirement, as well as the rule that comments not be irrelevant, repetitious, or disruptive.

As Ald. John Arena (45) said in committee last week, “Those two things seem subject to interpretation. One person’s repetitious comment is another person’s emphasis of a point.” A similar measure is expected to be considered by the Cook County Board today.

Items Slated For Full Council Vote Today (Highlights) 

  • Police Reform Ordinance (Details)
  • A slew of procurement changes (Details)
  • New Pilot Program to help spur development and business within depressed retail corridors in the following neighborhoods:  Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Chicago, West Humboldt Park, West Pullman.
  • A new bid incentive program for mid-sized construction firms that would make them the exclusive bidder of contracts worth $3 million and $10 million.
  • The establishment of a new TIF district for the redevelopment of the Lathrop Homes.  The Diversey/Chicago River Redevelopment TIF is expected to generate about $17.5 million in over the 23-year life of the TIF. Unlike all other TIFs, this one will be automatically repealed once it achieves the funding goal. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) voted against it in committee.
  • A peddling ban in the 14th Ward added to the list of areas where peddling, even with a license, is prohibited. The ban does not include mobile food vendors.
  • A resolution from Ald. Ed Burke (14) urging the Chicago Police Department to make QuickClot Combat Gauze available to all police officers trained in the department’s Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training Program (LEMART)
  • New mobile food cart stands for downtown Chicago (Locations: 140 South Clark Street, 105 East Monroe Street, 300 South Wabash Street, 140 South Franklin Street).
  • Five Class 6(b) Incentives which gives industrial properties as 12-year property tax break.
  • 39-year Lease agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to construct the North Branch Riverwalk Under-bridge Connection. The proposed pedestrian and bike bridge will connect Clark Park and California Park through a path along the Chicago River under Addison Street, eliminating the need for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the busy intersection.