Monday, April 11, 2005

17th Ward Democratic Organization

The 17th Ward Democratic Organization of Chicago has become a recipient of cash from Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) contractors. Take a look at this quote from the article from the Chicago Sun-Times:

For some CHA contractors, the 17th Ward group is their favored, or only, place to donate political cash in Illinois.

Between 2001 and 2004, H.J. Russell, an Atlanta-based firm that manages CHA properties, gave 68 percent of its Illinois political donations -- $13,000 -- to the 17th Ward Democrats. The biggest contribution came four months before H.J. Russell won its largest contract, worth $8 million, according to CHA records. A company spokesman declined to comment.

Virginia-based Legum & Norman targeted just one political group in Illinois. The property management company gave $3,275 to the 17th Ward Democrats. Its first donation, for $500, came three months before Legum & Norman won its first CHA contract. A company executive told Residents' Journal the timing was coincidental.

Albert Blanchard, chairman of the 17th Ward Democrats, suggested that contractors are the ones driving the influx of money

"I think much of it may be perception," Blanchard, who isn't involved with fund-raising, told Residents' Journal. "Terry Peterson was previously the alderman. People perceive they might be able to gain an inroad."

This article also notes that the 17th Ward Democratic Organization has been dormant since 1996 but was restarted in 2001.

Not bad for an organization that was dormant from 1996 until 2001. To be sure though, there is reason to suspect that the head CHA, Terry Peterson is the reason for these donations. He does have a connection to the 17th Ward. He not only lives there, but he also used to be Alderman there. The 17th Ward is located on the South Side of Chicago and encompassed the neighborhoods of Auburn-Gresham, Englewood and West Chatham. He also has ties to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization and also attends their fundraisers. And to clarify as they had in the article, NOT as CHA Chief but as a resident.

Let me also just mention one thing, there are no public housing units in Chicago's 17th Ward. Here's another fact that I quote:

The $250,000 from CHA contractors accounts for 37 percent of all contributions to the 17th Ward Democrats over the last three years, according to the probe, which was released to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Read the article here.

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