Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pol's pal a 'very giving person'

Found this article on The Capitol Fax Blog. Alderman Shirley Coleman's dealings with a real estate consultant. An interesting article. They even bought a Christmas tree for her ward but the man who procured the tree didn't pay for it. Check this out...

Gonzalez had worked for Williams before, and he quickly found a 29-foot tree in Wisconsin and set it up at a prominent location in Coleman's ward.

The alderman was well aware of the tree because she helped arrange for electricity for its lights and told Gonzalez to take it down after the holidays, Gonzalez said.

But Williams never paid him for the tree, Gonzalez alleged. Williams had said she expected to pay him out of a $250,000 payment she was getting from a real estate deal, which she didn't detail, Gonzalez said.

Buying the tree and paying the labor to deliver it to Chicago, put it up and decorate it cost Gonzalez about $5,000, and he planned to charge roughly double for it, he said. He has tried to get Williams to pay him, with no luck, he said.

"It was a beautiful tree," Gonzalez said.

This consultant, Tracy Williams, has helped donate a piano to the alderman's church and even allegedly paid an interior decorator to work in Coleman's home. Unfortunately there is another problem...

Last year, Coleman vouched for Williams in a real estate deal involving a group of California investors buying 100 vacant city lots to build homes on in Coleman's 16th Ward. Now, the group has no lots, despite allegedly sending more than $500,000 to Williams' company, Flawless Financial. The group, Blythe Holdings Inc., plans to file a lawsuit soon, its attorney, Craig Tobin, said Monday.

Coleman wrote to the president of Blythe Holdings, Stephanie Hill, that Coleman's friend Williams was "an excellent consultant." The praise came in a letter last November on City Council stationery.

Williams faces a number of lawsuits in Cook County regarding her work in real estate. In one lawsuit, Park Federal Savings Bank has accused Williams and several others of engaging in $2.4 million in mortgage fraud on two apartment buildings.

Well Coleman wasn't to be reached for comment for this story and neither was Williams. Back in July though Coleman was said to be shocked about the allegations against Williams. She has said that at that time there was no financial relationship between them.

However Williams has donated money to the Alderman's church and, the ward and the Alderman herself. This is according to interviews with people who have firsthand knowledge of these dealings.

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