Alderman Sigcho and the Real Estate Industry

That was fast.

After running a 5-year campaign against Danny Solis for accepting campaign contributions from the real estate industry, Alderman Sigcho has quickly and quietly determined that it’s in his interest to accept campaign contributions from the real estate industry.

Candidate Sigcho vs. Corporations and Developers

If you remember during the campaign, Sigcho and his allies heavily criticized every other candidate (except me of course) for accepting donations from corporations or developers in one form or another. From a campaign press release disguised as in-depth reporting:

Both Flores and Acevedo have taken money from developers, construction firms, and realtors, which Sigcho-Lopez and his supporters say is a disqualifier for any candidate running in Pilsen.

And then there is this quote from Sigcho’s WTTW free time:

(While you might think I grabbed this picture in a special effort to embarrass him, I encourage you to go and watch the whole video.  It looks as if he partook in some undisclosed contributions from one of these new recreational marijuana companies prior to filming.)

Alderman Sigcho ♥ Corporations and Developers

This morning I woke up to an event advertised on Facebook for a 25th Ward Pumpkin Patch at Dvorak Park. Now who could be against a pumpkin patch? Not me, surely.  But on the flyer, you’ll see Alderman Sigcho’s name next to Lacuna Lofts and its owners; Ameritus Real Estate Investment and JBG Properties. (You’ll also see State Senate candidate Froy Jimenez’s campaign logo there advertised on an official city event! Yikes! That’s bad. Reminiscient of this Alderman Solis episode. I guess we know who the alderman and his crew at Dvorak will be endorsing!)

This dance is well-known to the politically astute. Companies sponsor an event. Their business friendly alderman gets to bask in the glow. No campaign contributions! No problem! Except when our State Rep Theresa Mah accepted an in-kind donation for having an event at Lacuna Lofts, Byron Sigcho and Pilsen Alliance were up. in. arms. Hypocrisy of course, but I’m sure the alderman’s supporters will dismiss it since it’s not technically a campaign contribution. And surely we won’t find any real estate professionals donating to his campaign… Just kidding.

Let’s look at Sigcho’s campaign contributions since becoming alderman.  We don’t have to go too far.  The last one as of me writing this is a $1000 contribution from a man named Michael Ezgur.

Is he a dedicated constituent? Nope. 1030 W Chicago is not in the ward. Hmm. Who is his employer, Acosta Ezgur LLC? His LinkedIn says:

Partner in the real estate-land use law firm Acosta Ezgur, LLC. My goal is to assist real estate owners, investors and developers in securing required zoning, entitlements and project and development approvals.

Wow.  Trading favors for “securing required zoning, entitlements and project and development approvals” is exactly what got Alderman Solis into trouble. This law firm currently has business in the West Loop across the street from Mary Bartelme Park, which is in the 25th Ward.  Just a few short months ago fellow West Loop alderman, Alderman Burnett, was asked about a donation by this same law firm. It caused him to storm out of a community meeting.

Pretty damning stuff. But wait! There’s more!

On July 10th we have another $2500 from Lotus Financial Partners and another $1000 from its president Yman Vien.  There’s not much information on this corporation, but Yman happens to chair the Chinese Mutual Aid Association where she describes her business as a “financial & real estate services company“.  It’s going to be fun watching the acrobatics of the alderman’s supporters dismissing this.

What about non-real estate corporations?  We’ve got those too!

Yue Qin Mei donated $2500 and is listed at 2104 S Archer Ave.  That’s not a residency.  That’s Mayflower Food Inc.  If you are wondering if that’s a corporation, it is. You can check here. (You’d better get that discrepancy fixed alderman! Is it a donation from a corporation or an individual? We wouldn’t want you to be accused of anything improper!) There’s also a Happy Market, Inc. donating $500. It looks like the alderman understands competition after all! Competition within the Chinatown grocery market for his aldermanic affection!

There’s a $250 donation from Marquez Security Group.  This reminds me of the scandalous history of Alderman Solis and Monterrey Security, (it’s a long read, take your time).  What’s the over/under on Sigcho securing Marquez some city work?

There’s also $2500 from the Ivy Garden Learning Center LLC. This is a for-profit education corporation! Who would’ve thought that a guy educated in private school until his 20’s, that built his reputation by appropriating a prominent journalist’s UNO investigation, who swore off corporate money while claiming to defend CPS, would turn around and accept money from a for-profit education corporation?

Disqualified

“Sigcho-Lopez and his supporters say [this] is a disqualifier for any candidate running in Pilsen.” So does this mean he is dedicated to just one term on city council?  Is he going to resign effective immediately!? Ha! No 25th Ward residents.  You just got hood-winked by another disingenuous politician.  Don’t feel bad.  It happens.  Now you know how those Trump-supporting farmers feel.

To anyone who follows politics when it’s not election season, this is no surprise.  I was interviewed for this piece months ago where I said it was clear this was likely to happen.  From the article:

So, over cocktails, developers and brokers took turns introducing themselves to Sigcho-Lopez… several people who attended told The Real Deal. It was one of a few recent interactions that have provided some comfort to real estate professionals since they watched the former head of the Pilsen Alliance neighborhood group win the race on April 2.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

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