WATCHDOGS: Taxpayers may be out $8M on site tied to Corrupt Mayor Richard J. Daley nephews - Newly elected Chicago Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson & Robert G. Vanecko doing what Daleys do best.... SCAMMING US THE TAXPAYERS
Over the past nine years, two nephews of former Mayor Richard M. Daley have been involved in separate plans to redevelop a rundown warehouse on 15 acres of polluted land in Little Village just north of the Stevenson Expressway.
It hasn’t turned out well for Chicago taxpayers.
First, taxpayers have to make up for $4.2 million in city pension money invested on behalf of teachers, police officers and other city workers that ended up squandered on failed development plans involving Daley’s oldest nephew, Robert G. Vanecko.
Now, taxpayers stand to lose another $4.1 million on the same property at 3348 S. Pulaski Rd. That’s the amount of a property-tax break given to a second redevelopment deal for the site.
This one involves Vanecko’s first cousin, Patrick Daley Thompson, an attorney who helped the developers get the tax cut last year shortly before he was elected alderman of the 11th ward — the family’s power base for six decades.
It’s one of the largest tax breaks the Chicago City Council has ever given to an industrial property — about $1 million more than the tax break the Ricketts family will get from City Hall for renovating Wrigley Field, a designated Chicago landmark.
For obtaining the tax break and zoning changes for a California developer, Thompson and the law firm where he works stood to make as much as $100,000, according to records the Chicago Sun-Times obtained from City Hall. It’s unclear how much Thompson’s firm actually got paid, and he declined to say.
Thompson’s client wanted the tax cut as part of a plan to clean up the property and build a warehouse there — a project bankrolled by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the country’s largest public pension funds. His client took over the project after his cousin’s deal with the Chicago pension funds fell apart.
The Chicago pension funds got nothing when they unloaded the decrepit warehouse two years ago, dumping it on the California pension fund and its developer.
But the California retirement plan and the developer tore down the building, removed 70 tons of soil polluted with chemicals including arsenic and lead, erected a new warehouse and then flipped it to a branch of Prudential Insurance for $29.7 million last December — making $5 million to $8 million, according to sources and city records.