Well, today's news is full of our neighboring alderman, Arenda Troutman, and her alleged misadventures in bribe-taking. Here's what the state's attorney, Gary Shapiro, had to say about doing business in the 20th Ward:
"You want the alderman's support, you pay your alderman. You pay Arenda Troutman," Shapiro said at a news conference following her initial court appearance at the Dirksen Building Courthouse. (From the Chicago Tribune)
Apparently, the FBI ran a sting operation in which someone posed as a developer asking for her support of a zoning change. Court documents say she agreed to support the proposal in exchange for $5000 cash, a promise of another ten grand, and a $5000 political contribution.
Her campaign billboard down the street reads: "Let the progress begin." That's quite a definition of progress, eh?
This also confirms something I heard months ago from someone who used to work in affordable housing here, but left the neighborhood. "On the near west side, it was tough working with aldermen, but I've never seen anything like this here," my friend told me. I'm paraphrasing the rest of the point, which was basically that aldermen in this neighborhood are much more direct in asking what is in it for them to support a deal. I wondered which aldermen in particular were in this person's mind. Maybe now I know. But I bet Troutman is not alone.
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