The Real Deal Chicago

Disgraced politicians’ campaign cash could save center for black veterans

Candidates who received contributions from officials ensnared in the Burke criminal probe are giving the money to a Marine post facing foreclosure
January 26, 2019 09:00AM

(Credit: Facebook, Google Maps)

Candidates are racing to distance themselves from Chicago’s growing circle of toxic political players, and an endangered Englewood veteran center is catching the proceeds.

Mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza signed a check for nearly $142,000 to the Montford Point Marine Veteran Center, a South Side community center for African-American Marine Corps veterans that launched a fundraising campaign to try to avert foreclosure, according to Block Club.

The sum equals the amount donated to Mendoza’s campaign by political groups tied to the retiring Alderman Danny Solis (25th), who secretly recorded conversations to help build the criminal case against his colleague, Alderman Ed Burke (14th), suggesting Solis might also be on investigators’ radar.

The owners of the veterans center launched a GoFundMe late last year with the goal of raising $200,000 to pay for property taxes, mortgage payments and building repairs. Even after Mendoza’s donation, the campaign remains about $30,000 short of its goal.

Solis isn’t the only tarnished political leader whose donations have ended up with the center. Earlier this month, Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) donated $1,450 to the center, the same amount he had raised from Burke’s political committees, according to Block Club.

Burke’s private law firm worked to lower tax assessments on properties owned by Sterling Bay and Related Midwest, and the investigation has kicked up connections to 601W Companies’ redevelopment of the Old Main Post Office. [Block Club] — Alex Nitkin