Disgraced Alderman Danny Solis tried to help developers acquire a state-owned parking lot in Chinatown for a possible 30-story mixed-use project that never came to fruition.
The latest revelations from the federal investigation into the 25th Ward alderman show Solis’ efforts to speed developers’ projects in Chinatown went beyond a proposed hotel he and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan were caught discussing on tape, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
It was during that 2014 discussion that Madigan made a pitch to the hotel developers for his private law firm, highlighting the unseemly relationship between the speaker’s role as a lawmaker and job as a property tax appeal attorney.
The parking lot was mentioned in the taped discussion with developers See Y. Wong and Kin Kuong Chong, who were meeting with Madigan and Solis about a possible zoning change for their proposed hotel project, which was never built.
Two years later Cleveland developer Eddie Ni sought to acquire the parking lot for a proposed 30-story project featuring apartments, retail and hotel rooms. Ni’s firm enlisted the help of a number of connected advisers, according to the Sun-Times, and Solis soon joined the effort to get the state to sell the lot.
Ni’s team eventually failed to convince state officials to sell the property, though sources told the Sun-Times that Solis was still working to get the land sale through the Legislature as recently as August. [Chicago Sun-Times] — John O’Brien