Hospital operator turns down subsidy for Downtown HQ after Burke scandal

The embattled alderman oversaw a controversial 2018 vote to grant Presence Health $5.5M in TIF money

Chicago /
May.May 17, 2019 11:00 AM
Alderman Ed Burke and AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (Credit: Wikipedia and Google Maps)

Alderman Ed Burke and AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (Credit: Wikipedia and Google Maps)

A hospital operator is turning down a city subsidy for its Downtown offices amid the growing scandal involving embattled Alderman Ed Burke (14th).

In January 2018, Burke oversaw a City Council committee hearing that approved $5.5 million in tax increment financing for Presence Health, part of an incentive package for the Catholic health system to open a new headquarters at 200 South Wacker Drive, according to the Sun-Times. The vote faced fierce opposition because of Presence’s anti-abortion policy.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Board of Ethics fined Burke $2,000 for presiding over the meeting despite having previously represented Presence through his private property tax appeal law firm.

After AMITA Health acquired Presence and its 10 Chicago-area hospitals in December, it requested an extension for finalizing the TIF agreement, the Sun-Times reported. But this week, AMITA CEO Mark Frey announced his group “has decided not to complete the paperwork required to finalize the Presence Health TIF agreement,” with no further explanation.

Fresh off his re-election victory in February, Burke is set next week to be sworn in for his 13th term in the City Council. But the alderman is still facing federal charges in an alleged extortion scheme, and he’s been tarnished by a trickle of smaller scandals in the interim. [Sun-Times]Alex Nitkin


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