Developer under FBI scrutiny after listing $20K donation to alderman as an expense

The developers sought city reimbursement for the donation to the alderman overseeing their redevelopment project

TRD CHICAGO /
Jul.July 12, 2019 01:15 PM
Ald. Pat Dowell and Rosenwald Courts

Ald. Pat Dowell and Rosenwald Courts

A developer has drawn suspicion from watchdogs and the FBI after listing a $20,000 political donation as a project expense on a major South Side redevelopment.

A joint venture led by Landwhite Developers in the early 2010’s partnered with the city on the $132 million redevelopment of Rosenwald Courts, a historic Bronzeville rental complex.

An expense report the developers filed with the city included a line item for a $20,000 donation to Ald. Pat Dowell, whose ward includes the Rosenwald Courts and who spearheaded the public-private partnership, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Though the developers tried to retract the line item, the expense was already flagged by the city and forwarded to the city’s inspector general, the Tribune reports. The FBI also inquired with the developers about the contribution.

Landwhite Developers is led by Indiana-based David Roos and New York-based Jay Landesman, who is now deceased, according to the Tribune. Jim Bergman of Iowa also partnered on the redevelopment deal.

The group in 2010 bought the block-long apartment complex at 47th Street and Michigan Avenue. In 2012, it reached a deal with the city to receive $25 million in tax increment financing and a $59 million loan, among other subsidies for the project.

Dowell has a hand in a number of major South Side developments. She rejected Related Midwest’s original proposal for a new Red Line stop to serve The 78. Dowell has also said that Landmark Development’s One Central megaproject requires “numerous revisions,” though specifics for the plan haven’t been made public. [Chicago Tribune]Joe Ward


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