Thursday, July 24, 2008

The TIF Consultant Who Keeps On Giving

Note that S.B. Friedman has given Alderman Helen Shiller a political contribution ($500) once again this reporting period.

S.B. Friedman, led by Steven Friedman, is the supposedly independent outside consultant that did the Wilson Yard TIF study. The study concluded that our Broadway/ Montrose /Wilson area qualified as a Conservation TIF because it had four blight factors, which proved that it was in serious danger of slipping into decay conditions, despite the fact that the real estate market for the surrounding land was booming.

This particular firm has undergone criticism from its peers for two reasons:

1. It gives political contributions to the alderman in the ward in which it "finds blight" (and a potload of TIF funds for that alderman to control)

2. It plays both sides of the fence. Most consultants will only work as city consultants or for developers. This firm appears to operate in a conflict of interest mode because it takes money to do both roles simultaneously.

*Criticized in Chicago Magazine July 2005 for working for both developers and municipalities by competitor Beth Ruyle, Exec. V.P. and director of Ehlers & Assoc, which does TIF creation and analysis only for municipalities.

1 comment:

  1. While HIGHLY unethical, this sort of donation is not illegal, under current law.

    The Mayor and several of his cadre of [fill in the blank] have started to turn away donations such as the one Friedman has been making to stave off appearances of "pay to play".

    (note - Helen obviously doesn't care, and even a cursory glance at her donors makes it painfully clear that she's neck deep in "pay for play", and will only listen to you if you give her money [see - Kerasotes Theatres).

    The Governor has legislation sitting on his desk, right now, that would outlaw elected officials from taking money donated by people with a vested interest in decisions made by that specific elected official.

    Blago has threatened to veto the bill (since over $250k given to him in the last reporting period would be considered tainted under this legislation).

    Ah ... breath in deeply,. my friends. That foul stench of Chicago/Illinois politics which we're all growing all too familiar with is coming straight from the alderman's office.

    The worst part: she doesn't care. She'll gladly continue on taking dirty money which she can pocket upon her retirement while stating that it's all legal.

    Which it is.

    It's just that it isn't ethical.