Sunday, March 1, 2009

Charge It To My Account Once More

By Mick Dumke, Chicago Reader Clout City
These are tough times, but last summer aldermen successfully fought off the idea of cuts to their expense allowances—accounts worth $73,280 that they can spend on “ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the performance of an alderman’s official duties,” as the budget ordinance puts it. Before 2008, aldermen were receiving $33,280, a figure that most said was just too low to cover even basic needs like rent, utilities, and office supplies. Continue


  1. So as I'm cruising down the list of 46th Ward expenses, nothing seems too odd.

    Then, in December, *BANG* a $31,000 charge with no name for the "Vendor Reference."

    Do you think that it's coincidence that $31,000 charge brought the 46th Ward right up to the annual limit???

    Hello, Attorney General! Let's ask for a receipt on that one! Someone got a nice fat check for nothing.

  2. The highest paid vendor from the 48th ward expense account was none other than ALD MARY ANN SMITH 48TH WARD, including 5 disbursements of $5K each as year-end 2008 approached.

    Does anyone know, what's up with that?

  3. Maybe they needed to buy some boots.

  4. If you read the comments at the Reader link Hugh shows that many alderman have done something similar.

    Seems likely they are carrying over the money until next year.

    Of course it could be something else.

  5. "Seems likely they are carrying over the money until next year."

    IP you are a generous soul, I've always said that

    well, if that were true, wouldn't you expect to see at least a few deposits (shown on he spreadsheet as negative expenses) in early January, so the money would get back into the system and we the taxpaying public would have an accounting of the expenses? You don't see it

    and if it were some kind of administrative step, a year-end acct clearing sweep of some kind, wouldn't you expect all the accounts to have a total expenditures equal to the max, $73,280/alderman? in other words, if they're sweeping, why didn't they sweep the entire balance outstanding? why did some of the accts with the mysterious year-end expenses without vendors leave thousands behind? (see for example Mell who withdrew $30K but left $4K not carried over, or Flores who withdrew $31K but left $10K)

    no, this money is disappearing

    "it could be something else"

    uh, yeah

  6. Hugh,

    I am a generous soul.

    Answers are certainly needed on what is going on here with TAXPAYER'S money.

    Considering the number of aldercritters doing this I have to guess that they have some understanding that the practice is legal. Perhaps they had some secret squirrel memo passed around from the Finance Committee Chairman Ed "Eddy the Honest" Burke.

    Now what the "practice" actually is I dunno.

    IF, and it's a huge IF, aldercritters are directly depositing tax payers funds into their personal accounts with no accountability and not for legitimate reimbursements then sit back and watch the Feds make a meal of them. That would be much easier to prove than say zoning corruption. Can you say IRS? I knew you could.