Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ald. Reilly Donates Big To Phelan Campaign

Greg Hinz, Crain's
Streeterville and the Magnificent Mile are a long way — geographically, culturally and demographically — from the hodge-podge of often poor humanity known as Uptown.

Yet the alderman of the former has turned out to be the single largest campaign donor in the latter, as the mostly Uptown 46th Ward prepares to elect a new alderman in the upcoming runoff election.

Campaign disclosure records indicate that Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose very upscale ward includes a big chunk of Chicago's central area, a couple of weeks ago donated $9,626.20 to Molly Phelan, one of the two runoff candidates in the 46th Ward.

That's the single largest contribution from anyone (other than candidates to themselves) in a race that had 11 candidates before the Feb. 22 first round.

I'd earlier written that Mr. Reilly was likely to get involved in other wards' races. But his, um, generosity was even more than I expected.

Mr. Reilly's 46th Ward involvement appears to be more than financial.

One of his top lieutenants in ousting longtime 42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus four years ago, Dave Clarkin, is likely to take over as manager of Ms. Phelan's runoff campaign, she says. And there are lots of other rumors about precinct help Ms. Phelan is getting from Mr. Reilly — who, like Mr. Clarkin, once worked for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.


  1. The Chicago Machine vs. the Little Guy...

  2. Exactly Rob! Chicago needs change EVERYWHERE, especially in Uptown. We don't need anymore machine politics like we've had the last 20 years! We are now seeing where Molly's bread is buttered and it's not here... Rage AGAINST the machine!

  3. The contribution of such a large amount by an alderman from outside our ward is troubling. I gave significant contributions (as did my partner) to the Fix Wilson Yards effort based on Molly's promises and solicitation of money. I am extremely troubled that the money from that effort has not been well accounted for - How much went to lawyers? Were any of those lawyers connected financially or politically to Phelan or her father or to O'Brien? Was Phelan's FWY work, so soon after she moved into the ward and rented an apartment here, part of a prior plan to seek political office? (She told many of us personally during FWY that she was "mulling over" entering the aldermanic race.) What money was left over from the failed FWY attempt and where did it go?

    I hope some of these questions are addressed soon, because otherwise all most Ward 46 residents will think about is outside-the-ward political bossism and rotten political and financial shenanigans.

  4. the guiding idea behind FWY lawsuit was to fight TIF abuse. the WY TIF was set for WY and the lawsuit ended up getting thrown out. abuse or not WY TIF was used for WY development! however, since the lawsuit there have been a variety places and projects TIF money has been used in, outside of the original intent, UU site mentions many of them - a couple of millions to assist with the eastwood high-rise purchase, a couple of millions for VoP, many millions for maryville and a few more i am probably missing (UU might be better positioned to list them). i saw/heard/supported ms. phelan during FWY but since haven't heard from her or FWY about the other misuses of TIF funds. i would like to invite ms. phelan to explain why she hasn't followed through with the mission of FWY - WY TIF has been abused badly! or was ms. shiller correct in her assessment that FWY was indeed a pre-campaign? if so, how disappointing!

  5. @ Daniel: "Was Phelan's FWY work, so soon after she moved into the ward and rented an apartment here, part of a prior plan to seek political office?"

    FWIW, I've never had the impression that her involvement in Uptown issues was some kind of planned opportunistic move. Afterall, no one knew at the time that Daley was going to retire.

    Also, my purpose in posting is not to shill for Molly. I just don't like all of this conspiracy-thinking and speculation that has been running through the threads as of late. I was hoping that we'd be moving towards more positive territory...

    Whoever you are voting for and whoever wins will have a big job in front of them. The rest of us should get ready to roll up our sleeves and set our minds to working together too.

  6. I agree with Sassy. It's obvious a majority of you guys support Cappleman and try to find anything that can be spinned as negative to lay out here, some legit, some not.

    I don't know much of anything about Reilly, but if anyone bothered to read the full article he is known as a reformer. Many of you were echoing the fact that Molly puts herself across as a "reformer" but has nothing to back that up. Well there you go. From talking to and listening to both candidates they both want what I want in my neighborhood, so I will be happy with either candidate.

    As long as this mess of a neighborhood gets cleaned up and safe for everyone I don't care which candidate does it, but let's not turn Molly into the next person Uptown Update starts bashing before she is/isn't in office. Last I checked she hasnt started beating baby seals. Why can't we all just get along?

  7. When someone comes in from another ward and gives you $10k, doesn't it BEG the question, what do they REALLY want? Hasn't the 46th ward suffered enough without being purchased by other alderman? The 46th ward has a disprorpotionate amount of shelters and mental health facilities, maybe the downtown Alderman is planning on utilizing the 46th ward whenever convenient?

  8. @Daniel:

    >> I am extremely troubled that the money from that effort has not been well accounted for - How much went to lawyers? Were any of those lawyers connected financially or politically to Phelan or her father or to O'Brien?

    Please see this UU post here for the FWY expenses:


    See my comment toward the bottom (14th) for the revenue breakdown. If you look at the expenses, you can see exactly what firms did the work.

    I like Cappleman, voted for him and will vote again for him in the run-off. However, these continued FWY allegations in each thread are making Cappleman supporters look petty. If you want your man to win, go out there and knock on doors, get neighbors registered to vote and donate to James' campaign. Feel like this is machine vs. little guy? Then, make the effort like Obama did against Clinton -- lots of small donations, word of mouth and a ton of excitement.

    Constant griping on UU with various conspiracy theories is only going to be detrimental to your cause; it's not becoming to the Cappleman campaign.

  9. I don't think there is anyone who regularly comments here who is a larger flaming orifice in support of the Capplemaniac campaign than me.

    The FWY financial info was adequately put out there. It was done far too late and ONLY when Phelan felt pressured to do so by people posting here, but it was done.

    It did show a certain lack of attention to detail and discipline in her campaign, but nothing conspiratorial.

    I personally believe Phelan used the Fix Wilson Yard issue as a platform to give her the opportunity to launch this campaign. That's largely what wannabee politicians do. Find an issue, get your name out there, and then run.

    I don't think she used the money donated to FWY for her own direct or even indirect personal benefit. If you look at where the money went it largely went to attorneys experienced in that area of law.

    Did she use the notoriety of FWY to base a campaign on. Yep. Did she in any unreasonable way spend the FWY money for her own benefit.....nah.

    Let's get on to other issues.

    I've been harping on her ties to Madigan, Terry O'Brien etc since early last year. Maybe earlier.

    When I first heard her name I did an internet search. I saw the ties to Reilly and the various other Madiganites. I saw the family property tax law business.

    You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    She does NOT have the resume or background of an independent voice for the city council. She would likely be an alderman in the manner of a Tom Tunney or Mary Ann Smith. Not horrible by any means, but not independent in any significant way.

    Phelan's entire background screams careerist making a move. If she's elected expect her to be a female version of former alderman Manny Flores. Always looking for higher office or trying to get her name out there.

    We have a choice. Do you want to vote for the candidate of the Madigan wing of the Democratic Party or do you vote for the home grown alternative?

    Do you let outside $$$$ and the most powerful Democratic politician in the state influence your vote or do you vote for the guy raising most of his money from ward residents in relatively small amounts?

    The choice is yours.

    To paraphrase that great American Senator John "Bluto" Blutarsky:

    Campaign's over, man. Madigan dropped the big one.

    Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

    And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...

    The tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!

    I'll see you folks at the Cappleman Victory Party. The first round will be on me. Literally and financially.

  10. IP, very well said on all counts. As always. Thank you.

  11. @Carmen: "When someone comes in from another ward and gives you $10k, doesn't it BEG the question, what do they REALLY want?"

    Well, it appears that Greg Hinz is on the case so I look forward to considering whatever facts he is able to dig up. The same goes for whether or not JPUSA voted as a block in the election and if they are able and willing to make an endorsement in the runoff. Facts are our friends, people!

    BTW, after reading IP's comment I'd like to clarify that I think FWY ended up being a launchpad for Molly as well. Its undeniable. But, the idea that she somehow came into the ward to build a political career is ludicrous unless she somehow knew years ago that Daley wasn't going to seek reelection. She was doing some very irritating things and its not like you saw Brendan Reilly voting against Helen's TIF amendments as some harbinger of things to come. Reilly was going with the flow just like they all were. But with Daley out we're playing a new kind of ball these days. As Hinz alludes to, the players are staking out their positions relative to each other on this new playing field. I'll buy that Molly is a part of this realignment somehow but I think it is disingenuous to imply that her original motives---even in simply moving here----were part of an election strategy.

    Again, facts are our friends. Lets see what fun we can have with them before we resort to their ugly stepsisters, Rumor & Innuendo.

  12. OK, I agree that Fix Wilson Yards is over with, and I do believe that Phelan had genuine concerns about the way TIF money is spent and the process through which Wilson Yards was funded - I had these concerns and that is why I gave to FWY. However, I am still unhappy about such a large contribution from outside our ward. Unlike some who posted, I do know who O'Brien is and many would dispute his self-labeling as a "reformer". I will henceforth criticize Phelan only for lack of action on promises she made about reforming the overall TIF process, and her acceptance of huge contributions from outside the ward and let Wilson Yards go as a lesson learned about donating to causes because a particular cause leader makes solicitations and promises.

  13. Sassy,

    how does Daley not running again directly affect the entrants in the 46th Ward race? How did that affect Phelan's decision to run?

    I'm missing something here. It was clear in 2007 that Shiller was vulnerable. At that point did Phelan discuss the possibility of running with Brendan Reilly who had just beaten an entrenched incumbent? You can find ties between Reilly and Phelan at that point in time. Did Phelan see the Reilly campaign as a blueprint for her own campaign? I would have.

    I'm guessing Phelan would have run regardless of whether Daley or Shiller sought reelection. Frankly, Phelan would have been better off if Shiller had run. She might have faced Shiller one on one in a runoff and easily beaten her. Cappleman ain't goin' to be easy to beat.

    In fact he's the likely winner. Watch what happens over the next few weeks between a highly disciplined local campaign and an ill disciplined campaign funded by real estate interests.

    Now the Madigan ties to Phelan's campaign are obvious and have been obvious even before the Reilly donation and the naming of Dave Clarkin publicly. Although, Clarkin being involved in her campaign was not exactly a well kept secret. Woof, woof.

    One more thang Phelan said this in the Hinz piece:

    "but Ms. Phelan does say that money she's received from real estate interests is from local owners "worried about the safety of their tenants" and not developers who see Uptown as the new promised land now that incumbent Helen Shiller, a low-income housing advocate, is retiring."

    I didn't see many local interests in her $1000+ campaign disclosures. I did see a pattern of real estate attorneys and property owners who make a whole lotta contributions to people that Mike Madigan supports. I'm sure that is purely coincidental.

    The Madigan machine can be defeated. They supported the losing candidates against Fioretti and Pawal.

    In fact by being so transparent in their support for Phelan they paradoxically make it more likely she'll lose.

  14. $9,626.20? That's a mighty strange amount for a campaign contribution.

    Maybe it includes kibble to go along with the cost of Yellow Dog's employment.

  15. This triumvirate of waste and corruption that is/was headed up by Madigan, Blagojevich/Quinn & Daley needs to be booted out of public office wherever possible. We have the highest taxes in the country, the highest gas prices in the country, and the worst relative infrastructure in the country - all to fund the corrupt Democratic machine and its cronies. Since we're all stuck voting for members of one party like the Chinese, we might as well vote to temper the influence of the machine. I'm not hugely impressed with Mr. Cappleman, but he's the best choice. The last thing we need is for the triumvirate to entrench itself here for another 30 years. Thanks to Chicago's risible facade of democracy, once they're in there, it'll be a whole generation before they're out. Perhaps UU should use its influence to promote the notion of term limits for the mayor and alderman?

  16. how does Daley not running again directly affect the entrants in the 46th Ward race?

    I don't think many folks from outside the ward would have risen to her aid if a Daley-backed Shiller were in the race or if Daley was running for re-election. I wasn't trying to make a point about her decision to run as much as how she emerged as a candidate over time. I think its unfair to say that she had serious aspirations long before FWY started. I think her interest probably grew as the lawsuit ran its course.

    As I said earlier in this thread, my purpose here is to encourage people to avoid the conspiracy-theories and rampant speculation we have seen over the past few days. I've been irritated by it but hadn't found a way to respond to it without getting embroiled in the particulars. The issue of Molly being a renter and possibly only here to run for office seemed to be a good vehicle for making my point. Its an allegation that I strongly feel to be untrue and one that doesn't necessarily require you to be on team Molly to appreciate. If the allegation were about James I would have done the same thing.

    I am very interested in how we are going to emerge from this election ready to do some good and less interested in discussing the merits of each candidate. I feel as if most people have made up their mind anyway.

  17. This triumvirate of waste and corruption that is/was headed up by Madigan, Blagojevich/Quinn & Daley needs to be booted out of public office wherever possible.

    um...excuse me....but Rahm Emanuel was just elected mayor. "The Machine" rolls on.

  18. Sassy, Molly is a renter that has only been in Uptown for 5 years.. James is a homeowner that has lived in Uptown for decades..and given his time and effort in ways large and small the entire time... There is no conspiracy.. that is a fact.. and the fact you are a renter that has also been here less than 5 years makes it even less suprising you are supporting Molly

  19. I'm hearing Molly moved here in 2005 and I'm also hearing she moved here in 2007. I first heard about Phelan's interest in running for alderman back in 2008. I won't guess whether or not she purposely moved here to run for alderman but it's a fair question if we want to see a public servant in office rather than a typical politician.

    So, for me, it's about which candidate encapsulates being that public servant we need. If others of you want a public servant, then it begs this question: Which candidate immediately pops into mind as that public servant?

  20. @Rob: "and the fact you are a renter that has also been here less than 5 years makes it even less suprising you are supporting Molly"


    -I have lived in Uptown for much longer than 5 years.
    -My family and I own our home.
    -I never said that I support Molly.

    But my personal details are irrelevant.

    I'm interested in truth, transparency, fairness and respect in our civic life. I consider UU to be part of our local civic life. Those are the axes I grind even though at times it has made me look like a supporter of Helen Shiller, JPUSA, poorly-run affordable housing (and now) Molly Phelan. I really don't care. What I do care about is emerging from these past years and this election with people invigorated and ready to work together. The worst thing in my mind would be for old divisions to be replaced by new ones and for people to feel justified sitting on the sidelines. A new alderman has the capacity to bring people together and ignite change but they can't do it if people still have scores to settle.

    I'll probably keep grinding this ax but my doing so is not to get one candidate elected over the other. I do have a preference, but I'm really rooting for Uptown.

  21. You guys are ridiculous. I don't care if someone has been here for 20 days or 20 years. If they are the best person for the job, they should be elected.....everything else is irrelevant.

    I want the candidate who will bring jobs and $$$$ to the area; everything else will fall into place if the area is thriving. Whether that person is James or Molly is up to you to decide.

  22. This is the type of guy Ms Phelan decides to use for her campaign.


    That is a blogpage I just put together to highlight the things and games Mister Dog did prior to his being outed as Dave Clarkin.

    Obviously I am a Cappleman supporter. The Phelan campaign makes that an easy choice.

  23. When you read the name "Dave Clarkin" do you think about the "Dave Clark Five"? Probably not. I am old.

    Catch Us If You Can.

    By the way if this blog is still "IRISHPIRATE Uptown Update" then I think the YellowDogPee files page needs its own topic.

    I ALMOST hate to see his silly statements outed. I mean, really, if Dave isn't being paid by the Cappleman campaign he should demand a check.

    One thing Dave posted online is true. He has lived in Uptown for a number of years. His not changing his blogger profile from the Springfield address was apparently just an oversight.

    That's one rumor I can squash here.

  24. Just out of curiousity, how did someone link YDD to this Dave Clarkin whom supposedly works for Molly? I tried googling the two names together and came up with nothing except a dave larkin and a YDD who both posted comments in the same thread on capitolfax.com.

    @Stonewall Riots
    It seems there is a lot of hate for Molly. ESPECIALLY for a Cappleman campaign worker to make a website dedicated to a person who works for the Molly campaign about comments they made on UU?? I mean get real, it says you work for Capplemans campaign, I think your just as bad as the guy with the camera to take the time to create a website essentially in Cappleman's name, since you do work for his cause.

    "the guy who had the video camera harassing my campaign worker."- From your website.

    I voted for Cappleman the first round, but the haste from his supporters towards Molly on UU is making me change my mind. I suggest you all calm down before others start feeling the same way. Do it for Cappleman.

  25. Capstone I am not a Cappleman campaign worker. Not volunteer nor paid. I did and will vote for him.

    Did I say I worked for his campaign. No I did not. Thank you for trying to change the subject. It almost seems like the same type of tactic Clarkin would use when responding to a comment.

    I do not hate Molly Phelan. She is not on my Christmas card list though. I do not like her campaign tactics and where her money is coming from. The current alderman was put into office the last two elections by outside money and personalities. Let us let Uptown decide who shall represent us.

    I posted comments her campaign dog Clarkin made as Yellow Dog Democrat.

    I posted comments where he denied working for her.

    As for linking YDD and Clarkin read the site. You should be able to judge that for yourself. You have been reading this site for awhile. If I am wrong the Phelan campaign can subpoena my information from blogger. Just use the template Holstens lawyers used against Fix Wilson Yard.

    Now there is one area we might agree on. There is much negative stories and comments posted on this site regarding Phelans campaign.

    That is largely the fault of her campaign. If you take huge amounts of money from outsiders and have consultants and aldermen with strong ties to Michael J Madigan supporting your campaign you can expect some negative comments.

    When your campaign attempts to keep legally registered voters from voting you can expect negative comments. When your attack dog calls Police Officer Michael Carroll a

    'Yep, that Michael Carroll is a reeel champion of law-and-order'

    you might not be surprised when people bite back. Ruff. Ruff

  26. Hey guys, let's remember that both Molly and James are trying to do something good. They're also both good people. We're discussing method, not motive or character.

  27. When your campaign attempts to keep legally registered voters from voting

    I missed this. What happened?

  28. Not sure if you are implying I am YDD, but I can assure you I am not, nor do I have an affiliation with either campaign.

    I was simply stating that on your website it says at the bottom what I posted in the previous comment. Apparently I was mistaken for attributing the comment to something you wrote. I apologize.

    I can already see if Molly wins there is going to be the haters on here which will divide us all, again. Maybe no alderman can save this community and bring us together, you guys are all pitted against eachother no matter what. So if Molly wins, you may have to take a good look mirror and decide if the alderman is the problem for the community split, or if it is you.

  29. Capstone wrote regarding Stonewall Riot's post: "I mean get real, it says you work for Capplemans campaign, I think your just as bad as the guy with the camera to take the time to create a website essentially in Cappleman's name, since you do work for his cause.

    'the guy who had the video camera harassing my campaign worker.'-

    From your website."

    No, you're misreading the quote. That's from the linked post (as were all the others in that format) and quotes Lauren Peters, who is Cappleman's campaign manager. Who, obviously, DOES work for Cappleman.

  30. Sassyramadingdong,

    methinks Mr Riots was likely talking about this blogpost by Craig Gernhardt of Gay Chicago Magazine from election day.

    That was discussed a bit here and one commenter recently made the suggestion that Phelan workers were specifically targeting gay voters.

    I really, really, really doubt that. However, when you bring in Team Madigan to assist you can expect some heavy handed and ultimately counterproductive tactics. Tactics that lead to rumors popping up and hurting your campaign.

    Tactics like putting a pic of an on duty Chicago cop in your mailings. A cop who apparently drove over to your campaign office in his cop vehicle just for the photo op. Dumb, de dumb dumb.

  31. Thanks for clarifying, pirate.

  32. Toucan - No argument there about Emanuel. Irish Pirate - I thought of the Dave Clark Five as well when I read Dave Clarkin, which reminded me of Dick Clark, American Bandstand, Dick Biondi, WLS, Magic 104 and got me humming all at the same time. :)

  33. Ald. Reilly is not a member of the machine. He beat a machine-backed incumbent, Burt Natarus. Speaker Madigan endorsed Natarus, not Reilly. As Alderman, Reilly has waged several high-profile battles against the machine, most prominently the fight to save Grant Park. Look it up on google. you will see what I mean. A member of the machine does not battle against Mayor Daley (and vote against his budget). This was just one issue. Reilly knows Phelan from before he was even alderman. in any event, were Molly to win and serve like Reilly that would be fantastic for the 46th Ward.

  34. Thanks to Stonewall Riots for posting the link to remind us of YDD's misleading comments on this blog - including denying working for Phelan, denying and then having to admit to being involved in the intimidation of other campaign volunteers, etc.

    It was out of line for someone here to attribute your comments as a NON-paid, NON-volunteer of any campaign to any particular candidate.

    YDD is in a different category as he is working for/paid by a candidate and apparently had to be questioned at that candidate's offices by the police for alleged intimidation of another campaign's volunteers.

    I hope we can soon all get along and work for a better Uptown/46th Ward, but the purpose of a runoff election is to decide which of two candidates is best to get us to that point. We can join in a believable rendition of Kumbaya when the runoff is decided.

    That said I have been impressed by how well the volunteers I talked with for Baskin, Carroll, Stewart, Cappleman and other candidates behaved amicably and like adults with each other and with voters at the polling places and have continued to interact after election day - apprently many of the former candidates. I have not observed this demeanor from YDD and his pals.

  35. I have heard that my comment upthread was not a clear as it should have been.

    If I may clarify: My point is that James does not stoop to using paid shills to anonymously comment on his behalf on this site.

    Lauren submitted her report under her own name. I pointed out that she is completely transparent about being paid by the campaign. Because that is her job.

    Which she rocks at. Well above and beyond her general awesomeness.

  36. http://www.youtube.com/user/CitizensForShiller#p/a/u/1/wjKUa-Uifho

    So Shiller spoke up regarding the Children's museum downtown a few years back (Reilly's ward)..I've rarely seen her be this passionate about her own ward....

    having said that... is Ald. Reilly looking to continue his support (albeit purchased) from other alderman (potential) with his $10k donation to Molly Phelan?

  37. http://www.youtube.com/user/CitizensForShiller#p/a/u/1/wjKUa-Uifho

    Isn't this Reilly's ward that Shiller is going on and on about?