Monday, March 21, 2011

Citizen Files Ethics Complaint Against Cappleman; Cappleman Campaign Responds

From the blog of Crain's Greg Hinz:

"A potentially significant ethics complaint has been filed in the wide-open race to succeed Helen Shiller as 46th Ward alderman.

The complaint alleges that James Cappleman, who is opposing Molly Phelan in the runoff election, improperly stated on his city ethics form that he did not make at least $2,500 from a firm doing at least $5,000 in business with the city.

In fact, the complaint alleges, Mr. Cappleman worked as a research manager for Access Community Health Network, which in turn received a $200,000 contract grant from the city.

Mr. Cappleman -- who did disclose his job on his ethics form -- says he had no idea another section of the firm was receiving city money. "I'm a researcher," working on a specific program to improve lab testing, he said in a quick phone interview. "I have no access to that (contract) information. I wouldn't know if it was true."

Adds Mr. Cappleman, "We're going to see a lot of this little games" as Election Day nears on April 5.

The complaint was filed by a citizen, but I wouldn't know about it if the Phelan campaign hadn't sent out a press release with a copy of the complaint attached.

The matter will go to the city's ethics board."

A press release from the Cappleman campaign sent this afternoon:

CHICAGO – The campaign of 46th Ward Aldermanic candidate James Cappleman today released the following statement in reference to the Phelan campaign's misleading charge regarding his Statement of Financial Interest.

"It is unfortunate that Molly Phelan is going harshly negative and grasping at straws in an attempt to tarnish James Cappleman's reputation," said Cappleman campaign manager Lauren Peters. "The voters deserve an honest debate over the issues affecting the 46th Ward, not cheap political tricks."

"The facts are very simple. James Cappleman disclosed on Question 2 of his Statement of Financial Interest that he works at Access Community Health Network. James Cappleman has no contract with the City of Chicago. James Cappleman received no money from the City of Chicago. James Cappleman has no ownership interest with Access Community Health Network."

"Despite these misleading negative attacks, we continue to look forward to debating issues like crime, business development and job creation with Molly Phelan."


  1. Clearly this was a citizen associated with the Phelan campaign as "the complaint was filed by a citizen, but I wouldn't know about it if the Phelan campaign hadn't sent out a press release with a copy of the complaint attached." I would be curious to see how much Molly's campaign is spending on legal fees to pay for lawyers to dig up any dirt on James.

    Hold on to your seats - the next two weeks are going to be a bumpy ride. Molly is obviously playing dirty, and if this is the best she can come up with, it becomes more obvious that James' honesty and transparency during his campaign rings true.

  2. Thanks for solidifying my decision Team Molly!

  3. I'm casting my vote for James tomorrow!

  4. This seems sleazy by the Phelan campaign.

    Phelan does not have time to respond to questions about questionable contributions to her from interests from outside our ward.

    Phelan does not have time to respond to ethics issues surrounding the solicitation of her family firm's clients to contribute to her campaign (documented and forwarded to the Sun-Times).

    Phelan does not have time to respond to video surveillance of her own campaign worker trying to pick the lock of / gain unlawful entry to an Uptown resident's home and business.

    Phelan is able to find time to corral a "citizen" (of what?) to research and bring forward an obscure city contract issue and

    Phelan does have time to send out press releases alleging imagined misdeeds.

    This again smell like (legal) thuggery from those outside of our Ward.

    Grow up, Molly! This is why voters in the Ward (and your own friends) think you not prepared, not adult-enough and too self-entitled to handle this job.

    I can only imagine the mischief Phelan could do as alderman.

  5. I wonder who the dupe, er, "concerned citizen" is who filed the complaint? Another one of Molly's very accomplished relatives?

  6. Backfiring fast Molly.

    People here are tired of politics as usual. And this reeks of it.

  7. This is rather silly. If that's the best Team Molly can do then Cappleman is in fine shape. I think I see the paw prints of a certain canine here.

    Not the first time I think I smelled canine in this race:

    What's next accusing the Capplemaniac of being for death panels?

    Ooop, sorry that was "shopped" a few weeks back.

    From the Capitol Fax Blog:

    "I wonder what she’ll say when shown this letter to the editor by Mr. Cappleman…from 1999.

    One cost-saving measure would be to curtail costly and aggressive medical treatment for patients near death.

    Medicare costs have to be controlled. Maybe using the skills of ethicists in providing direction on cutting health-care costs would be an answer to this moral dilemma.

    Death panels!!!"

    This reminds me of a campaign where someone tosses a brick through their own campaign window and then cries intimidation for the publicity.

    Phelan is flailing. The ties to Burke et al are hurting her campaign. This only shows the desperation.

    Really folks, go over to Cappleman's webpage and donate some money if you can.

    I had hoped for better from the Phelan campaign. I mean I enjoy this for the pure desperate spectacle of it, but I had hoped for a better campaign. Something more like the campaign JFK and Goldwater had planned in 1964 where they would tour the country and actually debate ideas.

    What we are getting is a third rate imitation of Karl Rove.

    I'm relatively sure that "ethics complaint" will be the highlight of Phelan campaign literature over the next two weeks.

  8. To quote Mayor Daley. This is silly just silly really silly silly silly. I tell you it's silly.

  9. I sincerely hope that nothing comes of this, but I am at least soothed by the consistency:

    Molly's every donation is scrutinized, and her failure to disclose her employer's clients is cause for alarm to some. Shame on Phelan.

    When James neglects to include that the City is among his employers clients, Shame on Phelan.

    Now all I need is IP to read this and tell me to "Calm Down."

  10. Celtic Marauder,

    I am glad that you changed your "non de guerre" to mimic me, but you shoulda created a whole new identity. It links back to your earlier comments under another "nom de guerre".

    Now you do have a partially legitimate point. Some of the complaints directed at the Phelan campaign have been rather silly. Like the mailer that went out without the required "paid for by" line. All that her campaign needed to say about that was "oops", but that reactions seems foreign to Team Molly.

    The scrutiny directed toward her donors is fair. Her campaign has also "scrootened"* Cappleman's campaign over some of his donations.

    Also I believe Phelan claims to be an owner in the law firm. That's a bit different than being an employee.

    People on both sides sometimes grasp at tiny issues and try to make them into something more significant.

    A missing "paid for" line. Not significant.

    This.....not significant.

    Taking tens of thousands of dollars from downtown and real estate interests is a bit more interesting. Garnering the "endorsement" of Slick Eddy Burke through a donation.......significant.

    Now calm down..........

    *scrootened is a word Mayor Daley Part Deux created.

  11. By this logic, couldn't anyone be guilty of an ethics violation if his employer had a contract with the city he didn't know about?

    One wonders whether Molly's employers ever had any business with the city, and whether she listed them on her ethics disclosure.

    Not that it matters - this is a non-issue. Note, however, the immediate response of the Cappleman campaign to even a hint of impropriety. Could we expect the same from Phelan? Have we seen the same?

  12. Go James! Stay classy! Good ol' Mol just Never leaves you asking for more. This just ticks me off! She is more than just a person who GIVES off a bad air...she really is that person. Electing her will be more politics as usual. We will only have ourselves to blame if that happens. We need to be bigger than her money!

  13. Molly Phelan is already playing the "I don't have to answer to you" game. Isn't the 46th ward sick of that?

    And to pull this kind of move, obviouly a legan/attorney play, is pathetic, below the citizens of the 46th ward and if tolerated, have fun getting no answers from Molly and her team of thugs.

    James is one of the MOST ethical people in the 46th ward and to even try to taint his name is SHAMEFUL, absolutely shameful. This sounds exactly like something a Franciscan friar would do.

    Boy, Molly, are you REALLY willing to relinquish your integrity and reputation to be Alderman?

  14. In Chicago politics this is nothing more than a rough elbow. Barely a foul.

    But I don't think tactics like this are going to help the Phelan campaign win in April. Not one bit.

  15. Wait a second. James says he's a research manager, right? Well, I don't think it's unreasonable then to ask why he didn't bother to research the question before signing his name to the disclosure. The contract information is online. A monkey can find it. That's why I'm not so sure this drama is a Phelan fabrication. More like a lazy candidate whose mistake was caught by an alert competitor. Fact is, had James exercised simple due diligence in preparing his campaign documents, this would not have come up. I concede this is minor in the scheme of things but I still think James should have accounted for his own error rather than blaming Phelan for paying attention.

  16. Fred - you obviously have never met James. He is NOT and has NOT been for the past 7+ years he's been working in the community lazy. You should meet him!

  17. Fred, the whole point is to uncover any conflict of interest. I wonder what the conflict of interest could possibly be for Cappleman? He has no financial interest with his place of employment. He's just collecting a paycheck.

    Phelan is acting desperate, and desperate never looks pretty. Please don't mistake voters for being stupid. It only reflects back onto you.

  18. Fred, either way, this pales in comparison to Molly not disclosing exactly how the Fix Wilson Yard money was spent in a timely manner, and only doing so after people started demanding it. I was one of those people who said that I could be happy with either James or Molly as our alderman before the runoff even though I voted for James. In light of all the weird stuff she's been doing lately, including this, I am now steadfastly in James's camp. He just has a complete absence if sleaze potential.

  19. Seems like a move out of the Ed Burke Council Wars playbook when he tried to oust Mayor Washington from office over a late filed disclosure statement.

    "Burke`s suit, which was dismissed, had contended that under state law Washington had forfeited his office by not meeting the deadline for filing the report."

    Maybe when Burke and Phelan were discussing "constituent services" at their meeting he taught her the uses of he dark side of the force.

    I know, I know. It was a long time ago in a place.....well actually here........but some of the players still remain the same and the game unfortunately hasn't changed.

    It's all about gaming the system.

    Now I don't know of any new legitimate polls regarding the 46th Ward race, but if there are any out there my guess is they aren't favorable for "Team Molly".

    Theoretically, if Cappleman wins Phelan could still pursue this issue through the courts and perhaps add other issues by trying to subpoena various bloggers. If you can't win because your dad was a prosecutor 45 years ago then let a Judge decide.

    Now who is the most influential politician regarding slating judges in Cook County?

    Ed Burke, but you knew I was gonna say that didn't ya?

    Gawd, this is like wheels within wheels.

    It's just unfortunate for the Phelan campaign that I have a memory like a Windows 95 computer and I took a typing class in high skooool. Plus my amazing spelling skills.

  20. This smacks of the 'Rahm doesn't live here!' type of thing.
    Just desperation, frankly.

  21. Little Tomato,

    I hope you've gotten out there and voted already. Team Molly wants to turn you and the entire concept of democracy and voting into ketchup.

    That's it folks. The slogan for the Phelan camp.

    Ketchup. That has a very annoying punny double meaning.

  22. It is painfully obvious who the "machine" candidate is in this race.

    I guess that isn't really news, but the evidence just keeps piling up.

  23. I'm feeling rather pretentiously existential at the moment. That often occurs to me late at night when I have a bottle in front of me.

    Now so far the two main themes of the Phelan campaign have arguably been "tough on crime" and HER idea for an entertainment district.

    Lawrence and Broadway were the center of Jazz Age Chicago. The great chronicler of Jazz Age America was F Scott Fitzgerald.

    See how my brain works? Scary, ain't it?

    Anyway, what would Fitzgerald say about the Phelan campaign?

    Probably something about doing battle with the dark autumn of lost dreams.

    Perhaps something about the entire community watching the tortuous death struggle of the Old Uptown as we look to a new and unknown future. Hopefully a better future, where we can recapture the best of Uptown past and build a better Uptown future.

    Me? I'm a cynical idealist as Fitzgerald might say.

    We cynical idealists don't support Phelan or her procession of clouted hacks. We read about her "constituent services" meeting with Honest Ed Burke and remember Mayor Washington's experience with and opinion of Slick Eddy.

    Ya see, we cynical idealists truly believe to paraphrase the greatest human who ever lived, Abraham Lincoln,

    My dream is of a place and a time where Uptown will once again be seen as the last best hope of Chicago.

    This city is in trouble folks. Deep trouble. We have an infrastructure that is falling apart below us and a political class among us that believes that government exists to give them power and money and not to serve the people.

    Now if you believe Phelan is just being cynically idealistic with this ethics complaint then vote for her. If you believe that the people financing her campaign and working for her have the best interests of the public at heart, then vote for her. If you believe that her meeting with Ed Burke was about "constituent services" then vote for her.

    You don't believe it, do ya?

    Vote for and work for Cappleman. He ain't Fiorello La Guardia doing battle with Tammany Hall, but he's a hell of alot better than Boss Burke and his best dame Molly.

    Gawd, I love that last line. Sounds almost like bad film noir writing. I shoulda been born 50 years earlier. I ain't a Fitzgerald, but I coulda given Mickey Spillane a run for his money.

    It was a dark and stormy night....

  24. This looks like a responsible complaint to me.
    If Molly made the same "mistake" she would be getting roasted for it right here.
    If James did'nt know the company he worked for did business with the city he should have....well....asked.

  25. Totally petty. I doubt very much of this will go anywhere.

  26. Folks, if you are TRULY up in arms about this, then GO TO A DEBATE AND CONFRONT MOLLY... writing blurbs on here is important, but if no one, in the 3 or 4 debates scheduled and coming up, bothers to both ask AND PRESS Molly to answer specifics on WY or any other questions, then shame on you. At this point, she has gotten away with platitudes and the southside jig. If she does an "Aw shucks...etc, etc...and tries to move on.. DONT LET HER" If a moderator says move on, DONT LET THEM.. We have the right to ask questions and get honest answers

    So get off your rumps and participate in this beautiful thing called Democracy. GO TO THE DEBATES AND DEMAND SPECIFIC ANSWERS. Otherwise, you are wasting everyones time by just writing worthless words...

  27. RacineRacer - I think you're missing an extremely critical point here. Access Community Health Network, Cappleman's employer, is a not-for-profit organization delivering healthcare to low income people in Chicago through community based clinics.

    To describe it as a "company doing business with the city" is a gross misrepresentation. Access is so well respected that the City contracted with them to help in delivering service to people in need. This is HARDLY the same as working for a for profit entity.

  28. Racine Racer defending Molly is not surprising. That's what he does.

    Now when Jason/Captain Picard calls it petty, then the Phelan campaign should take notice.

    Too late now. Full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. My great great great grandfather was Admiral Daniel Farragut.. ..ahhhhhhh.........Yee......then a kung fu move ala her cousin Bruce McLee.

    This is what happens when you hire political "experts" who lack any "ear" for what will fly and what won't.

    This just reinforces every idea that Molly is a machine hack hiding under reformer clothing.

    It's like taking the money from Ed Burke. Didn't anyone in the Phelan campaign consider the blowback?

    Stupid shit.

    Now I suppose if the ethics board tossed Cappleman off the ballot over this then it might be "worth it." However, in the list of remedies the board or courts have that is highly unlikely.

    A desperate move by a petulant and spoiled campaign.

    I am looking forward to this election being over. I had hoped for better. Silly me.

  29. All of these criticisms of Molly Phelan's campaign are in fact what is spoiled and petulant Mr. Pirate, my opinion contrary to yours.

    And I make no apologies for defending Molly on this site as you say "that's what I do". I voted for her once and soon twice.

    Your a Cappleman BIG deal.

    I voted for Molly because she represents herself very professionally, makes a good impression....for starters.

    See everybody at the "debate".

  30. RR, I wish I felt the same about her professionalism...

  31. Gawd,

    seems not only the Phelan campaign is petulant, but their fastest supporter RR is vying for the title of Mr/Ms Plethora of Petulance.


    I won't be at the debate, but you can find me on election night. I'll be in a bar sitting next to Ed Burke and telling him "better luck next time "States Attorney/Mayor Burke".

  32. Really RR...Molly professional? Not so much! Professional people can control eye rolling when confronted. Professional people carry themselves with respect and that respect is passed on to those they encounter. Professional people have the ability to listen to what others say and respond in a factual manner. Professional people confront problems and issues that arise, whether they are in the right or in the wrong, and they deal with them. Professional people don't allow people working for them or representing them to behave unprofessionally. My grandmother always said you are judged by the company you keep. Molly keeps some questionable company. My young daughter has more control over her behavior

  33. I've read the form; I've read the instructions. While I can see the Phelan camp's "gottcha" point, it's equally clear the Cappleman camp wasn't trying to hide anything.

    I'll admit I'm more than a little surprised by this. When I was speaking with James when he announced he stressed how important it was to have all his "t"s crossed and "i"s dotted.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Eric, Molly says she lives in the ward, and unless you have compelling proof she doesn't and can provide it to the Election Board, like a lease signed by her somewhere else, we're taking her at her word. Let's not claim rumors are facts.

  36. Just who is running Molly's campaign? I have rarely seen such a poorly run political operation in a local election. From start to finish, Molly has given us no compelling reason to vote for her. Her "roots" in our community? Her mother was a social worker in Uptown. Fine; my great-grandfather was a clergyman, but that gives me no insight or expertise in religion. She rents an apartment in the ward, but apparently doesn't even live there. As someone who supported the Fix Wilson Yards effort a few years ago, it now seems clear to me that Molly was merely interested in using that to lay a political foundation in a ward to which she had no significant ties.

    Her "idea" for making Uptown "the entertainment capital of the Midwest"? Unoriginal, and completely impracticable, given the other problems facing our community. Her financial and political backing coming almost completely from what's left of The Machine and from outside corporate and real estate interests? Not allowed to press her on that. Her inability to go off script and thoughtfully answer a question? Very limited, it seems, for an attorney. Her performance during the Sun-Times interview was actually painful to watch: She grew up in Chicago, well, "Chicagoland." But she went to school with lots of people from Chicago. And her parents....the woman is 39 years old, and she needs to stop talking about her parents' accomplishments as if they were her own. This only further diminishes her and makes her seem childish. The eye-rolling, grimacing, and feigned outrage when Cappleman mentioned her law firm's apparent solicitation of campaign donations from firm clients, when she accused James of insulting her father while he was "lying in a hospital bed" (in fact James never even mentioned her father) make it clear that this woman is not ready for prime time. Finally, this bit of dirty politics only makes Molly appear small and desperate. Let the voters of this ward judge for themselves, but I think we deserve better than what Molly has offered.

    March 22, 2011 2:20 PM

  37. "She rents an apartment in the ward, but apparently doesn't even live there."

    I used to make silly statements like this but that was before I quit smoking crack after that night I woke up in Thailand with a Laotian hooker that turned out to be a man.

    I was a young Starfleet cadet thinking I was immortal.

    No offense to crackheads, Laotian hookers or men who like men intended. ;-)

    Cap'n (Jason) Picard, just to make IP happy.

  38. Dear Irish Pirate,

    Ketchup, indeed! The city is in trouble. Deep doo-doo. We "cynical idealists" have to keep trecking through the muck create by the corruption that is Chicago politics and hope for a better 46th. An new day is dawning though. I will vote early tomorrow or Thursday and my vote will be for Mr. Cappleman. And thank you for concisely describing what I recognize myself to be but could not describe so eloquently: a cynical idealist. Perfect.

    And to Rob, I think Ms. Phelan's actions and those of her staff speak much louder than her words. I will attend the debates, but I have seen and heard enough to know that Ms Phelan's political ambitions are greater than her desire to make Uptown a better place and that can't lead to anything good down the line. People like that will blow with the wind if it means good things for their careers.