Over the past nine years, two nephews of former Mayor Richard M. Daley have been involved in separate plans to redevelop a rundown warehouse on 15 acres of polluted land in Little Village just north of the Stevenson Expressway.Does Barack Obama know these people?
It hasn’t turned out well for Chicago taxpayers.
First, taxpayers have to make up for $4.2 million in city pension money invested on behalf of teachers, police officers and other city workers that ended up squandered on failed development plans involving Daley’s oldest nephew, Robert G. Vanecko.
Now, taxpayers stand to lose another $4.1 million on the same property at 3348 S. Pulaski Rd. That’s the amount of a property-tax break given to a second redevelopment deal for the site.
This one involves Vanecko’s first cousin, Patrick Daley Thompson, an attorney who helped the developers get the tax cut last year shortly before he was elected alderman of the 11th ward — the family’s power base for six decades.
It’s one of the largest tax breaks the Chicago City Council has ever given to an industrial property — about $1 million more than the tax break the Ricketts family will get from City Hall for renovating Wrigley Field, a designated Chicago landmark.
The story of how the polluted Pulaski Road property became toxic for Chicago taxpayers begins in 2004, when Daley was still mayor. That’s when Vanecko — his sister’s oldest son — went into business with Allison S. Davis, the Chicago attorney who gave President Barack Obama his first job out of Harvard Law School, and Davis’ son Jared Davis.No word yet on this story from Barack Obama.
Operating under the name DV Urban Realty Partners, their idea was to redevelop properties in some of Chicago’s most downtrodden neighborhoods. And they were aiming to get government pension funds to invest $100 million to bankroll their plans.
They had a hard time securing investments from pension funds, though, until the Chicago Teachers Retirement System agreed in early 2005 to put in $25 million of the money it held toward teachers’ retirement pay.