CHICAGO - United Working Families has asked for an investigation into Ald. Mell’s campaign finances, questioning whether in-kind contributions from her lobbyist/father violate legal limits. “This situation is not only about the ethics rules, but should also make 33rd Ward residents question her ability to examine the city’s finances on their behalf as well as her understanding of property values in the community,” said Wanat.
“That the Mell/Blagojevic clan is being accused of ‘bending the rules’ should not shock anyone,” said Wanat. “Her brother-in-law’s shenanigans are infamous and her father conviently retired just before a new Ethics Ordinance would have barred him from lobbying for a year. But Ald. Deb Mell’s response to questions about her campaign finances, ‘I didn’t hear that,’ implies she either wasn’t aware of the ethics rules or she wasn’t aware of the donations, and the later is a much bigger problem. Ald. Mell’s campaign committee had about $75,000 at the end of the quarter. If she cannot review and analyze the information that is submitted on her behalf, how can we trust her to safeguard the interests of the 33rd Ward when she is making important decisions about our city’s $9 billion budget?”
Wanat is also concerned about what this situation reveals about Ald. Mell’s understanding of the financial realities that face the small business owners in the 33rd Ward. “Reporting $300/month for a storefront property of that size is totally inconsistent with what other businesses pay for a similar space. Her father’s committee reports indicate he knew property’s value because he paid himself $4,800/month for the office when he was alderman, but she values it at less than one-tenth of that. As alderman, I will meet regularly with small-business owners to be sure I understand their daily realities and so we can work together to ensure that we attract complementary businesses to our diverse and thriving community.”