Monday, June 18, 2018

Elizabeth Brackett, a true Corruption Buster dies after bike accident 6/17/2018

We fondly remember the life of Elizabeth who dedicated her career to excellent journalism. This award-winning reporter and TV host of Chicago Tonight had a keen eye for human stories and truth. She will be truly missed. May her memory be for a blessing.

Of particular note is her book, "Pay to Play, How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption into a National Sideshow" https://www.amazon.com/Pay-Play-Blagojevich-Political-Corruption/dp/1566638348

This is a must read!

Friday, March 23, 2018

PUBLIC DOLLARS TO KEEP NAVY PIER RECORDS FROM THE PUBLIC: NEARLY $670,000

By John Chase March 23, 2018

The government agency that owns Navy Pier has spent nearly $670,000 in public funds on attorneys to fight the Better Government Association’s efforts to obtain records a judge says should be public.
A Cook County judge earlier this month sided with the BGA, declaring payroll, leasing and other records from Navy Pier are subject to state open records laws.
It was the first legal decision about the records in a nearly four-year battle over the documents between the BGA and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which also owns and operates the McCormick Place convention complex.
It is still unclear if the MPEA and the nonprofit it established to run the lakefront tourist attraction, Navy Pier Inc., will appeal the ruling by Cook County Judge Thomas Allen. An MPEA spokeswoman said a decision about whether to pursue an appeal has not yet been made.
See full story below.
https://www.bettergov.org/news/public-dollars-to-keep-navy-pier-records-from-the-public-nearly-670000

The taxpayers of Illinois need to file suit against the management and Board of MPEA for breach of fiduciary and waste of taxpayer monies without accountability.

Read Corruption Busters Independent Report re MPEA/NPI $1 Lease Agreement that resulted in millions of dollars transferred from public scrutiny. Click here to access.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

BGA WINS TRANSPARENCY RULING IN NAVY PIER PRIVATIZATION CASE

(March 1, 2018, by Madison Hopkins)
Click here for the full story

"In a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications for government moves to privatize public functions, a Cook County judge Thursday declared that documents of the nonprofit agency that operates Navy Pier are subject to state open record laws.
The decision by Cook County Judge Thomas Allen comes nearly four years after the nonprofit, Navy Pier Inc., first denied a request by the Better Government Association for Navy Pier’s payroll, leasing, internal policies and other records."
Allen ruled in favor of the BGA on the key portion of the case.
“Navy Pier is operating and one day it is wearing a government hat and one day it’s not. That’s exactly what this section of FOIA is dealing with,” Allen said.
Here is a link to the Shefsky $17,000 invoice issued in December 2010 to determine if a non-profit is subject to FOIA and OMA.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B86hsukGDw90YXR4TC0tUW5QTDA
Look at the individual hours billed on page 5 of the invoice.

Apparently, Shefsky (now Taftlaw) attorneys Kim R. Walberg (29.9 hrs), Sherri L. Thornton (9.2 hrs), Sarah Farrell (20.3 hrs) and Cary Donham (4.6 hrs) didn't learn to read in law school. This same law firm has been feeding off of taxpayer monies garnering millions in legal fees from City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools & its sister agencies for years.

Of course, a simple reference to Illinois Attorney General's Manual on FOIA and OMA (Page 9)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B86hsukGDw90bXYxVFpEOWxvc3c 
explicitly states that non-profits are not subject to either FOIA or OMA at NO CHARGE.

MPEA immediately proceeded with incorporating Navy Pier Inc on January 4, 2011.
Navy Pier Inc. received 501C3 non-profit status by the IRS at the beginning of 2011. On July 1, 2011, Navy Pier was formally "separated" from MPEA under 25 Year $1 Lease Agreement (with 4-20 year renewal periods) that shifted millions of taxpayer dollars from the public view and accountability, including annual Navy Pier tenant leases totaling $43 Million. This revenue should be taxable under Internal Revenue statutes called Unrelated Business Income Tax. Navy Pier Inc. has been under IRS audit for specifically this issue.
The former MPEA employees never left their desk, used computers purchased by MPEA, answer phones on the system paid for by MPEA and use emails created by MPEA. The principals who formed NPI did not contribute any personal funds to create the Illinois corporation. They did receive a $5 Million interest-free loan from MPEA comprising taxpayer funds to bootstrap the non-profit.
It is expected that NPI will appeal the case.

If you are interested in the chronology of the creation of the bogus NPI non-profit please view previous blogs posted on Corruption Busters.
Stay tuned for further updates.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Jack Hagerty for Judge?

We urge the good citizens of Cook County to Vote NO on Hagerty 

Connected laddie, Jack Hagerty, and his cronies at Shefsky & Froelich (now Taft) have made millions on legal work that could have been provided fully within the City of Chicago Law Department by in-house licensed attorneys already on the payroll (paid municipal patronage workers), at each of the Sister agencies; Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, City Colleges, MPEA, etc. etc. etc.

How do you get rewarded for making a career out of feasting on taxpayer money?

You parley your political connections and cronyism to receive an endorsement for Judge from the Cook County Democratic Party. 



In December 2010 Shefsky billed MPEA $17,000 to research if a Non-Profit is subject to FOIA and Open Meetings Act (OMA) in advance of the January 4th, 2011 incorporation of the bogus 501C3 Navy Pier Inc. 

Shefsky assigned 4 attorneys to this task, knowing full well in advance of this alleged "research" that non-profits are exempt from FOIA and OMA. This was simply a money grab at taxpayer expense.


MPEA's General Counsel Renee C. Benjamin could simply have referenced the Illinois Attorney General's manual (Pg. 9) that states non-profits are exempt from FOIA and OMA at no charge to taxpayers.

Navy Pier Inc. receives almost 100% of its revenue from Unrelated Business Taxable Income and is currently under audit by the IRS. 

In addition, MPEA has transferred millions of dollars in bond monies that it raised under its bonding authority as a government agency without any accountability to taxpayers.


BGA's FOIA lawsuit against MPEA and Navy Pier Inc. 2014-CH-10364 is scheduled for trial October 30, 2017.


Corruption Busters obtained a FOIA response from City Colleges on October 19, 2015 related to $40,000 in blanket fees Hagerty charged City Colleges without details just prior to the demotion of General Counsel James M. Reilly as a going away present.



Jack's firm billed City of Chicago $62 Million between 2012-2013



Hagerty billed Chicago Public Schools over $4 Million in legal fees.


Here is a Who's Who on Jack's donors to date


Note one of the contributors is former Judge Roger Kiley Jr, a sitting Board Member at MPEA and the chief purveyor of nepotism who handed his son Roger Kiley III and Hagerty a lucrative $400,000 no-bid legal contract from MPEA. Kiley coincidentally happened to be a tenant in Shefsky's law office.

Good citizens of Cook County, be sure to prevent Hagerty from collecting a Cook County salary and pension at further taxpayer expense.


VOTE NO ON HAGERTY.





Friday, July 21, 2017

MPEA CONTINUES LEGACY OF ABUSING $55 MILLION TIF DISTRICT MONEY ON TOP OF THE SLEIGHT OF HAND TRANSFER OF $115 MILLION IN MPEA BOND MONIES TO THE BOGUS NON-PROFIT, NAVY PIER INC.

MPEA has continually abused its governmental bonding authority to provide a financial benefit to Navy Pier Inc. since its inception in 2011. In fact, there has never truly been a separation between the entities except for the 501C3 NPI filing in January 2011.

Ex-MPEA employees who had worked at Navy Pier are still at their same desks, same phone numbers, same emails, just a different signature on their paychecks. The non-profit never even bothered to move into its own office space and continues to enjoy rent-free occupancy at the west end of the Pier.

Crain's and Better Government Association today released an expose of continued abuse by MPEA shifting $55 Million in TIF funds to NPI received from the City of Chicago. As soon as the monies were placed into MPEA's bank account, they were immediately transferred to NPI, not directly located within the TIF district. Again, this a direct abuse of taxpayer funds and a continued breach of fiduciary by the MPEA board.

NPI receives a gift of all revenues derived from for-profit activities on the Pier; tenant leases, rooftop leases for cell phone carriers, parking, exhibition hall rentals - all now under review by the Internal Revenue Service in an ongoing audit to determine if these transactions are Unrelated Business Taxable Income.

Click here to read the entire article, 

HOW CITY POWER PLAYERS DIVERTED $55 MILLION IN BLIGHT-FIGHTING TIF CASH TO NAVY PIER

.


Monday, July 17, 2017

BREAKING NEWS!

Just in Navy Pier Inc.'s 2016 Audited Financial Statements Disclosure On-Going IRS Audit for Unrelated Business Taxable Income

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B86hsukGDw90LTdFYjluYzN0YTQ/view?usp=sharing

See Footnote (J) on Page 11

In 2016 Navy Pier Inc. recorded $54,947,107 in Revenue.

All of this revenue constitutes Unrelated Business Taxable Income, not related to typical charitable donations received by a Non-Profit, fully subject to Income Taxes.