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[26 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]

What about our waterways? We hear less concern about the state of our aquatic transportation infrastructure.
Many forget that Chicago’s status as the nation’s transportation hub is rooted in the era when most goods moved by water. Its rise from remote trading post to mid-continent metropolis began when immigrant laborers arrived to dig the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Fewer still appreciate the continuing role of water shipping in our economy. Boats and barges transport everything from steel to …

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[26 Aug 2014 | No Comment | ]

A senior Quinn administration official is leaving his post amid continuing fallout from a patronage hiring scandal in the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Deputy Chief of Staff Sean O’Shea is going off the payroll, effective Aug. 29. He’s held that position since August 2011, and his responsibilities included overseeing IDOT and its hiring of senior officials in policy positions.
A spokesman for the Quinn administration confirmed the departure, but insisted that it has nothing to do with the hiring matter.
Read more in Crain’s

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[18 Aug 2014 | No Comment | ]

The Chicago Housing Authority is changing a controversial program that paid for low-income residents to live in some of the city’s most expensive apartment buildings, bowing to criticism that it wasted tax dollars.

The CHA said it is tightening the formula it uses to determine the maximum rent it will pay to subsidize people who hold housing vouchers, a change that will effectively make many luxury downtown high-rises off limits.
Read More in Crains

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[5 Aug 2014 | One Comment | ]

The internal watchdog of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is launching an investigation of a Chicago Housing Authority program that pays market-rate rents for poor people to live in some of the city’s most expensive apartment buildings.

 
HUD Inspector General David Montoya is conducting an audit of the CHA’s use of federally funded housing vouchers to subsidize low-income residents in high-end buildings, according to a Capitol Hill source. Critics of the so-called supervoucher program say it’s a waste of tax dollars and rewards a few lucky tenants at …

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[24 Jul 2014 | No Comment | ]

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, followed the lead of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and wrote a letter to Walgreen CEO Gregory Wasson warning that the company risks hurting its U.S. business if it continues on its current course.

 
Even if it moves, Ms. Schakowsky wrote, “Walgreens would still be dependent upon its American business operations for much of its revenue. I doubt customers will feel the same loyalty to a company that seeks to use a currently available tax loophole to avoid its corporate responsibilities to them and to our nation. …

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[29 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

History repeated itself, ruefully, for workers at Sound Solutions Windows & Doors Inc. when the Southwest Side window maker shut down this month, shorting them of vacation pay. Many were treated the same way in the closing of its predecessor, Republic Windows & Doors Inc., which led to a six-day occupation of its Goose Island plant in 2008 and drew rebukes from President-elect Barack Obama and other pols.

Unaffected by Sound Solutions’ demise is Republic’s former president, Richard Gillman, ….. Mr. Gillman, 61, was sentenced in December to four years in …

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[10 Jun 2014 | One Comment | ]

A consultant hired by Lincolnwood is recommending the village kick in as much as $33.5 million in subsidies to help launch a $125 million mixed-use project on the site of the former Purple Hotel.

North Capital’s proposal “will require some level of public assistance. The key policy decision for the village will center on the incentive amount — including the designation of pledged sources of revenues for incentive payments,” the report states.
The developer has told the village that it must achieve returns of between 13 percent and 25 percent in order …

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[20 May 2014 | One Comment | ]

After a series of recent media reports about activities by his ex-chief of staff, Jack Lavin, who left state payroll last September, Mr. Quinn’s office released a statement saying that he will push for legislation to forbid such work for one year after a senior official leaves office.
“The governor favors amending the law to say that any chief of staff, deputy chief of staff or deputy governor – whether they’re participated in a decision or not – should not be permitted to lobby any official in state government for one …

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[12 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

Robert D. Stuart Jr., the last of the Stuart family line to have run Quaker Oats Co., and a co-founder of the America First Committee, which sought to keep the United States out of World War II, died last week. He was 98.
Mr. Stuart, who lived in the Chicago area, died May 8 of a heart attack while he was en route to the U.S. from France, his son, Sandy Stuart, said this morning.

The epitome of old money, the aristocratic but not flashy Mr. Stuart “looks like a god, talks …

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[16 Jan 2014 | No Comment | ]

The top executives and directors of ShoreBank, who weren’t made defendants in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s $73 million lawsuit alleging shoddy loan practices at the defunct low-income, urban lender, are likely to get caught up in the case after all.

 
 
In recent court filings, the lower-level ex-ShoreBank loan officers whom the FDIC did name in the suit assert that directors, including co-founders Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton, actually approved some of the larger business loans the FDIC cited in its August complaint and were aware of all of the rest. Likewise, the …