Chicago Migrant Crisis an Opportunity for the Crooks to Get Rich Quick

AP Photo/Paul Beaty

“The migrants want everything in a dish ready to eat,” said Ruth Diza, a Mexican-American immigrant who's been in the country for 33 years. “Why do they get off so easy?”

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Diaz told the Chicago Tribune that "she owned a grocery store and worked hard to send her daughter to nursing school." "Protect our community" read the sign in Spanish she was holding.

Mrs. Diaz is objecting to the city's plan to house 2,000 migrants in two  large winterized tents in a parking lot in the Brighton Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Why this particular park in Brighton Park? Try to follow the convoluted connections of crooked developers, crooked politicians, and just plain crooks who make city contracting rules disappear whenever they want them to.

County property records show the Brighton Park site is owned by Barnacres Corp., a Markham-based company helmed by Otoniel “Tony” Sanchez. Sanchez is the president or manager of several other businesses registered to the same Markham address, including Sanchez Paving Co., which offers concrete, as well as asphalt paving, patching and overlay, according to its website.

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You should know that the paving industry in Chicago has long been a corrupt part of politics in the city.

It starts to get interesting when we discover Mr. Sanchez was a donor to the campaign of current Mayor Brandon Johnson, giving the mayor $1500.

Admittedly that's not much cash. But there are other ways to win a city contract.

Bill Neidhardt, political adviser to Johnson, said in a Friday statement that the $1,500 contribution had no influence on the base camp site decision. He said city workers involved in scouting locations did not know about the donation and received an unsolicited “inquiry” about the Brighton Park property.

"Unsolicited," but that doesn't mean "anonymous" or "unidentified." They knew who it was from. 

“The mayor did not solicit this contribution and was unaware of this contribution until its return this month,” Neidhardt said. “This particular parcel came from an unsolicited inbound inquiry addressed to city personnel tasked with identifying properties and who did not have any knowledge of this minor campaign contribution. The decision to advance this property was based solely on the standard analysis performed on all such properties by said personnel.”

Mr. Sanchez is very well-connected, indeed.

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Sanchez also appears to have a role in another asphalt company, MAT Asphalt, which is headed by Michael Tadin Jr., son of longtime city contractor Michael Tadin, who was tight with former Mayor Richard M. Daley and whose businesses received tens of millions of dollars in city contracts. The elder Tadin was part of the city’s Hired Truck Program, which was halted in 2006 after city officials and trucking contractors were indicted in massive bribe schemes that led to dozens of convictions.

Johnson is returning about $46,000 in illegal campaign contributions, including the donation from Mr. Sanchez. As for the son of the crooked trucker: “That property has nothing to do with me or any family member of mine,” Tadin Jr. said about the potential base camp site. “We don’t own any properties together.”

In the byzantine world of Chicago politics, that's not likely.


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