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Mercy Me! Hospital And Alderman Cash In On Development Deals

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 13, 2009 5:20PM

Mercy Hospital has always had a special place in the heart of the Daley family. Richard J and wife Eleanor fundraised for the hospital in the 60’s and all the Daley children were born there. In a city where patronage is king, should it be any surprise that current Mayor Daley created a special financing district for Mercy when they fell on tough times? The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that when Mercy Hospital faced bankruptcy four years ago, Mayor Daley created a tax-increment financing district around the hospital that would benefit Mercy to the tune of $60 million. The hospital sold a chunk of land to developers who planned to build pricey condos in the area. The property taxes from the condo owners would go back into the hospital.

Mercy sold approximately 10 acres of land to developers who then cut two Chicago Alderman, Ted Mazola and Terry Gabinski, in on the deal. Mazola owns New West Realty, which has sold more than 100 homes on the land. Gabinski is connected to Gerald Fogelson, who bought a half acre of land from Mercy for $1.9 million and sold it to Gabinski for $3.7 million. Gabinski then used that land to build a $28.5 million senior residence, financed with millions from City Hall and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. He was also paid a handsome $1.9 million in developer fees.

If all of this stinks of Chicago’s failed Olympic bid, it’s because Eastgate Village, the development around Mercy, is mere blocks away from what would have been the Olympic Village. In addition, Gerald Fogelson’s business partner is Michael Scott, former member of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic committee. Despite the millions of dollars raked in by interested parties, it’s not what developers expected. Speaking to the Sun-Times, Fogelson said "Our sales are at least 50 to 60 percent slower than what was in the projection. We've had to drop our prices dramatically.''