Daley's Buddy, "The Slumlord"
By Sean Stillmaker in News on Jan 8, 2011 4:00PM
No heat with holes in the floors and bed bugs running rampant doesn’t affect Rev. Leon Finney Jr., only his tenants. For decades Finney has been a Daley political alley serving on the Chicago Plan Commission while simultaneously fronting as a man of God. It seems his chosen path was to take that government money (our taxpaying dollars) and not help his people.
Finney helped found The Woodlawn Organization, the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation and the Woodlawn Development Association. In 2010 Finney procured more than $1.3 million in affordable housing money and other city contracts for the WCDC. The organization also received more than $14.9 million in grants from the Chicago Housing Authority since 2005; Finney was also a former CHA executive.
But the money never seemed to find its way to improving conditions at the apartment buildings owned by Finney’s groups. In fact the city has taken the groups to court over 20 times since 2008 regarding housing complaints. City Council even passed an ordinance in Jan 2010 that forbade city contracts “to building code scofflaws,” but the money flow never stopped going to Finney. As a guilty scofflaw Finney has reaped $1,014,837 in taxpayer money.
So where did all that money actually go? Finney quietly resigned from the Chicago Plan Commission Dec. 16. As with any politically connected insider, the repercussions for the Reverend will most likely be sparse. Quasi-justice should take a lesson from Hollywood’s 1991 movie The Super.