City IG Report Alleges Daley TIF Kickback Scheme
By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 4, 2011 8:40PM
Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson dropped a bombshell in his latest report today. The report charges the administration of former Mayor Richard Daley of forcing more than a dozen companies that received TIF grants to donate a portion of the money received to After School Matters, the educational charity run by Daley's wife Maggie.
The agreement, known as a "public benefits" clause, required beneficiaries of development grants to share a portion of them with specific non-profit charities. Ferguson studied 27 grant agreements between 1985 and 2009 and discovered 59 percent of them donated their portions to After School Matters. Through this, ASM collected $915,000.
Ferguson's report indicated he didn't get much cooperation from city employees as to how the "public benefits" clause worked.
"The frequent selection of After School Matters for public benefits creates the appearance of preferential treatment for an organization with close ties to the city. Regardless of the nature of the work performed by After School Matters, the lack of transparency in the city's public benefits program undermines the public's trust."
ASM came under scrutiny a couple months back when it was revealed the charity received a $6.5 million contract from the city four days before Richard Daley left office. Former Daley Chief of Staff Ray Orozco and former Department of Cultural Affairs Acting Commissioner Katherine LaMantia also landed softly at After School Matters as the non-profit's CEO and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. In total, ASM received $54.5 million in direct city grants since 2004.
ASM was long known among city government during the Daley Administration as the unofficial charity of City Hall. Ferguson's report is below.