Monday, May 3, 2010

Hairston 5th Biggest Spending Alderman in Chicago

posted by chicago pop

And what is there to show for it? Free parking at 63rd Street Beach?

In 2009, Hairston blew through 99% of her expense account, or $73,244 out of $73,280, putting her at #5 out of 50 aldermen in terms of spending.

In case you missed the Tribune's story on aldermanic expense accounts this past April:
Although the city is trimming personnel and services to cope with declining revenue, aldermen say they rely on the beefed-up expense accounts to tend to ward needs. The accounts were more than doubled to $73,280 per ward by Mayor Richard Daley and the City Council in 2008.
Hairston's 2009 expenses are itemized here.


Elizabeth Fama said...

So 47K of her personal expense budget went to Larry Huggins. A little research turns up that Huggins is a Metra board member and currently the Vice Chairman. He also owns a construction company, Riteway-Huggins, which is on the Harper Court development team. I can only figure he must be doing some consulting for Ms. Hairston on construction/development issues.

WoodLawn Jack said...

15K to L. Huggins last year as well. He could very well be serving as the general contractor for her ward office remodeling or something. Why someone running a $10 Million dollar business would be doing general contractor work I don't know.

But if anyone knows an alderman in need of C/Java programmer with expertise in 3 tier software licensing systems I'm available for reasonable fees. I should probably be targeting Ray Suarez--he seems to be under performing on his spending for 2008 and 2009.

Anonymous said...

Larry Huggins picked up a couple thousand more in fees from Leslie Hairston than I earned in my gross salary all year. I'd like to know what that money is for, personally. Maybe whomever decides to run against her in the election can make it a point to ask her.

I nominate Richard Gill for Alderman.

Elizabeth Fama said...

I was going to say WoodLawn Jack for alderman.

Raymond said...

I don't have a problem with the alderman spending that kind of money on expenses per se. If she paid one or two administrative assistants to work in her office and deal with constituents, that would be a fine us of public funds, as far as I'm concerned. But, half the money to a Metra board member? I'm guessing he's not doing constituent service.

Danielle said...

I don't know for sure, but seems plausible from a quick look at the City and County GIS records that Larry Huggins could be the beneficial owner of the land trust holding title to the building where the 5th Ward offices are located (at 2325 East 71st Street). In other words - these expenses could simply be rent for the Fifth Ward's neighborhood office, i.e., a totally legitimate purpose for using the funds in question. I've visited these offices several times, and - comparing them to the other 15 or 20 Ward neighborhood offices I've been to over the years, including the old Fifth Ward offices on 71st Street - these do seem to have more street frontage and one unusually large interior open space, but (1) I've seen that larger interior space used for meetings or events with constitutents, (2) the individual offices for the Alderman and staff are pretty small, and (3) the entire space is nice, but pretty modest and utilitarian in terms of decor. In other words - no warning bells that the office is either too shoddy for a market rent or is an outrageous splurge. I don't know what the going rate is for commercial space on 71st Street, but if Huggins (or his land trust) happened to be the landlord for the right space at the right price - I don't think the Fifth Ward should have to look elsewhere because of Huggins' other affiliations. Just my two cents.

rheal said...

You say free parking at 63rd street beach like you would be caught dead there my friend. You know the 5th ward by and large doesn't encompass Hyde Park--but South Shore.

If you live in HP at least you get some residual benefits of living so close to Prewinkle's former ward. That's not the case this far south.

chicago pop said...

You say free parking at 63rd street beach like you would be caught dead there my friend.

I use 63rd Street Beach on a regular basis, ole buddy.