In 2003, Thomas Choate had a two flat and adjacent vacant land he wanted to sell. The Hispanic Housing Development Corp. wanted to buy the land for a for profit condo project. They needed a zoning change to do this. Since the aldermen have virtual control over zoning in their wards, Alderman Rey Colon was approached. With a little bit of magic powder, and abracadabra or two, voila; Alderman Colon and his girlfriend bought the two flat with a no money down mortgage from Choate. Choate sold the property to Hispanic Housing, and the zoning change went through like greased lightening.
Colon bought the building- a so called handyman special- for 350 thousand dollars. The vacant land was sold for a million dollars. Even better for Colon, Hispanic Housing threw in two years of property tax payments totaling $7000.00. All this conveniently occurred after Choate and the President of Hispanic Housing made a contribution to Colon’s political fund. The total contributions between the two men since 2003 total ten thousand dollars.
Hispanic Housing g built their condos. None sold. Now they are seeking city financial aid to turn them into low income rental housing. Rey Colon is supporting this deal. Just what the city needs when it is fighting to stay financially afloat- financing failure.
While it is not known if any of this is illegal corruption, it is a raw demonstration of the near total abuse of zoning privileges aldermen have, and, their incestuous relationships with developers- profit and non-profit. It is clear evidence of a total lack of ethics. It is a blatant disregard for the public trust. It is pay to play politics at its very finest.
It is also a good reason to elect fifty brand new aldermen. Not one of the incumbents should be re-elected. Sadly, this advice will not be heeded. There must be some civic pride in Chicago not only being the murder capital of the world, but the most corrupt city in America.