Sheriff launches probe of limestone q...

Sheriff launches probe of limestone quarry project in Robbins: Kadner

There are 51 comments on the Chicago Sun-Times story from Oct 28, 2013, titled Sheriff launches probe of limestone quarry project in Robbins: Kadner. In it, Chicago Sun-Times reports that:

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's inspector general has launched an investigation into a planned development in Robbins to construct a limestone quarry that would take 20 to 30 percent of the suburb's land through eminent domain.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Sun-Times.

more to uncover

Blue Island, IL

#24 Jan 29, 2014
Interesting wrote:
Chicago attorney Don Kreger represented the village for free during negotiations on the redevelopment agreement, but it’s unclear why or how Kreger was selected, according to the report. Kreger could not be reached for comment.
http://www.state.il.us/court/r23_orders/appel...
See, you have to understand that State Rep 28th district Bobby Rita, City Treasurer Carmine Biloto, Mayor Domingo Vargas, City Clerk school board member 218 Randy Heuser ,just to name a few. This is what they are all about.
Who Solicited His Service

Maywood, IL

#25 Jan 29, 2014
Interesting wrote:
Chicago attorney Don Kreger represented the village for free during negotiations on the redevelopment agreement, but it’s unclear why or how Kreger was selected, according to the report. Kreger could not be reached for comment.
http://www.state.il.us/court/r23_orders/appel...
Unbelievable this reads like a novel that should be made into a movie.
Where is it located

Maywood, IL

#26 Jan 29, 2014
Where is Prospect Heights, Il.?
Captain O

Blue Island, IL

#27 Jan 29, 2014
Where is it located wrote:
Where is Prospect Heights, Il.?
STFU
Another Small Community

Maywood, IL

#28 Jan 29, 2014
Where is it located wrote:
Where is Prospect Heights, Il.?
Prospect Heights is in Cook County, north O'Hare airport, far from Blue Island and Robbins.
We Get the Picture

Maywood, IL

#29 Jan 29, 2014
Yah gotta have REACH.
Easy Pickings

Maywood, IL

#30 Jan 30, 2014
For schemers; smaller communities are targeted because they are effortlessly influenced, led, and duped out of their money.
So Many Unclean Hands

Maywood, IL

#31 Jan 30, 2014
Who Solicited His Service wrote:
<quoted text>
Unbelievable this reads like a novel that should be made into a movie.
The plot and agents involved have applied their strategy repeatedly because they have not been indicted; yet.
what a crook

Blue Island, IL

#32 Jan 31, 2014
Interesting wrote:
Chicago attorney Don Kreger represented the village for free during negotiations on the redevelopment agreement, but it’s unclear why or how Kreger was selected, according to the report. Kreger could not be reached for comment.
http://www.state.il.us/court/r23_orders/appel...
Why hasn't this attorney been put in jail? Nothing is for free.
anonymous

Chicago, IL

#33 Jan 31, 2014
Robbins is one of the most opaque governments in the southwest suburbs. Not only is their municipal code book at the library 30 years out of date, they tried to block me from getting a copy of their most recent meeting minutes this past summer, which I eventually secured but not without a severe debate. I can't help but wonder if their resistance to my request was tied into this particular series of snuffles...
Hello Anita Alvarez

Blue Island, IL

#34 Feb 1, 2014

Reply »|Report Abuse|Judge it!|#3216 hrs ago

Interesting wrote:
Chicago attorney Don Kreger represented the village for free during negotiations on the redevelopment agreement, but it’s unclear why or how Kreger was selected, according to the report. Kreger could not be reached for comment.
http://www.state.il.us/court/r23_orders/appel ...
Why hasn't this attorney been put in jail? Nothing is for free.

Why did Anita Alvarez not indict these public officials. She is not enforcing the laws of the state of Illinois.
anonymous

Chicago, IL

#35 Feb 1, 2014
If every crooked politician, lawyer and businessperson were punished for their wrong doing, they'd only learn how to hone their scheming skills while in jail.....
For the Record

Maywood, IL

#36 Feb 2, 2014
Where manifest weight of evidence showed real estate developer substantially performed contract with municipality to develop arena but had secretly given "loans" to municipality's lawyer, the developer's reimbursement claim failed due to its unclean hands but the municipality's breach of contract claim also failed; the municipality's ancillary claim was denied due to lack of proof of any damages; and the municipality's third-party claim was rejected because its underlying claim had been rejected.

The record shows the following relevant facts. Attorney Donald J. Kreger was a partner in the Chicago office of Schiff Hardin LLP, and between 1977 and 2003, he acted as general counsel for Prospect Heights.1 Kreger had a close friendship with John G. Wilson, whom he had met when their sons were on the same ice hockey team. In the early 1990's, Wilson, who resided in Kenilworth, Illinois, wanted to develop an ice hockey arena somewhere in the north or northwest suburbs of Chicago and formed Ice Ventures for that purpose. Wilson had some experience in real estate development, but no experience developing or operating an ice hockey or sports arena. At the time, Paul Richardz was one of Prospect Heights' aldermen and was also interested in building a stadium and other facilities. Kreger introduced Wilson and Richardz to each other, and the alderman later introduced Wilson to other members of Prospect Heights' administration.
The Part of a Life Time

Maywood, IL

#37 Feb 2, 2014
Who Solicited His Service wrote:
<quoted text>
Unbelievable this reads like a novel that should be made into a movie.
The developer's expenses totaled $25 million and included mortgage loan interest, the security it lost when it defaulted on the notes, various consultant fees, and administrative expenses. The city responded that the developer failed to perform and came to court with unclean hands because (a) Wilson had secretly given city attorney Kreger at least $150,000 in cash and $50,000 in stock in Ice Ventures between 1996 and 2003, and (b) Kreger had introduced Wilson "to the City as a qualified arena developer" and advocated for actions which benefitted Wilson and his companies. The city knew about the money that had secretly passed from Wilson to Kreger partly because plaintiff Prospect Development complained of the arrangement when it first filed suit.
Here Comes the Sun

Maywood, IL

#38 Feb 2, 2014
The Part of a Life Time wrote:
<quoted text>
The developer's expenses totaled $25 million and included mortgage loan interest, the security it lost when it defaulted on the notes, various consultant fees, and administrative expenses. The city responded that the developer failed to perform and came to court with unclean hands because (a) Wilson had secretly given city attorney Kreger at least $150,000 in cash and $50,000 in stock in Ice Ventures between 1996 and 2003, and (b) Kreger had introduced Wilson "to the City as a qualified arena developer" and advocated for actions which benefitted Wilson and his companies. The city knew about the money that had secretly passed from Wilson to Kreger partly because plaintiff Prospect Development complained of the arrangement when it first filed suit.
Keep Shining a Bright Light on these kinds of activities and the connections!
Sunshine

Maywood, IL

#39 Feb 2, 2014
Robbins quarry developer’s previous plan for apartments went nowhere
By Casey Toner February 2, 2014 

The developer of the controversial limestone quarry and mine previously had a $5.5 million contract with Cook County to build affordable housing on this site in Robbins. The deal collapsed amid questions of land ownership and the developer's ability to build the site.| Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media

A controversial plan to create a limestone quarry and mine in Robbins is on hold amid growing doubt that it will be realized, and records show that the same developer’s plan for low-income housing in the village collapsed in 2011 because of financial concerns and project delays.

The quarry/mine project hinges on Robbins seizing a huge swath of private property through eminent domain and handing it over to the developer, ALM Resources.

But Cook County records show that the same developer, under a different company name, lost in 2011 a $5.5 million contract with the county to build affordable housing in Robbins due to questions about a similar eminent-domain plan and concerns about its ability to complete the project.

The $5.5 million was federal money funneled through the county for affordable housing.

“Three to 5 million dollars is a lot of money, and Robbins is a place that needs it,” said John Schneider, former deputy director of Cook County’s economic development bureau, who oversaw the housing project.“It needs a legitimate project that makes lives and living better for residents. Those dollars aren’t there for dreams or to enhance developers.”

ALM Resources, operated by west suburban developer Jim Louthen, signed a deal with Robbins in May that calls for a 61-acre quarry and a 169-acre underground mine tunneling under homes through the village’s north end. About 50 single-family homes would need to be demolished for the project.

A three-month investigation by Cook County sheriff’s police shows that the deal disproportionately favors ALM Resources, amid questions concerning the contract, transparency and the village’s legal representation.
Sunshine

Maywood, IL

#40 Feb 2, 2014
The report on the sheriff’s police inquiry describes the redevelopment agreement as “questionable” because of former Mayor Irene Brodie’s deteriorating health when she signed the deal as well as the contract’s notarization by a former village trustee, Willie Carter, whose son owns properties in the project’s footprint.

The redevelopment stalled in November after Sheriff Tom Dart voiced serious doubts about it and SouthtownStar stories questioned how secretively it was planned and how much it would benefit the village.

Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward has said the agreement must be renegotiated to better protect the village’s interests. A spokesman for ALM, Paul Stewart, has said the project’s status is uncertain and there has been no contact between ALM and village officials since November.

Chicago attorney Timothy Wright, assigned by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-1st, to look out for Robbins’ interests on the redevelopment, told a group of concerned residents Thursday night that the sheriff’s police report indicates that the village’s deal with ALM was “atrocious” and should be scrapped.

“You can’t take a piece of crap, put some Band-Aids on it and call it a brand new gizmo,” Wright said.

As he had earlier last week, Stewart again declined to comment on the sheriff’s investigation, saying “I’m not in the business of questioning the statements that public officials and politicians make in the press.”

He also dismissed comparisons between the quarry/mine project and Louthen’s failed housing development, saying they are not directly related. Louthen could not be reached for comment.

In May 2010, Louthen’s Town Builder Studios proposed a 24-unit apartment building near 139th Street and Kedzie Avenue in Robbins, according to Cook County records. They indicated that Brodie, who was the mayor then, signed off on the project for the village in September 2010, and former Cook County planning and development director William Moore gave it his approval the following month.

But the building went nowhere, and the county ended the agreement in June 2011 in letters sent to the village and Town Builder Studios. The letters explain little about the county’s reason for canceling the contract, which ballooned from $1.7 million in May 2010 to $3.5 million four months later.

In an email to the SouthtownStar, a Cook County spokesman said the county comptroller’s office had no record of any of those funds actually going to Louthen or his companies.

Jane Hornstein, the current deputy director of the county development bureau, said the Robbins apartments were to be financed from $28 million in federal stimulus funds to the county that had to be spent by 2013. She said the county abandoned a few such projects, including the one in Robbins, because they did not proceed quickly enough.

Hornstein said Town Builder Studios had a “funny definition” when it came to its reimbursable expenses such as transportation costs and meals. She couldn’t explain why the Robbins project was approved initially, saying it occurred under former county board President Todd Stroger’s administration.

Schneider, who’s now the community development director in Franklin Park, recalled that the county had concerns about who owned the property where the apartments would go and whether Town Builder Studios could complete the building.

The project description indicated that the site for the apartments consisted of property that Town Builder Studios acquired, village land that Robbins would give it through a redevelopment agreement and private property the village would acquire through eminent domain and give to Town Builder.

In December 2010, Schneider wrote a letter to Louthen, stating that the county had several concerns, including that the “project’s scope keeps changing” and that Louthen’s company was behind in closing on land acquisition for the project.
Sunshine and Rain

Maywood, IL

#41 Feb 2, 2014
“I really feel for Robbins and some of the communities that are really down,” he said.“You have people come in with great ideas, but they’re not the Wirtzes, they’re not the Wrigleys, they are not people that are capitalized enough.”

Louthen attempted to recoup some money two months after the county ended the redevelopment. He wrote a letter to the county community development director, asking for a reimbursement of $631,000 in expenses that Town Builder Studios had spent on the project. He did not get reimbursed.
Irene

Blue Island, IL

#43 Feb 3, 2014
State Rep Bob Rita should be investigated in his role, for the quick take eminent domain process. It is a shame, the 28th district can't send anybody then him, to Springfield.
Continue Investigating

Maywood, IL

#44 Feb 3, 2014
Make All of the information public before the upcoming elections to protect voters and the public.

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