Amazon’s Massive Chicago-Area Expansion Was Fueled By $741 Million From Taxpayers

The Selling Of The Southland: The WBEZ/BGA Study On The Expansion Of Amazon “Fulfillment Centers And The Impact On South Suburban Communities

This excellent but troubling story came out last fall.  Many of us talked about the negative impact of the negotiations between the behemoth and local governments, but the story hid in plain sight, like many other questionable local deals. There was a letter from five local mayors endorsing my opponent in the Rich Township Supervisor’s race.  One of the many scurrilous mailers that they put out talks about my raising taxes in the Township. That’s a lie, it never happened. However, two of those mayors account for a staggering $190 million dollars of local and County tax abatements in their Amazon deals.  Some of these deals involve local residents being in hock over 20 years. No value added, no using the funds for real economic development; money just gone. Ironically, the flat Township levy and this multi million dollar giveaway are both in the public record.  The difference is, the media and a watchdog group had to conduct a study to bring this to the public.  The budget, levy and audit of the Township is on the Township website. 

Spreadsheet of the projects and what was given to Amazon:

Al Riley casts 2nd Congressional Electoral College votes for Biden

Homewood Flossmoor Chronicle – December 14, 2020 by Chronicle staff

When Illinois electors met in Springfield Monday morning as part of the Electoral College ritual, Al Riley, representing the 2nd Congressional District, cast his vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden.

Illinois wasn’t a battleground state in the 2020 election, but Riley said he considered his role as an elector no less important. 

“I look at being an elector as an honor, plus a duty not only for the 2nd Congressional District but for the state,” said Riley who retired in 2018 as an elected member of the Illinois House of Representatives after serving for 12 years. He had been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention several times.

He said the ceremony “was not fraught with a lot of pomp and circumstance before,” but it gained so much attention this year “because of the singular behavior of the current president and the fact that he’s going through all these frivolous and really dangerous challenges to our democracy by challenging the sanctity and correctness of the vote.”

“It’s just that the time and the circumstances that made something that should be cursory so important. I think that’s what gave the gathering a little more import than it normally would have had,” he said.

Riley was one of 20 Illinois electors. Illinois earned 20 elector votes by counting each of the 18 congressional districts and the two Illinois senators. The 2nd Congressional District includes Homewood and Flossmoor and is represented by Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.

Vote totals in the 2020 presidential election show Biden won every H-F area precinct and nearly all by a margin of at least 70%.

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IL House Overrides Veto of Vets Home Inspired Damage Awards Bill

Associated Press

November 28, 2018

People who are harmed or injured because of state government actions are now eligible for damage awards of as much as $2 million.

The House voted 71-36 Tuesday to override a veto on legislation raising the damage cap in the Illinois Court of Claims from $100,000. It becomes law.

Democratic Rep. Al Riley of Olympia Fields says the measure was inspired by the deadly outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy. It has led to the deaths of 14 people since 2015 and families of several victims filed lawsuits.

Riley says the $100,000 cap was set more than 45 years ago.

Republicans argued that it could harm businesses in the state because they’ll have to show they have insurance to cover such large awards.

Republican Rauner used an amendatory veto to limit the cap to $300,000.

The bill is SB2841.

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Column: Democrats pay respects to Rich Township’s Tim Bradford, 1942-2017

Daily Southtown:  December 5, 2017 by Ted Slowik

I’ve only been in this role as columnist for about two years, but in that short time Tim Bradford of Olympia Fields became a trusted source.

Bradford, 75, died Friday, the same day paperwork for the March primary was filed on his behalf for a fifth term as Rich Township Democratic Committeeman.

“We lost a great man and public servant, who was devoted to making Rich Township a better place for his constituents,” Cook County assessor and Democratic Chairman Joseph Berrios said in a statement. “Tim was an institution in Cook County and he will be missed by all.”

I met Bradford, a Chicago native, a few days before the Nov. 8, 2016 presidential election. He called at the last minute to invite me to his political fundraiser at the Matteson Holiday Inn. Speakers included U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who won the state’s other Senate seat a few days later.

Bradford impressed me as an old-school, get-out-the-vote operative. He won me over with charm and straight talk. He seemed like a genuinely good person.

“Some people obtain great personal sustenance from helping others before themselves,” state Rep. and Rich Township Supervisor Al Riley wrote in a tribute he shared on social media Saturday. “It’s a view into their own humanity, their very soul. Such was Tim Bradford.”

I also respected Bradford’s influence as a political power broker. He served as township committeeman since 2002 and rose through the ranks to become first vice chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

He served in an appointed position as Rich Township administrator and held two elected offices, as Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner since 2014 and for 30 years as a commissioner and past president of the Olympia Fields Park District Board.

On June 16, the park district dedicated the Bradford Barn, a restored 1917 structure at Sgt. Means Park available to rent for receptions and other functions.

“We’re so happy we were able to do that,” said Denise Will, park district executive director. “We’re all going to miss him.”

On May 30, the Illinois General Assembly adopted a resolution sponsored by Riley that congratulated Bradford upon the dedication and recognized his longtime community service.

Bradford served in a senior management position with Quaker Oats for 25 years, the resolution said, and he later became a successful entrepreneur.

His ventures included an interest in a St. Louis-based Miller Beer distributorship and as owner of the Docks Fish food franchise, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District said in a statement Monday.

“His success in the field of sales and marketing forged his path as a dedicated leader in the south suburban political community and the Democratic Party,” the MWRD said.

More recently, Bradford devoted his time to government and politics. He became known as “The Godfather” of south suburban politics, family members said.

“After retirement, Timothy Bradford began his next career in public service, a passion that had always been important to him,” the General Assembly resolution said.

He volunteered with numerous civic and business organizations, including the Rich Township High School District 227 advisory board, the Great Lakes Bank advisory board, and as president of the Matteson Rotary Club.

Bradford also served on the Iron Oaks Environmental Learning Center Joint Committee between the Olympia Fields Park District and the Homewood Flossmoor Park District, the state resolution said.

“Timothy Bradford has been a tireless leader in the Southland for almost four decades and a dedicated member of the Olympia Fields community,” the resolution said.

Co-sponsors of the resolution included representatives Anthony DeLuca D-Chicago Heights; William Davis, D-Hazel Crest; and Bob Rita, D-Blue Island.

In his heartfelt tribute shared on Saturday, Riley wrote that Bradford was raised on Chicago’s West Side and set out “to help change the social and political landscape of the south suburbs.

“Fighting racial steering, developing affirmative marketing ordinances, helping local government and community based organizations, encouraging people to run for office, (and) promoting racial ethnic and gender inclusiveness” were among Bradford’s accomplishments, Riley wrote.

Bradford showcased his political prominence in June when Rich Township hosted one of the first forums featuring Democrats running for governor.

I found Bradford to be straightforward and helpful in September 2016, when Democratic Party officials convened to choose a replacement to serve out the term of Cook County Commissioner Joan Murphy, who died while in office. Ed Moody, D-6th, of Crestwood, was chosen from among nine applicants.

I last spoke to Bradford a couple weeks ago when I sought his reaction to Moody’s decision to not seek election to the county board in 2018. He told me he enjoyed talking politics with me, but never mentioned his health.

“He had had some medical issues over the past year,” Riley told me.

By law, Gov. Bruce Rauner will appoint someone to serve out the remainder of Bradford’s MWRD term, which ends in 2020.

Bradford won re-election in April to another six-year term on the Olympia Fields Park District board. The board will likely choose a replacement and appoint someone to serve until the next consolidated election in spring 2019, Will told me.

It’s unclear whether Bradford’s name will appear on ballots March 20 for the township committeeman position. A representative for Cook County Clerk David Orr did not immediately respond to my requests for comment.

The MWRD, Illinois Sierra Club and several elected officials offered condolences to Bradford’s family in social media posts over the weekend.

“Our county is forever diminished by his absence,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said on Twitter.

Mourners sharing condolences included Cook County Board members, Chicago aldermen and other MWRD commissioners.

“Tim Bradford my friend, my bulldog. You will be missed,” U.S. Rep Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, said on Twitter.

Bradford and his wife of more than 50 years, Mary Ann, raised four children and were grandparents of eight, the MWRD said in its statement.

“Tim was a dedicated public servant and advocate for the environment,” MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos said in the statement. “He was a mentor to some and friend to many. He touched countless lives, and he will not be forgotten.”

Bradford graduated from Crane High School in Chicago, said his daughter, Cherise Montgomery. He was an athlete in high school and later coached youth basketball for many years, she said.

Visitation for Bradford will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Leak & Sons Funeral Homes, 18400 S. Pulaski Road, Country Club Hills. A wake will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday at New Faith Baptist Church International, 25 Central Ave., Matteson, followed by a funeral service at 10:30 a.m.

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