Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obama's Commerce Secretary Makes Off Like A Bandit On Lease Of Chicago Property By Federal Government

A Chicago office building built by politically-connected developers just a few years ago for $125 million was leased to the federal government for a 14-year lease term for a whopping $280 million in rent and operating expenses according to the Sun-Times. The development group which built the office complex includes Obama's Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, and Jack Higgins, a friend and political backer of former Mayor Richard Daley.

The office complex houses the Chicago FBI offices. The General Services Administration rejected a lower bid to build the complex in favor of the development group led by Higgins. Although the losing bidder protested the bid award, the GSA ultimately ruled that "account design and technical factors" allowed it to consider price to be "significantly less important." Higgins, who also built the Chicago Police Department's headquarters building, claimed "there just isn't politics involved in these things." A GAO study found that the federal government could have saved at least $40 million if it had built and owned the FBI complex rather than rent it from the private developers.

Pritzker is a billionaire heiress of the Hyatt Hotel family fortune who chaired Obama's presidential campaign finance committee. She raised more than a half million dollars for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign alone. Pritzker formerly chaired the board of Superior Bank, a failed suburban Chicago savings and loan institution that cost federal taxpayers about $285 million. Higgins is facing $2.8 million in IRS liens for unpaid taxes, including taxes owed from the year he sold his interest in the building. He told the Sun-Times that he is paying the back taxes under a repayment agreement with the IRS.

This is all the more reason that the brakes should be put on the corrupt P3 agreement the Ballard administration is pursuing in secret that will cost Indianapolis taxpayers billions of dollars over 35 years. A media blackout has been ordered by the downtown mafia to prevent the public from learning just how bad the deal is for Indianapolis taxpayers because so many corrupt political insiders stand to make enormous sums of money from the deal. The 10% income tax increase just passed by the City-County Council was actually enacted to help pay for the long-term agreement for the criminal justice center complex, notwithstanding the phony claims that the money will be used to hire more police officers.

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