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Businesses fund mayor’s election campaign

14 March 2011 RS 30 Comments

Private businesses have written checks to Elgin Mayor Ed Schock Private businesses have written checks to Elgin Mayor Ed Schock (Photo by The Elginite).

Incumbent Elgin Mayor Ed Schock raised more than $20,000 in the second half of 2010 to defend his seat against the most serious challenge he has faced since being elected mayor twelve years ago. 85% of his campaign contributions, according to a filing with the State Board of Elections, is from donors giving $200 or more. His largest individual check was for $2,500. However, donors listed as Elgin Fruit Market #1 and Elgin Fruit Market #2 each gave $1,500, bringing the total from those stores to $3,000.

Numerous companies appear on the Mr. Schock’s list of donors including companies or individuals associated with companies that have brought business before the Elgin City Council. According to sources at City Hall, Elgin Fruit Market is expected to bring a proposal before the Elgin Liquor Commission some time after the election. As mayor, Mr. Schock is ex-officio chairman of the Elgin Liquor Commission.

According to current and former councilmen, Mr. Schock has never recused himself from voting when his campaign contributors brought business before the city council.

During Mr. Schock’s controversial tenure as mayor, the city has given millions of dollars in incentives to developers and businesses. The City of Elgin has gone as far as demolishing one of Elgin’s most important historic landmarks, the Crocker Theater, in order to turn the property over to private developers.

In the case of the Crocker, not only did the city purchase and tear down the theater, but used its powers of eminent domain to force a neighboring coin shop to also close down so that the land would be available to developers. In that episode, the city spent nearly $1.5 million altogether to purchase and demolish the Crocker and to purchase the neighboring coin shop. All of the property was turned over to the developers of River Park Place at no cost, in addition to other land and improvements. The total value of the incentive package was estimated at $4.2 million. It now appears that one of the developers in that project is listed as a campaign contributor in Mr. Schock’s current fundraising cycle.

Mr. Schock, who is seeking a fourth term as Elgin mayor, is running against popular Elgin City Councilman Dave Kaptain. Mr. Kaptain’s website describes his fundraising principles:

Some facts about Dave’s Campaign:

Dave is the largest donor in his campaign ($5,000)
Dave is the only donor to contribute over $1,000
The second largest contribution is $300
The third largest contribution is $100

Dave has made a long-standing commitment to not take individual campaign contributions over $100 to prevent conflicts/abstentions in city council votes.

Voters will go to polls on April 5th to pick Elgin’s new mayor and city council lineup, as well as board members for U-46, Elgin Community College and Gail Borden Public Library.

Dave Kaptain: Candidate for Mayor
City Council Candidate Profiles
Mayor Ed Schock sees no conflicts of interest
Mayor neglected basic infrastructure
Businesses fund mayor’s election campaign
Ed Schock increased mayor’s pay 8-fold
Ed Schock blamed for U-46 lawsuit
Schock denies responsibility for U-46 lawsuit
Daily Herald Schock endorsement draws heat
Another year without a 4th of July
Lawsuit puts liquor commission in spotlight

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30 Responses to “Businesses fund mayor’s election campaign”

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  1. Walgreen$ says:

    I have often wondered over the past years why certain council-members and our mayor have not abstained from obvious conflicts in voting.

    The Council is much better about this in the past 2-years with the recent change in members, yet the Mayor has not once abstained himself from a vote in the past 12-years.

    I know it’s fun to joke about, but our Mayor does 5 separate PSA’s for Walgreens about their better Medicare plans then competing pharmacies, and within 2-weeks he votes to give all 3 Elgin locations liquor licenses. Sorry Mayor, you should of abstained on that one. FYI, anyone taking $3,000 from the Elgin Fresh Market should abstain on the vote for their liquor license coming up - then again, maybe ex-Mayor Schock won’t have to worry about it?

    • David reinert says:

      The mindset of a true Kaptain supporter who is getting desperate as the election gets closer. This is the usual campaign jargon we see every election. It is not great investigative reporting. It is nothing more tham smearing a candidate. A campaing trick as old as dirt.

      • Truth in Elgin says:

        Have to disagree-it’s all verifiable and a matter of public record. Voters have a right to the facts no matter when they arise! By the way it’s still 4 weeks before the election or did we miss something. Hardly a last ditch play as you allude to.

      • Shelovesgod2 says:

        Re:”A campaing trick as old as dirt.” Yes about as old as the current mayor. why won’t he take an example from Mayor Daley, and quit. Bring in fresh new ideas, from a man that knows Elgin, and cares about the people. Schock cares about no one but himself. He has never reached out to the community to find out what their needs and concerns are. He thinks that we are ignorant, uninformed people that won’t show up to vote him out. When you do show up to vote, think about all the wasted money on downtown, and the lawsuit brought against U-46 by the City of Elgin. Not only remove him, but remove some of the council that have been there far far to long, to care about anyone but themselves. Our main streets into town are not appealing, at all. Come to Elgin for what, the only money sucking attraction in Elgin is the boat, it is not helping our communities, it is not helping Elgin.

  2. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    I am so glad that this article was written. If Mayor Schock going forward does not excuse himself from voting on the Elgin Fruit Market proposal if it comes to the council then I think something should be done about it.

    Ex Councilman Powers resigned from office when he voted on a Bandits issue while he was doing marketing work for them and received money from the Bandits.

    Have you been Shocked enough lately.

    A big tip of the hat to the writer of the above article. Great investigative reporting.

  3. Truth in Elgin says:

    How can you justify going forward with him at the helm? Do you really think he’ll change? I was on the fence leaning more towards Kaptain until this article. THANK YOU. I’ve wondered about this cronyism in collaboration for many years. It now all makes sense why certain things happen with their power of 4 syndicate on the council. The Mayor would always say it’s for the future. Yeah-whose? Not the citizens, only his, his cronies and the developers and those cashing in. There’s been no vision regarding industry, bringing jobs to Elgin. In fact I just read that while the Mayor says he’s created jobs and while that’s true it WASN’T in Elgin, we lost 2000 jobs. So again it’s NOT about Elginites, the very people he’s ’supposed’ to represnt. He’s no different then Blago. Elgin’s Blago is Schock.

    Interesting. Why haven’t we seen this anwhere else as it’s public information?

  4. Thomas Jackson says:

    I’m less concerned with incentives being given to businesses by politicians and more concerned that developers and other businesses that have received incentives are not giving back to the public.

    Has the Mayor refused to grant liquor licenses to non-contributors?
    That would be an indication of favoritism or corruption, but I don’t see that with the examples given here, necessarily.

    Elgin has a lot of potential. There are a few things that could be done to better promote the city and the businesses here. Elgin does not take full advantage of mass media. A public access channel that promotes the theater and city life, with independent producers, is one option.

    • Truth in Elgin says:

      Good points. I think full disclosure is important. An recent example would be the Roadhouse-the old Prarie Rock. The City attorney pulled their license for failure to pay back licensing fees, etc., and the Mayor & Mr. Gillam the other member of the 3 person commission, overrode his decision, and reinstated it. The bill was never paid-we the taxpayers must foot this bill.

      • Shelovesgod2 says:

        They didn’t have a problem shutting down Anthony’s place, and giving his license to another one of the mayor’s cronies. The bigger the supporter, the better your chances are at getting and keeping your license. Wow the city doesn’t seem to mine spending our tax dollars suing everyone. Does anyone know how many lawsuits the city has been part of?

  5. Todd Martin says:

    Great job RS! I appreciate the reporting; I was wondering why a Fruit Market would donate so much money…

  6. David reinert says:

    Watch out voters. The Kaptain supporters are out in droves with their false stories. Don’t get caught up in these campaign tricks. They will do anything too get your vote for Kaptain. He will do anything to support their campaign tricks. It is called politics. Take these stories with a grain of salt. Mayor Schock has a good, clean record running the city for the past 12 years.

    • Truth in Elgin says:

      These are all facts and verifiable; also, a matter of public record.

      • David reinert says:

        Except, like the news media, there all taken out of context. Be truthful. Your purpose in these post is for political reasons. You expect the voter to believe your facts as you see them. You try to make an honest candidate look like he is doing something wrong. If they are a matter of public record,let the voter read the record and judge for him/her self if there is some hidden agenda the candidate has. Your comments make people think that you have discovered something going on behind close doors. People in politics have been making up things like this for years and years. I don’t buy a word of what you’re post infer.

        • Craig says:

          Dave - Don’t you think that the difference in sizable campaign contributions between the candidates is newsworthy?

          You’re right that we need to acknowledge the true nature of politics. However, part of that reality is the dirty fact that campaign contributions do have an effect on how politicians made decisions once they’re in office.

          For example, google Obama’s top campaign contributors. You’ll find a lot of banks that received federal money. Coincidence?

          • Dave Reinert says:

            It could be newsworthy if it is decussed in the proper way. However, these post take it out of context. I have known several federal, state and local candidates who have received lots of political contributions withou the donar expecting anything in return except good government. Do you think Mayor Schock orany other candidate has a hidden agenda for colllecting lage amounts of campaign cash? It you do I question your mindset. I have been involved in the political arena for over 40 years and see things in a different light. I get a bang out of candidates who suggest they will not accept any amount above $100. who are they trrying to kid. It is a campaign gimmick in misleading the voters. It takes money to run a campaign and do it the right way. A narrow minded person would not understand that certain candidates get cast because they appeal to a person, a business or a corporation.

          • Truth in Elgin says:

            I agree with Craig - it’ll be very interesting to see where the money leads. I’ve now started looking these up myself and see what/when they’ve had things in front of council and what the outcome has been. Most voters don’t take the time to read these. They expect others to give them the information. Also, as was said, up unitl now the current mayor really had no opponent and yes things happen behind closed doors-remember Blago and others. Small contributions make it manageable for the average citizen to contribute and if lots of citizens do that then the mayor is beholden to them, not as it’s been for years.

            In just a cursory look, Mr. Warren has mostly the same contributors-must be his years and years of public service. Didn’t he also vote right in line with the current mayor- I have to look that up.

  7. Combos says:

    There is nothing wrong with a longtime politician raising a lot of money from businesses. Nothing. It is what that politician does with that money afterwards that could be wrong. Ed Schock is too smart to break any laws. But, is he smart enough to escape the public’s scrutiny on this and other issues now that he has a challenger?

    The voting public may find something very appealing to a candidate that refuses donations over $1000.00.

    • Truth in Elgin says:

      I wonder if he’s recused himself from large issues where he’s gotten contributions. Absolute power corrupts. You’re right “too smart to break any laws” most good politicians will ere on the side of restraint,or “how would it look”, unless they’ve been allowed to go unbridled for years. It’s good that someone is bringing these things up now with alot of time before the election.

    • Shelovesgod2 says:

      There is something very wrong with our current mayor visiting Elgin to have council meeting and photo ops, and then retreats back to Arizona with the good Ole boy Bob Guilliam. I heard they both have homes in Arizona, never followed them there to see if true, but seems kind of suspect to me, what about my bailout, what about my kick-back. I am a hard-working, tax paying citizen, where is my relief. I know, it’s gone to developers, in incentives, while Elgin has many empty lots, and no development going on.

  8. Dave Reinert says:

    If the candidate can’t hold his head up high after accepting a donation over $1000 he should not be running for the office in the first place. $1000 buys one large newspaper ad today. In Chicago the winner spent $11 Million. He was the winner by 55% of the vote. Don’t give me this campaign financing legar jargon. I don’t buy it and it is not newsworthy. Problem is, you people think everyone is on the take. A real narrow way of thinking. There are many honest candidates runnning for office these days. that would be a lot more if they knew people like you would be smearing their good name.

    • Truth in Elgin says:

      Yes, I agree with you there are honest candidates running for office today. But inasmuch as you’re not a novice, large contributions can usually always insure a victory for the person receiving them which is part of the reason the country, including Elgin, is in the fix it’s in. Corporations, businesses have been allowed to control the process by buying enough media coverage to slander their opponents. Someone putting in their own money and taking small contributions makes them beholden to no one but the people who elected them. It’s putting their money where their mouth is. Don’t you agree?

  9. Truth in Elgin says:

    Mr. Reinert, in doing some research I found this out- I can understand why you’re supporting Schock. Birds of a feather and all. Have you ever paid back the money you owe and done your community service?

    Courier-News in 2001:
    “He is the former Elgin township supervisor who was convicted of stealing more than $500,000 from the township treasury and served nearly three years in prison for it.

    He still has hundreds of hours of community service to perform and nearly $1 million in restitution to pay back.”

    Daily-Herald 1996:
    “Having paid the most inconvenient part of his debt to society, David J. Reinert was released Tuesday from a federal penitentiary in Kentucky.

    But the former Elgin Township supervisor still owes more than $500,000 in restitution and 2,000 hours of community service to Kane County taxpayers.

    Those are debts that he must start to repay soon, according to Kane County officials.

    It’s been three years since Reinert, now 60, pleaded guilty to federal charges of mail fraud and tax evasion and a state charge of felony theft.”

    • Dave Reinert says:

      I did what the court ordered me to due. I paid back my debt to society spending 30 months in federal prison. I did the necessary community service and paid the restitution I could afford on my small income. However, the money I took was not political contributions. It was returned to the Township via the insurance company who bonded me. They paid the township one million dollars. The taxpayers did not lose a penny. You’re comparing apples with oranges. What has Mayor Schock’s political contributions have to due with me? What does something that happened over 15 years ago have to do with the current election. If you’re going to compare something compare Schock with Kaptain. Compare experience in years of running the city. Compare all of the excellent acccompishments that the Mayor and the Councilman have achieved. The election is between Mayor Schock and councilman Dave Kaptain. Dave Reinert is a private citizen who pay his debt to society. I have a long list of accomplishments for the people of Elgin. To bad you did not spend the time researching all of them. Four come to mind. I was the founding father of the Community Crisis Center. I was the Chairman of the Wing Park Bandshell. I coach little and teener league for 15 years just to start the list. The rest are all in the record. spend some time reading the past newspapers of my accomplishments at the library. I was a member of the GOP for 30 years so I know a little about poliics. I do give you credit for showing the date (1996) in your post. It shows that you are aware that all of the things you mentioned were years ago. I’m 75 now and will take my mistakes to the grave. I hope I set the record straight with you. Nex time post your name so I know who I’m addressing. I hate talking to a no name person. Get some guts and tell us who you are.

      • LFG-A says:

        Mr. Reinert, thank you for being open and honest in your reply here.

        I do admit that I (myself) have been a bit curious over the years to the statements/comments ‘paul’ or anothers brought up RE: the issue of your ‘fitness’ to comment on political issues because of your own trials and tribulations over the years.

        When it comes to THIS mayoral race… I ask people to look at history and then the facts and finally a future.

        When Ed had his mayoral start (my neighbor 3-doors down BTW) he was in the same place Kaptain is now - taking on an incumbant Mayor that many in the city were unhappy with…

        So they are on fairish playing fields in my book - it’s all in the coting publics perception of 12 - 6 - 4 - 2-years past of decisions on Ed and Dave’s parts…

        Ed at the tail-end of a 12-year slot, longer then any other Mayor - 3x’s longer then the mayor he defeated out of office ‘way back when’. I’m sure he had help from grass-root efforts for him to run in the 1990’s - similar to Dave Kaptain’s risky run to win or give up his council-seat too - someone has to run against the incumbent to make this a fair system, yeas?

        So, we’ll see how the next 2 weeks play out. The comments on this site should prove entertaining either way. :)

        Early voting started today and we have candidate forums up until 03/31 (Ending with NENA, my own ‘hood of 2k homes).

        I’m really looking forward to ALL of the candidates (City Council, City Mayor, ECC, U-46, Library) getting their chance to shine, plus helping get out the vote to Elginites that tend to ’sleep’ through these municipal cycles and show up to vote on ‘even’ years.

        Elginites have a right to make an educated choice too - we can do better then 6k votes for a city of 108k every 2-years. I know you can agree with me on that Mr. Reinert! ;)

        - LFG-A

        • Dave Reinert says:

          Yes, I ran and won over 6 elections in my lifetime. I feel I can offer some of the things I learned over the years. I have seen both the good side and the bad side of the election cycle. I agree that 6k is a rel shame for voter turnout. I was a committeeman for over 30 years in one of the better precincts in Elgin. I could never get my people to the polls in these elections. If a tax increase was on the ballot a few more showed. They don’t feel that local elections, (the closest to them) are that important. Even in Chicago the turnout was low.
          You have a large city with over 3 million citizens and the winner gets 355k votes. I don’t have the answer. I would expect 6-7k this election.

        • Truth in Elgin says:

          Baiting doesn’t suit you. As I said previously, I will only state things that are verifiable. While I can appreciate your candor someone still had to cleanup your mess. “It (the money) was returned to the Township via the insurance company who bonded me.” If that’s true than someone-the public-still had to pay financially through premium hikes,etc. The office and organizations you started all needed the taint of your deeds removed-this was also done by someone other than you.

          But, I agree with you, we all make mistakes and this is about the 2 candidates. One of whom has done some very questionable things which we’re just starting to hear about. I’m very interested in finding out if there is a pattern here in terms of Schock never recusing himself and voting always with developers/businesses to the detriment of the neighbors and general citizenry. I think others may have just scratched the surface in terms of pay to play. The donors are all public record, as are what comes before the council, what avoids coming to council and is redirected through other city commissions & boards, and what comes before the liquor commission, etc. But you, being as savy as you are know this already.

  10. Truth in Elgin says:

    I just read Mr. Reinerts 10:05 post and am curious by what is a “better precint” and “get my people to the polls”? I thought we had a “council-at-large” system?

    This gentleman has been on the inside of Elgin city politics for quite some time and is very knowledgeable as he himself states “a committeeman..in Elgin for over 30 years”. I don’t think this was just a poor phrasing of words, I believe it was very truthful and is exactly why people on the south, far east, and far west don’t feel represented.

    Thank you for shedding light on this.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      When Dave is referring to precincts I believe he is referring to an Elgin Township Precinct that he would have been representing. He was not referring to the city council election then.

      He will correct me if I am wrong because in my opinion he sometimes tries to correct me when I am right.

  11. Walgreen$ says:

    Question 5 on the BocaJump video interviews has Ed Schock in his own words answering the following:

    ” A conflict of interest may arise when city council & mayoral candidates accept sizable campaign contributions from businesses and business owners. As mayor, how would you address this issue?”

    Interesting that Schock ignores the question and talks about state filing laws, while Kaptain talks about his contributions and abstaining from votes and Schocks ‘non-abstention’ record.

    Videos here: http://elgin.bocajump.com/election2011

    Their own words should be FACT enough, yes?

  12. Dave Reinert says:

    CH, You are right. Precinct 41 on the far Northwest side of Elgin was known for getting a good turnout for every election. They did show well for off year elections. My point was I worked the same in every election visiting the voters prior to the all elections. The voters did not respond to local elections. Some precincts only got a handful of voters for local elections. Voters don’t care who is running their local government. They do care about an increase in their taxes if an issue is on the ballot for same. Any pocket book issue will increase voter turnout. Endorsements do little, if anything, for a candidate. It is the older voter who shows up election after election. Newspaper endorsements carry little weight in any election. People don’t respect the news media anymore. The internet has become the media of choice.