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Mayor Ed Schock sees no conflicts of interest

21 March 2011 RS 41 Comments

Mayor Ed Schock accepted $3,000 from Elgin Fruit Market Mayor Ed Schock accepted $3,000 from Elgin Fruit Market (Photo by The Elginite).

In a story published Sunday, The Daily Herald contrasted the views of the two mayoral candidates on the subject of campaign finance and the potential conflicts of interest that arise therefrom. The twelve-year incumbent mayor of Elgin, Ed Schock, sees no conflicts of interest in taking campaign contributions and voting on the city council, the article says. According to councilmen, the controversial mayor has never recused himself from voting when campaign contributors brought business before the council.

His opponent in the race for mayor, Councilman Dave Kaptain, has frequently abstained from voting when he felt there might be a conflict of interest.

The Daily Herald:

Kaptain decided to fund his mayoral campaign, like he did his campaign for council in 2007, with money earned as an elected official rather than focusing on a fundraising effort.

His total budget was $20,000 based on earnings through 2009, when he stopped accepting a salary as a statement in the face of budget cuts. But for this election, Kaptain set a target budget of $12,000, not wanting to spend more.

“The poverty level is $21,000 or $22,000 for a family of four,” Kaptain said. “I think it’s obscene to spend that kind of money when there are those who don’t make that and feed their family for a whole year.”

Schock, on the other hand, is aiming to spend between $25,000 and $30,000 in his re-election campaign, similar to what he said he spent in previous elections.

Kaptain’s campaign strategy is not one of convenience, but of passionate ideas about morality. He said he believes campaign contributions can cause conflicts of interest on the council.

Over his years as a councilman, Kaptain has abstained regularly on votes concerning organizations for which he volunteers. He said he doesn’t want campaign contributions to become another source for a similar conflict — one that isn’t regulated by law but would tug at his conscience nonetheless.

Kaptain said it’s his personal decision in the face of a dilemma.

“I may be going too far the other way, but that’s my choice,” Kaptain said.

Schock disagrees with the idea that accepting donations creates a conflict of interest at the council table.

“That’s why there is a reporting system that the state has for all candidates, regardless of office,” Schock said.

Schock pointed to the transparency of the system as well as his use of the money on the campaign only, rather than on personal expenses, as a defense of his own actions.

When he first ran for mayor in 1998, Mr. Schock suggested that he would not accept contributions of $1,000 or more. When he later accepted a check for $1,000 from K. Hovnanian Builders, developers of Town & Country’s Providence subdivision on the Far West Side, during the 2007 election, it attracted the attention of the Courier News.

The Courier News (2/14/2007):

Much of Schock’s more than $13,000 came from developers, among them Toll Brothers, West Point Builders and Ryland Homes. Most gave $500 checks.

But one contribution, from K. Hovnanian Builders, was for $1,000. Schock at one time said he would avoid taking checks of that size because they raise questions about ties between candidates and donors.

In 1998, when Schock was running for mayor for the first time, he attacked the incumbent, Kevin Kelly, and another council member, for taking donations from liquor license holders at the same time they were serving on the city’s liquor commission.

Kelly fought back, noting that Schock had taken a $1,000 donation from a developer before voting in favor of the developer’s townhome project. Schock said that donation was different because liquor license holders are subject to ongoing regulation by the city - a contention Kelly and then-Councilman Terry Gavin derided.

But Schock conceded his critics had a point, although he denied the donation had anything to do with his support for the project.

“I probably wouldn’t accept that amount again, either,” Schock said at the time, speaking of the $1,000 check. “I just think it raises too many questions about relationships with people. Something makes me uneasy about the huge amount of money.”

On Tuesday, Schock said he saw no problem with taking the $1,000 from Hovnanian. In 2005, Hovnanian acquired Town & Country Homes, the developer of the far-west Providence subdivision, which the council , Schock included, approved a number of years ago.

Among other things, Schock said, “a thousand dollars doesn’t buy as much” as it once did.

As mayor, Schock sits on the liquor commission. He said that while he sees no problem taking money from builders, he would not take contributions from liquor license holders.

Both Schock and Sandor received checks from the Residential Land Fund or a partner of the developer, whose controversial Stony Creek subdivision the council approved in 2005 despite the opposition of many Campton Township residents. RLF is financed by union pension funds , and union workers build its projects’ homes.

Adjusted for inflation, $1,000 in 1998 is equivalent to $1,357 in today’s money. To finance his current campaign, Mr. Schock accepted $3,000 from Elgin Fruit Market, and $2,500 from Harry Meadows of W.R. Meadows Company, in addition to smaller checks, including a $750 check from K Hovanian T&C Homes LLC.

According to sources at City Hall, Elgin Fruit Market is expected to bring a proposal before the liquor commission after the election. Mr. Schock is the commission’s chairman.

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. Early voting continues through March 31st.

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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41 Responses to “Mayor Ed Schock sees no conflicts of interest”

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  1. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    I appreciate it that Councilman Dave Kaptain takes extra measures to avoid conflicts of interest. I wish the Mayor would do the same.

    How about giving the $3000.00 back to Elgin Fresh Market Mr. Mayor?

    How about giving back the checks from the builders and the auto mall developer on Randall Mr. Mayor?

    Dave Kaptain understands conflicts of interest and how it can possibly influence a vote.

    My vote will go to Councilman Dave Kaptain as well as my wife’s vote.

  2. Crysta says:

    Or at least be transparent about it. If you’re going to take money, recuse yourself from related votes at Council.

  3. One Vote says:

    At least they aren’t taking SEIU money this time. Both have done so in the past, but not this year. America is waking up!
    (I do hope the info is correct. Technically, they could be getting SEIU cash late in the game and report it after the election.)

  4. Dave Reinert says:

    CH< Your mindset is wrong. You’re playing Judge, Jury and Executioner in making something out of nothing. Political candidates have been accepting contributions from the founding of our political system. Why is the Mayor wrong for accepting of taking a contribution he has a right to accept? You have a narrow mind. If you want to think he is doing something wrong fine. Dont post your wrong mindset on this public board. You’re not doing the average citizen any favors by doing a wrongful deed.

    • One Vote says:

      Dave, you really don’t understand influence-peddling, do you?

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      He is wrong because how is he able to have an unbiased opinion on whether to give them a liquor license when they have given him $3000.00.

      It is as simple as that.

      Why would they give him $3000 if they did not want something in return?

      • Truth in Elgin says:

        Remember the mayor sits on theLiquor Board and Elgin Market will be applying for a liquor license-

  5. Todd Martin says:

    Dave, you are entitled to your own sense of ethics.

    Others view politicians which accept large contributions from donors and then vote on the contributor’s projects as unethical.

    The reason why we have campaign contribution disclosure laws is so that voters know about conflicts of interest and can make an informed choice. Public debate is exactly where these issues should be aired.

  6. Dave Reinert says:

    These guys are not smart enough to accept political contributions where their are favors in return. The problem is Elgin is in the Chicago news market and guys like Goude mae sure that everyone knowss that the people elected in the big city are ready to do anything for a contribution. Chicago politics has rules of its own. Be smart enoughthat little old Elgin has nothing to offer a candidate for a political contribution. You people listen to the Chicago media and think every city in the U.S. follow Chicago style politics. Everything that goes on in Elgin is something everyone finds out about. These small town hicks are not going to chance going to jail for a small political contribution. You’re comparing apples with oranges. In other words, you watch way to much news about big time elected officials. You think Blago is running for office in Elgin. What goes on in Elgin don’t stay in Elgin. For 75 years I have watch the grapevine at work in this city. You’re using scare tactics to get people from voting for certain candidates. Remember, this is Elgin, Il. population of only 102,000 citizens, not 3 million with 50 Wards like Chicago.

    • One Vote says:

      Well, the grapevine says that Ed Schock is the de facto community development guy, negotiating with developers and retailers on his own. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors.
      He’s worse than Kevin Kelly with his haunting of city hall. Kelly used to count paper clips; Ed is making deals.
      If he can’t deliver those deals with enough votes on the council, he’s done.

      • Dave Reinert says:

        That’s all a figment of your wild imagination. You must have missed the points I made in my last post. It hit the nail right on the head. There are no deals. The only deals anyone in Elgin can deliver is done on the boat. Playing Blackjack r Poker. Sure guys sure have a wild idea on how Elgin works. All of your ideas are small town gossip. You wish that there was something to talk about. “One Who Chatters Idealy About Another.” The voters are just not going to buy any of this garbage.

        • Dave Reinert says:

          I try to use 8th grade vocabulary in my post. However, you guys can’t decipher this level of grammer. Maybe I will change to 5th grade vocabulary. Help each other out. Maybe a group can understand that Elgin is a small town habitat. After all, the majority population is not white. It is Hispanic. Don’t you understand the rest of the U.S. knows that fact?

          • Alan says:

            Well that would explain the terrible grammar. You also have an 8th grade notion of the world around you. You constantly degrade people by saying they are small or weak minded. Pot, meet kettle.

    • Vitamin D says:

      Dave, certainly no one will question your credibility regarding in what instances one of our “small town hicks” might risk prison time…

  7. Dave Reinert says:

    There is a whole group of books printed call “For Dummies.” A book in this category might help guys like you Alan. You might find it at the local library. It is called “Politics For Dummies.” It helps people understand the real meaning of “Conflict of Interest.”

    • enoughalready says:

      Wow Mr Reinert,

      Throughout this thread you come off as only somewhat condescending and pompous. I bet if you try harder, you could pull off really jerk face condescending and super pompous.

      You’ve made it quite clear, you know all, and we are Dummies…

      • Dave Reinert says:

        You took that out of context. I said there are books title for Dummies. You have seen the series. I just state maybe reading the one called “Politics for Dummies” might help some people understand what “conflict of interest” means. You’re most likely the smartest person in the city. Common sennse don’t come from being a smart person with a high IQ.

  8. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    It is possible that someone who did time in prison does not have the same code of ethics as people who have not spent time in prison.

    If you can’t see the conflict we perceive in taking $3000.00 from Elgin Fresh Market for his campaign for Mayor when he is on the liquor commission and the talk is they want a liquor license then perhaps my first paragraph has some legitimacy to it?

    I highly doubt Elgin Fresh Market is giving money like that for anyone else’s campaign.

    Quit trying to down grade other poster’s intelligence. You have much more typos in your posts than most others.

    • Dave Reinert says:

      Were talking about “conflict of Interest.” An area most of you need to do some research for a legal understanding.

    • Dave Reinert says:

      CH, You claim to be the taxpayers watchdog. Do you realize that I lost over $500,000, and counting each month, in Pension for over 15 years. The taxpayer made out because of my mistake. I lost my monthly pension since 1993 from IMRF due to a provision in the law.I will never see another Pension dollar. I bet that makes your day.

  9. Terry Gavin says:

    This is a very interesting topic on a web site I find most interesting. For those who don’t know or remember I was one of the liquor commissioners Schock attacked for accepting campaign donations from liquor establishments. Though I agree with the premise of “no conflict of interest” in accepting campign donations & then voting on an issue for said establishment the fact is if there’s any “quid quo pro” then you’ve got corruption! When Schock attacked us for those donations he had no proof of same yet he got away w/ it. When business people gave me money for campaigns I always told them my vote was never for sale but I’d listen to their issues that’s simply called access. It seems to me Mr. Schock is at least a hypocrite for doing the same w/ builders & then voting on a project with variances to our building codes to allow multi-family units at Bowes & Randall in the late 90’s. No aquistion here just a point of fact. Today the problem in Elgin’s government is the number of deals that seem to come out of the Mayors office from nowhere, I’m just saying something looks suspicious here! Vote for Kaptain for mayor to bring back open government to Elgin!

  10. Dave Reinert says:

    Elgin is like a marble cake. It is impossible to seperate the white from the chocolate. Elgin has schools and neighborhoods that cannot be seperated. The city is a hodge podge (a jumbo mixture) of real estate. The values in all areas have decreased at a rapid pace. We need a Mayor with the vision of Schock. He has been around for most of his life. He understands the marble cake effect. He will continue to work in the best interest of all Elgin citizens. Making sure everyone is treated fairly.

  11. Vitamin D says:

    How much is Dave Kaptain paying you to say that?? ;)

    • Dave Reinert says:

      Who is Dave Kaptain? The name of a new cocktail?

    • One Vote says:

      Sort of like the anti-endorsement of Duffy. Whatever Reinert says, do the opposite.
      And he likes John Dalton as well.

  12. Dave Reinert says:

    Ya! Listen to the X man. Don’t have the guts to put a name on the post. Ever heard of “chicken-little.”

  13. Herguth says:

    Woe is our Mayor as now the Emporer has no clothes. What say you now, Elgin?

    This dramatic episode proves there is, in fact, a back room at city hall where deals are made and accelerated to the council floor with little or no city staff input. It appears the back room only fits the mayor and a maximum of three councilmen, too. Councilman Warren seems to have a guaranteed seat in the back room, at least until April 5th.

    In his effort to become re-elected and keep his pawn Warren nearby, the mayor and Warren violated the voter’s trust of good judgment. For the mayor, it’s a repeat performance. For Warren, it’s his first betrayal of the voter’s trust and one he may not rebound from since it is so close to the election. Voters have a tendency to be quick to dismiss politicians who pull political stunts for votes so close to an election.

    A little bit of stunting is okay, but not with proud Senior citizens and certainly not with the likes of Prigge, Kaptain and Dunne at the council table.

  14. Morse Code King says:

    If Kaptain Wins:

    a)The shady Schock block and it’s “counting to 4″ arrogance will end. The questionable dealings that lead to last night’s council fight won’t happen under Kaptain. The bad decisions that are made because there isn’t meaningful discussion within the council will be much less likely.

    b)Route 20 will be optimized to bring it up to date, as IDOT has long planned to allow improved traffic flow. Kaptain has endorsed this plan.

    If Schock wins:

    a)The questionable dealings and bad judgement that lead to so much waste of tax payer’s money since 1999 will just keep on. Think Rec Centre, huge developer incentives for down town residential development, far west expansion disaster, Channing Y development, etc! With Moeller added to the council and Kaptain gone, Schock will have an even easier time getting what he wants.

    b) Route 20 will be turned into another Randall Road, with stores, stop lights and cross traffic. Schock endoreses this as his vision for our future. If he wins, he will claim his mandate, and make this change happen!

    So even though these two candidates are distressingly similar in so many regards, these two differences will make me vote for Kaptain!

  15. Morse Code King says:

    Wow, this is great timing! For Schock to make this attempt to buy the votes of our senior citizens right before the election shows how comfortable he has gotten in his crooked little kingdom. Maybe now people will realize how Schock works, and how bad it is for him to have a lock on 4 council votes.

    I said this in an earlier post, forgive my repeating this: Unless Prigge and Dunne get together and endorse two council candidates, Mike Warren (Schock’s proven rubber stamp) and Anna Moeller (Schock’s good friend and certain rubber stamp) will walk right onto the next council.

    Everyone who is for Schock will vote for Warren and Moeller. Everyone for Kaptain will probably split their votes up between 4 or 5 candidates, leaving Warren and Moeller in the winner’s circle. Divided and conquered!

    Come on Prigge and Dunne. Do you want to have to keep fighting and being out voted for the next 2 years???? Act now, and turn the council around. Only you two can do this!

  16. Wlatwego says:

    The WORST kind of politics. At a time when the City of Elgin is cutting funding to social services across the board, laying off public employees, not filling Police Officer positions, Warren and Schock pandering for the senior vote try to ram through a doubling of funding for senior services less than 2 weeks before the election. Wow!!!!

    And people think Elgin is too small for Chicago style political corruption. Transparently sleazy, even for brain-dead Elgin voters.

    This is the nail in the coffin of Schock. He will not be re-elected.

  17. WMS says:

    It is time to move on and past Schock. Elgin has moved into a stand still, as schock keeps spending money, to get away from David Kaptain. Now it appears that he is spending city money to get votes. Haven’t we had enough?

    Now is the time for anyone other than Schock. ANY one who voted for this, this should be the weight to end their politcal careers. Lets not forget who is voting, and remember it any time they come up for election.

    Sticking a three year committment to a new council in mayor is not the right move

  18. cruexxxx says:

    I just finished watching the February 23rd video of the committee of the whole meeting where councilman Warren and mayor Schock announced the plan for Senior Services expansion. It can be seen at http://www.cityofelgin.org/videocenter/ Scroll to the “Archived Meetings” section then click on “City council meetings” Then drop down to the “Committee of Whole Meeting February 23, 2011″ link. Click the “video” link then scroll to the “Announcement from Council” link and click.

    I am now convinced that the mayor and councilman Warren are guilty of being dirty players trying to buy votes from Senior citizens. They lied last Wednesday night and got mad about it when they were questioned. The videos from the February 23rd meeting and last Wednesday’s meeting proves it. They lied and obviously went into a back room to cut a deal.

    MAYOR’S 2/23/11 Quotes

    “I’ve had a couple of conversations with them (the building owners), the most recent this afternoon, and we were able to lock down a rental rate of $2800.00 a month for the space which would, as Mike said, would more than double the area that the Seniors currently have.”

    “I was provided with a complete performa of the cost of the space to them (building owner), which is $6.30 per sq. ft. We would be able to lease it for $5.60 a sq. ft.”

    WARREN’S 2/23/11 QUOTES

    “That (the rent) was an “all-in” amount, too, so that it wouldn’t impact them on utilities and additional staff. We just have to cut a doorway into the new space and they would literally be able to take advantage of that, you know, in 30-60 days.”

    “I spoke to the Elgin Township about them potentially playing a role in this partnership and, um, they seemed open to the idea to participate in sharing in the cost of securing the space for a three-year commitment.” (That is back room conversation that staff should be doing! Obviously, a three-year commitment was already settled on without staff approval.)

    “So, I’d like to ask staff to meet with representatives from the Township, Senior Services and the landlord to see if we can find some funding to participate in a partnership.” (Note he did not ask to negotiate a lease, only to “find some funding”.)

    “I shared that story with a couple of my colleagues and the mayor and talked about how a partnership might work out to help secure that space. That came well-received and so I invited the mayor, representatives Beth and Betty Shineholtz to meet with the landlord and talk about the possibility of how we can take advantage of this unique situation. It looks like the rent is about $33-$34,000 a year.” (Proof again a deal was cut in the back room for rent, space and years of lease.Obviously, he never spoke to Kaptain, Prigge or Dunne. Just a “couple of my colleagues and the mayor”. That adds up to four-a council majority! Warren is learning well from the mayor on how to get a majority.)

    These quotes prove to me that the mayor and Warren DID negotiate rent price, years of lease and square footage well before asking city staff to get involved! Both denied a deal was cut last Wednesday.

    I’m not a big fan of Dave Kaptain. He’s way too green and wants more affordable housing but Schock and Warren are liars and I would much rather vote for an honest person whom I disagree with then two liars who cut deals on the side to get votes. Schock is schooling Warren on how to be dirty and this has to stop. The seniors are being used to get votes and that is a shame.

    • One Vote says:

      Nice report.
      Note also that Stegall is confederate with these two. He should be squealing like a stuck pig when Schock oversteps his bounds. Then again, maybe he’s used to it.
      Just for fun Kaptain ought to counter with a deal he’s got ready to go for only $5.50 a square foot and they won’t have to punch a hole in the wall for a door.
      Of course, Kaptain doesn’t operate that way. He’ll come out and take a look, pass it on to staff, and keep quiet about it.
      You’d think after the Powers deal Schock and Warren would be more careful.

      • rm says:

        “You’d think after the Powers deal Schock and Warren would be more careful.”

        And Stegall, too.

        He apparently sat on the Powers conflict of interest for several months. Only after the money was spent was the Powers conflict “outed” to the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find it hard to believe that Betty wasn’t involved at all in this dealings. $5.60 a square foot? That’s a damn good deal. I’m still not sure why they would need the City’s permission to do that. Do they own the property? No? Then why is the City so involved in what would normally be a private contract? The funding is coming from Elgin Township and Grand Vic. Grand Vic is not tax payer dollars. Granted Elgin Township is, but that is overseen by it’s own board of Trustees. So is the City going to provide money through the Township?

      I don’t understand why they are involved. Please clarify. Thanks.

      • One Vote says:

        I believe the issue is that the CITY is already giving money to Senior Services and they would need to DOUBLE that grant in order to pay for the rent. And even still, they would need to get buy-in from Township and the casino to do the deal.

  19. cruexxxx says:

    This is a very damaging piece of lying done by Warren and Schock. Talk about under-handed and a sleazy way to get votes in the late stages of an election. Is this the kind of thing that makes people angry enough to vote them out? Will it stop here or happen in the future? It better.

  20. Mr. Veracity says:

    Last night, Dave Kaptain posted a commentary on Conflict of Interest and “Backroom” deals - “I believe a conflict of interest can be created by having taken campaign contributions from organizations on which I may have to vote…what happened the past month with Senior Services was the classic Ed Schock politics of the past 12 years, the politics of exclusion.”


  21. cruexxxx says:

    $5.60 is a good deal on paper. They do not need the city’s permission to expand. They just do not feel they should have to pay anything for the extra space when the mayor and councilman Warren volunteered to pay their extra rent with Foundation money, why would they want to?

    The senior center has a large budget (over a million dollars) so why can’t they pay the rent themselves? The money they have is mostly tax dollars from other divisions of the government anyway. I hear the Grand Victoria Foundation money is not supposed to be used for monthly expenses, just one-time projects.