Harwood Heights OKs Controversial Deal With Developer

HARWOOD HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — Residents of one Chicago suburb say it doesn’t make any sense: a plan to take a multi-million-dollar piece of property and sell it to a developer for $100.

Harwood Heights residents sounded off Thursday on what some call a raw real estate deal.

Critics say the village is planning to buy a plot of land for $3.8 million dollars and then sell the property to a developer, the Bradford Group, for $100.

A grocery store would be built on the land.

“This guy is worth millions of dollars,” Village Trustee Demetrios Mougolias said. “Why would the taxpayer, who barely is getting by right now, who cannot even make ends meet, why would they have to subsidize his property, or his business?”

Supporters of the plan say it’s really an incentive to bring in a business that would create jobs and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue every year.

“The primary perk is that it’s going to open up jobs. It’s going to provide many job opportunities to our community, especially now that the economy is still struggling,” Trustee Michael Gadzinski said.

The Village Board approved the plan 4-3 Tuesday, but critics say the issue isn’t settled.

  • Marcellus

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!

  • Brian Y

    Is there a rider to the deal that would state the employees would need to be hired from Harwood Heights? If not- it would notcreate jobs for the town!

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      No such rider – its open to everyone.

  • PG

    Even if is does create jobs, they will be minimum wage jobs (or barely above minimum wage), nothing that a family can be supported on. So, Harwood Heights wants to do this to bring in minimum wage paying jobs (or barely above minimum wage)? Wow, talk about needing to set their sites a little higher…….

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      A factory (manufacturer) is located on the property the village will buy after borrowing $4 million ($2 million from a bank @ 3.5%, $2 million from the developer @ 5.5%, both for 20 years) and then selling it to the same developer for $100. Many people work there and some of them live in Harwood Heights.

      • Eva Strobeck

        I think Klein Tools which is now in Lincolnwood was looking to move or expand. Why not giving them a ring. They would provide real jobs and not just grocery store minimmum wage jobs. Eva Strobeck

  • HH Resident

    Shady deals standard practice by Mayor Jezierny. Never will she tell you the truth nor Gadzinski or her other puppets.

  • Resident

    We need an Occupy HH. The 1% gets a free ride and the residents 99% will end up paying for it. Or maybe the State’s Attorney’s office needs to investigate this fishy deal.

  • business owner/resident

    I think the village is going to far out on a limb for this deal. Mariano’s should open on their own steam and maybe get tax incentives after they open if they agree on employing mostly from HH residents.

  • sue

    Was there any violation if the Open Meetings Act? Then a new vote should be called

  • HH Resident

    Why did the Trustees and The Mayor that voted for this NOT read the contracts? Why are they selling us out? Why isn’t Joan White trying to shake down the Developer like she did back in 2006 when Zitella wanted to build condos? Joan has been way too quiet, totally unlike her. Someone is getting something.

    And yes we do need an Occupy HH. Get involved don’t back down our voices need to be heard.

  • madashell

    @ resident, this is illinois the states attorney probably getting their cut by way of business owners through political donations that citizens pay for twice!!!!

  • me

    This could cost the Mayor to lose in the next election. It’s refreshing to see 3 trustees and a Mayor putting a village and the MAJORITY of it’s residents ahead of their political careers. Too many non-revenue producing empty lots in the village. Let’s not turn our backs on the one developer ready to build a $21 million dollar store here.

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      Majority? I attended each and every one of the previous board meetings, the vast majority 95%+ are against this project.

      It iis simple math, almost all were against the project.

      The only ones who spoke supporting the project were people who have positions with the village appointed by the mayor
      – don’t believe me?
      Check village records and online minutes of past meetings.

      If the majority of village residents are for the project,, where were they?

      They were not at the board meetings. The last board meeting had more people attending then I have ever seen before, and they were, probably even greater than 95%+ against the project.

    • HH Resident

      (me) Why are you concerned about the Mayor and her croonies losing their “political” careers? Don’t worry about them, they always manage to land on their feet.

      What about the workers at the factory that will be destroyed? You don’t seem too concerned over their lives. They have families. Does your deserve to have a $21 million dollar grocery store that you may or may not shop at more important.

      Sit there and think about before you worry about the Mayor. She knows how to get herself another job…..all she has to do is continue to support other “political” croonies.

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      Please remember Krispy Kreme Donuts when they entered the Chicagoland market several years back. Suburban towns fought each other to entice Krispy Kreme to locate in their town. Many gave special incentives to get the stores. Krispy Kreme was very succesful for the first few years but then they closed. No more store in Summit on Harlem Avenue, no more store in Rosemont – and many of these communities never recovered their costs and are still paying for the privilege of having a Krispy Kreme.

    • HH Resident

      (me) You must have forgotten that it is your beloved Mayor that STOPPED development in that exact same area. Back in 2006 WE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO PAY FOR ANY ROTTEN LAND DEALS.

      The proposed development would have been a more stable bet. You must be a gambling man (me) just like your beloved Mayor because you want to gamble away our homes for what purpose??

      A $21 million dollar store might fail tomm but we would have to still pay the for that land we gifted away. Don’t you understand the severity of what is at stake here? Do you love your beloved Mayor more then the home you live in?

    • kevin

      Hey Me, You mean this is the only developer willing to pay the Mayor so they can build in the village. Why is it rumored the Mayor’s hit men are asking for up to $5,000.00 for her campaign.

      Why did it take iver a year for Aldi’s to be allowed to open and this one is approved last year. Read Mayor Jezierny’s letter that was sent out at taxpayers expenxe with your village calander “make way for Mariano’s” the deal was done last year behind doors or possibly at the Rivers casino.

      Again just my opinion

      • me

        i don’t listen to rumors and the calendars were hand delivered by volunteers. That means at no cost to the taxpayers.

      • Kevin

        Yes the calenders were paid for by businesses and the village. The village employees sort them out to be delivered. Then only Gadzinski and Jezierny is allowed to send their personal notes along. It appears to be abuse of their powers and use of the village employees.

        ME did you mean to type in M.H. Only an insider would know that they were delivered by volunteers.

  • me

    what’s wrong with min wage jobs? aren’t they better than NO job? I guess collecting unemployment for 2 years is the norm now. Seems to me people these days would rather suck on the public teet than work for min. wage. win a million dollars and expect us to continue paying $200. a month for food stamps.

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      What about the manufacturing jiobs at the factory that will be torn down for the store to be built? The idea behind economic growth is to add value.

      Value added at each level of production, through manufacturing – that’s what made this country great, what made it the envy of the world, what made people from all over the world want to move their families to this country. Immigrants. Generation after generation.

      Service, retail, and similar type jobs are good but they are not a career maker. They are not builders of an economy.

      When my father and mother started our family, my father worked as a tool and die maker, he supported our entire family, bought a house, bought a new car, and sent my brother and I to Catholic grammar and high school, and to two of the best universities in America (and the world). When my dad become ill, my mom worked hard for a top manufacturer and was able to support our family.

      A job at a grocery store will not allow you to do the same.

  • HH Resident

    Hey (me) watch this video and learn something about the grocery business.

    Sure the developer will spend $21 million but grocery stores run on very little profit margin. Spending so much with little return is a complete recipe for financial disaster. Hey (me), educate yourself before you go to the next meeting. You look like a complete fool trying to “sell” us how wonderful this deal is going to be.

    • Mark Dobrzycki

      What I have been told by Trustee Szlendakand others is that construction loans are leveraged at 4 to 1. That means the developer can approach a bank and say “Hey, I have a $4 million piece of property (for which was purchased for $100), please give me a construction loan of $16 million”

      If this is accurate, then getting a $4 million piece of property for $100 to get a $16 million loan is very much worth it, and even if the project fails, all I lose is $100.

  • HH Resident

    Manufacturing in America is making a comeback. To close a working factory that employees people who work hard to support their families as well as to pay taxes on their homes is criminal.

    Over market saturation of stores only leads to another store shutting it’s doors. There are plenty of grocery stores in the area already. Mariano’s we do not need.

    What about the location? Oketo Ave. can not support all the traffic the store would bring. What about the safety of the children that go to the Eisenhower library? What about the homes that are directly across the street? Would you want to live next to a store that would have a ton of noise and not to mention they would have to keep their lights on at night.

    Why can’t we have low rise condos there? They would provide for a steady tax revenue base as well as add to the community. Do you think anyone that works for a store making min. wage is going to care about keeping the neighborhood nice and neat??

    Mistakes where made in the past but the future is ours and we do not want a company that is going to rake us over the coals for their own corporate GREED.

  • Mark Dobrzycki

    “me” states “Seems to me people these days would rather suck on the public teet ”
    – well what’s happening when a village of 8,500 people borrows $4 million, buys a property, turns around and sells it to a developer for $100 and at the same time borrows $2 million of the $4 million from the same developer that the property is being sold to for a hundred bucks?

    The village’s entire annual budget is $6 – $7 million. We are borrowing against 2/3 of the yearly budget.

    Its not right to subsidze a business, more like investing in a business with risk but not being rewarded for investing in the business – all we get is sales tax revenue as we do from every other business in Harwood Heights, did we give money to Aldi, or any of the other new or old businesses.

    I don’t mind investing in the public infrastructure, water mains, sewers, streets and sidewalks to help a business, giving a sales tax rebate with some restrictions and obligations.

    We have no guarentee other than being burdened with a $4 million +interest debt. We, the village of Harwood Heights does not even have a guarentee that the 450 jobs will be hired from Harwood Heights residents, what about that?

  • HH Resident

    Those who drive drunk should not be entrusted with having a driver’s license.

  • HH Resident

    Corporate Economics? Do you mean Economic Growth and Development? Which is the correct term.

  • me

    People just don’t get it. This is not about bringing high paying jobs to our village. If we get a mfgr. of hand tools to move here from Lincolnwood I don’t care if they pay their workers $50.00 an hour or $500.00 an hour. The village won’t get a dime of that money. We need retail, retail and RETAIL. Every head of lettuce a grocer sells we get a piece of the action. Every grocery cart full of food sold the village gets a piece of the action. A thousand grocery carts full of food a day, the village gets a cut. Trustee Dobrzycki complains about the price of a $5,00 double baked potato. I want a trustee that would cross his fingers and hope with all his might that a grocer in our village will sell a million $5,00 double baked potatoes each and every week. Not complain it’s too expensive. If the trustees against this project don’t like the concessions the village is making to get a store here then they should stop complaining, get off their duffs and get a retail store that will build without getting an incentive to do so. Tell me you have a Wal-Mart, or a Target, or a Dominicks, or even a Hot Dog stand that wants to build here without getting a dime from the village then I’ll be the first to say don’t give BradfordMarianos a nickle. Do you have a single retailer ready to build in our village? With or without incentives. Of course not. Yet you moan and groan about “The Deal”. Present us with a better one. My name is Mike Holzer. Let me know when you have a better deal than the one on the table. And that’s all I want to hear about. I don’t care who lives with and takes care of his grandmother, or who video tapes what at meetings,

    • Kevin

      Mr. Holzer So you would rather see the residents stay unemloyed . I guess with people like you would like to see the foreclosure go up to 50% from the 34% in the village. That is funny being you stated you were giving the money you get paid from our tax dollars back to the village now you are keeping it for yourself.

      So Mr. Holzer its all about you as an appointed person by Mayor Jezierny, if the village doesn’t get their money your position may be eliminated. You should run for Trustee with Mayor Jezierny and call it the all about me team.

      The following has built without incentives: Aldis, Marshalls, Value City, K-Mart, McDonalds, Suparossa and Zittela Develoment. Maybe we should ask why businesses need to get an incentive, Red-lid camera, No right turn, Force a businees to have their emloyee walk around the whole block to clean what PW should be cleaning? Select businesses that get all of the senior luncheons, being asked for large political donations, forcing businesses to sell certain items, a shady deal making mayor with residents upset and no answers from her.
      Mike what is the deal Jezierny received from Marianos?

      Again just my opinion.


    I do agree with only one of your comments. Yes, I agree the Village Water Tower looks HIDEOUS. Either they need to REPLACE the watertower as Northbrook just has or at least have it epoxy painted and have the cell phone antennas hidden more. This water tower looks like it belongs in Berwyn or Melrose Park. Replace or restore the water tower trustees and MAyor.

  • me

    People please. If you support the project speak up ..but let’s stop the name calling. Don’t stoop to their level.

    • Kim

      MH to who’s level are you speaking of ? And yes if you support the deal speak up . Let me clarify the $$$$$ deal not the grocer

  • Second Edition

    The deal is a scam. The only person who is making money are the shady lawyers and the Mayor.

    • Anna

      so true

  • kevin

    Good day residents of Harwood Heights, first I would like to paste a quote that was sent to me the other day: “Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety” —28th President Woodrow Wilson

    I believe we can see that the Mariano’s deal may be questionable being Mayor Jezierny has now used the village emergency phone system to call our houses to let us know about the referendum on the March 20th ballot. I believe she used the emergency phone system being she may have had an emergency, like egg on her face being no one in this village seems to trust her anymore and no one showed up to the meetings not even the extra meeting or meetings she has added.

    Why is it that 204 residents show up and she does not want to hear our opinions on the what appears to be a corrupt deal. Will she cut the police staff down being I have been threatened by a person via this web site. I have asked her to notify the police and Michael Gadzinski being it was a person identifying themself as one of his supporters and Jezierny will not respond. Mayor Jezierny and another trustee allegedly has been going out and talking with residents at their home, why? I am threatened and I ask her to notify the police and let me know and no return call or e-mail.
    In response to Mr. Holzer who has stated he does not want any high paying jobs in the village and if you do not support the project do not write any thing or no name calling, I am doing neither, I am stating facts and I have noticed no one has written in support of this since Mr. Holzer has made his comment, yet Mayor Jezierny will not have a public meeting for Marianos nor will answer any questions on the deal.
    Mayor Jezierny will lie and will tell you she will answer questions at the next meeting and she does not, which is in my family called a lie, I do not know what you call it in politics.

    The village attorney stated that we are home rule, I thought that meant you could make the State laws stronger not weaker. Well I am not a high powered attorney so I may be wrong also.

    One final perspective, If the village was handling you child’s college fund it would work something like this. Give us $17,000.00 and in 23 years we may have part of your child’s money, if things go bad you may lose your house in the mean time. Most likely we should be able to give you about $6,000.00 back so it should only cost you $11,000.00. Possibly in the mean time all residents could get a $17,000.00 food voucher from Mariano’s and the village could cancel the money give away. I am proud of this village even tough I do question part of the administration at this time!

    Kevin A. Shuttleworth

    Why is it that 204 residents show up and she does not want to hear our oppinions on the what appears to be a corrupt deal. Will she cut the police staff down being I have been threatened by a person via this web site. I have asked her to notify the police and she will not respond. Mayor jezierny and another trustee allegedly has been going out and talking with residents at their home, why? I am threatened and I ask her to notify the police and let me know and no return call or e-mail.
    In response to Mr. Holzer who has stated he does not want any high paying jobs in the village and if you do not support the project do not write any thing or no name calling, I am doing neither, I am stating facts and I have noticed no one has written in support of this since Mr. Holzer has made his comment, yet Mayor Jezierny will not have a public meeting nor will answer any questions.
    Mayor Jezierny will lie and will tell you she will answer questions at the next meeting and she does not, which is in my family called a lie, I do not know what you call it in politics.

  • me

    To Trustees M. D. and J. M. if Mr. Shuttleworth wrote the letter starting out Good day HH reidents then I’m the Easter Bunny.

    • Kevin

      Mr. Holzer, we all know that Michael Gadzinski plays the Easter Bunny so you are no the bunny. Yes the rest of the residents do try to keep a positive attitude, yet people like you that ask us not to call names and be positive. I guess you cannot control your name calling and negativity as you call out a select few to attempt to insult. Was your comment necessary?
      What is wrong with having a positive attitude, does it offend you?


    WOW, you are so wound up RELAX. In response to your comment that Arlene used the EMERGENCY RESPONSE telephone to alert residents about the referendum on the March 20th ballot—-HOW ELSE would the mayor relay a voting message??? Was she supposed to use a phone book and do it call by call? Man think before you talk. That is what the system is used for when you want to contact ALL the residents via one call. YOu stated 204 residents came to the meeting-what is the entire population of HH? I believe it is over 7,000 which is a small number comparatively speaking. The village attorney is CORRECT we are under HOME RULE and yes you are not an attorney. If you think that this is so wrong then go ahead and raise enough bond money and hire RUSS STEWART to be your attorney or whomever you see fit. RELAX, CALM DOWN because MARIANO’S is coming to Harwood Heights. Be proud and be blessed.

    • Anna

      Mayor Jezierny ???

  • HH resident

    Why are we blessed? We are going to be hit with more taxes and the unknown.

    Developers don’t come to Harwood Hts because the Mayor makes it hard to do business here. Just ask the developer who purchased the old village hall property. She sued him. Don’t you think developers bad mouth Harwood Hts and the management?

    How can the Mayor sleep at night selling us out for what reason?


    HH Resident
    The opposite side of Oketo is and has always been factories or empty factories with no housing/condo’s as you so suggest-LOW RISE condo’s. Harwood Heights needs more condo’s that can’t sell like we need a raise in property taxes. If you don’t like the traffic-guess what? IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE way before Mariaon’s and always will be. Sell your home and move to another section of HH if you need to stay in HH.As a HH resident of over 20 years this is what we need-MARIANO’s. Two hundred people won’t make a difference in what goes on WE ARE HOME RULE-look it up. REMEMBER………as it was stated above……..THOSE WHO DRIVE DRUNK SHOULD NOT BE ENTRUSTED WITH A DRIVERS LICENSE……………

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