CHICAGO (CBS) — Angry developers want to know why embattled Ald. Danny Solis (25th) blocked a major retail and residential project in Pilsen.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley reports they are demanding Solis explain, before his problems with federal prosecutors grow deeper.
The lawsuit revolves around the planned Park Works development: 400 residential units plus retail at 16th and Peoria that never got built due to Ald. Danny Solis.
“Everybody else in the community wanted it. And for no real reason, for no good reason, no rational reason, he de-zoned it,” said Alex Spiro, an attorney for the developers. “His motives and his motivations are the key to this case and we want to depose him.”
The plans included affordable units, but Solis demanded more. Then, in 2016, he re-zoned the two block parcel to manufacturing. Solis’ stated purpose, according to developers: “Give a little nudge to “get the message across.”
Federal prosecutors charge Ald. Ed Burke used that same power, called “aldermanic prerogative” to hold up renovation permits for a fast food restaurant unless it used his law firm.
Now, the Pilsen developers want to talk to Solis about what caused him to kill a project for a piece of land that’s still vacant today.
And since it’s been revealed Solis wore a wire for the FBI as part of the Burke investigation, the developers believe they’re in a race to get him to talk.
But city attorneys argue aldermanic prerogative is protected by law. And they don’t want Solis answering questions until the court considers their request to dismiss the case altogether.
Judge Sophia Hall delayed any deposition of Solis until February 25 as she considers the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Solis was not in court for the hearing and has virtually gone underground since his involvement with the FBI became known.