Union urges Rauner to return $25,000 contribution from firm made as affiliate Inland Commercial Property Management held state contract
Chicago, IL – Chicago hotel workers are calling on gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner to return a campaign contribution from the multibillion-dollar Inland Real Estate Group, which has ties to a state contract worth over $200,000. Rauner has said he wants to stop the chokehold that special interests have on our government, but new information has come to light that casts doubt on his commitment to ethics reform.
On Wednesday at 1:00 pm, Chicago hotel workers who are members of UNITE HERE Local 1 are rallying outside of Rauner’s downtown campaign office to urge the candidate to reject the real estate company’s contribution.
Rauner accepted a $25,000 contribution from the Inland Real Estate Group, a $16 billion company headquartered in suburban Oak Brook, made as its affiliate Inland Commercial Property Management held a contract with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services worth over $200,000. While state legislation bans contributions from entities that have or are seeking state contracts, it fails to reach sister companies of those entities.
“The left hand of Inland should not be able to give large dollars to politicians while the right hand holds lucrative state contracts,” said Jordan Fein, Research Analyst with UNITE HERE Local 1. “If Bruce Rauner is serious about ethics reform, as he has stated repeatedly, he will return Inland’s money, and he will do it today.”
The Inland Real Estate Group and its chairman are both tied to Inland Commercial, owning 12.5% and 10% of the company, respectively. Inland’s chairman is the former board chair and a current director of Inland Commercial’s sole owner and is also chairman, president and majority owner of the Inland Real Estate Group’s sole owner.
Another affiliate of the Inland Real Estate Group, Inland American Real Estate Trust, was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as of June 30, 2014.
Chicagoland’s hotel workers familiar with Illinois’ history of political corruption are hungry for change. “Bruce Rauner said he wants to stop the chokehold that special interests have on our government, but Inland’s contribution may well be just more of the same,” UNITE HERE Local 1 member Demetrius Jackson, who has worked at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Chicago for seven years.
Other Illinois politicians have also taken contributions from Inland affiliates. The Inland Real Estate Group contributed $15,000 to Illinois Treasurer candidate Tom Cross as its affiliate Pan American Bank held a contract with the Treasurer’s office worth over $100,000. Current Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford has also received $12,500 in donations from companies related to Inland from April 29, 2005 to August 22, 2012.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.