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Political donors also are landlords

Friday, March 16, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

At least three political donors to county officials or relatives of county officials are among those in line for leases with the county, should the Cook County Board approve them Tuesday.
Khamis Imsaih will rent office space to Commissioner Bill Beavers at $1,000 a month for his district office at 2548 E. 79th St. In January, Imsaih gave $500 to the Committee to Elect Darcel Beavers. Darcel Beavers, Beavers’ daughter, lost her bid to replace her father as alderman in Chicago after Bill Beavers became a county commissioner.
And, in Crestwood, Dean Vallas will rent office space to Commissioner Joan Murphy for $1,300 a month at 5404 W. 127th St.
While Vallas has never given money to Murphy’s campaigns, he has donated to county board President Todd Stroger, past board President Bobbie Steele, former Sheriff Michael Sheahan and county employee Sam Simone. He also gave money to the Palos Township Regular Democratic Organization, which in turn donated to Murphy’s campaign.
Even self-styled reformer,  Commissioner Michael Quigley of Chicago, camps in space owned by a donor. He will renew his lease for $1,400 a month at 1057 W. Belmont Ave., which is owned by Ron Shipka, Quigley said. Shipka’s Enterprise Development Co. has given Quigley’s campaign at least $750.
Beavers could not be reached Thursday, but Imsaih said the donation had nothing to do with the rental.
“I bought the building while they were there,” said Imsaih.
Beavers already was using the office space as his aldermanic office when Imsaih purchased the building three years ago, he said. He said neither Bill nor Darcel Beavers ever asked him to donate.
“Sometimes you have to rally behind a person who you feel is doing a good job,” said Imsaih. “We feel as a business community, we haven’t done enough for them.”
Murphy, too, saw no conflict of interest in her rental from Vallas.
“Absolutely not,” said Murphy. “He didn’t donate to me.”
Murphy said she picked the office because it was centrally located in her district and close to her home.
“He’s not giving me a break on the rent,” Murphy said.
Quigley saw no problem with his arrangement. He said government agencies have always rented space in the building, including Quigley’s mentor, former Alderman Bernie Hansen.
“He’s (Shipka) a donor to probably a hundred different people,” said Quigley.
Several other commissioners’ district office leases also are scheduled to be renewed Tuesday at much lower prices.
Republican Gregg Goslin of Glenview will rent his office space from the village of Northfield Township at $300 a month and Republican Liz Gorman of Orland Park will get her digs from the village of Orland Hills at a rate of $10 a year.

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