I've been getting email and Facebook invitations to The Chicago Reporter parties at the M Lounge at 15th and Michigan for a long time. The parties always sounded like fun: come get your free magazine (ordinarily $5) and help celebrate the birth and release of an issue about some dastardly outrage, gross unfairness or insidious scam in Chicago that the well-thought-of, 40-year-old publication of the Community Renewal Society is proud to have investigated and reported on. And hopes to have investigated and curtailed by law enforcement or some other powers that be.
Friday night was no different. A ton of smart young people--including former Chicago Journal editor Michah Maidenberg
, who's been doing a little reporting and blogging for The Chicago Reporter and is on the masthead, not to mention working for Crain's, as well--were in the dark, sleek and sophisticated bar chatting it up. Angela Caputo, a Reporter reporter, has a big cover story in the January/February issue
. About how property owners who get huge government subsidies to rent to low income residents are often the same landlords who are being sued for everything from code violations to foreclosure. Her big catch was the do-gooder and politically connected Leon Finney, Jr., of TWO--the famous Woodlawn Organization
, who in addition to the aforementioned, has apparently--according to Caputo--been using the subsidies not to maintain the properties in a businesslike, safe, clean and well-heated fashion, but instead has been using the money for other things. Kind of like a private ATM machine, Caputo, a Columbia College Chicago graduate
and one of my Facebook friends, characterizes it. She told me at the party she is anxious to hear that the Attorney General picks up where she left off.
So I asked her how come the magazine always has their release parties at 15th and Michigan--in a small bar in the middle of the South Loop. She said it was just something that started and they keep doing it. It's close to the magazine's offices on the southern edge of the Loop and it's easy for colleagues to get to and it's nice, she explained. And it's become a habit. Although she said she's not averse to trying something new for an upcoming party, but no one has gotten around to making the change.
And now that I've gone to one of the parties, I hope they don't make a change. It was fun going over to the M Lounge. A real treat. And I got a free magazine.
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