While we're on the subject of Allison Davis
06/12/2009 10:41 AM
My wonderful CJ editor Micah Maidenberg has given me a lot to think about the last few days. Heís resurrected a lot of my old thoughts about a little slice of corruption in the South Loop by resurrecting a couple of my old columns. For your reading pleasure on the CJ homepage, there is a column I did about the groundbreaking in 2004 of the Columbian at Roosevelt and Michigan--built on a piece of land that was taken in all its glory by eminent domain and sold to Daley pal Allison Davis soon after.
And there is also one I did about the flood a few years ago at the renovated Roosevelt Hotel at Roosevelt and Wabash--which was a renovation by Allison Davis and his partners--that utilized a lot of taxpayer-funded financing. The flood, which had insurance adjustors fighting like cats and dogs, decimated that corner for much longer than it should have. To read both columns and Micahís take on why he decided to resurrect them now, go here.
But thereís more: Two things were cut out by my editor at the time from the Columbian column, which, since blogging allows such indulgence, I will uncover and resurrect as well.
First, I wrote about Davisí extremely rumpled appearance at the groundbreaking--his hair was mussed and his suit looked like it hadnít seen a cleaner for a long time, if ever, all wrinkled and dirty looking as it was. Iím no fashion plate--but then Iím not a politically connected multimillionaire high-falutiní Chicago builder either.
And second, I mused on Davisí African American heritage, and how he uses such heritage to qualify for ever more taxpayer funding for his projects than even his well-rooted political connectedness allows. I was (and still am) dubious about whether Davis, a child of extreme privilege (his father was a brilliant and renowned scholar), great financial security and complex heritage was really the type of businessman these handouts were intended for. My opinion is no way, not ever, nix.
And this piece explains Davisí political connections, how they started and where they stand, at least as of a couple of years ago. Pay particularly close attention to the picture of Davis, which I think is revealing.
If U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald closes in and indicts Davis and he ends up in the clink, you can thank me for giving you some helpful and very interesting background on this guy.