Daley doesn't remember receiving Gutierrez's letter that lobbies for developer, aide says
Mayor's office says congressman didn't have anything to do with city's reversal of opposition to West Side project
By Dan Mihalopoulos
October 31, 2008
A top aide to Richard Daley said Thursday that the mayor does not recall receiving a 2004 letter from U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who wrote Daley on behalf of a developer who had just loaned him $200,000.
Daley's press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, said the congressman's lobbying did not have anything to do with the city's reversal of its long-standing opposition to the West Side residential and commercial project proposed by Gutierrez campaign contributor Calvin Boender.
Federal investigators have obtained Gutierrez's letter to Daley as part of their grand jury investigation into City Hall's zoning process, the Tribune reported Wednesday.
On Thursday, Daley declined to answer questions about the topic for the second consecutive day.
Later Thursday, in an e-mail response to the Tribune, Heard said neither the mayor nor any of his aides "can recall him meeting with the congressman on this project or anything else except for the city's legislative agenda."
Boender's $60 million Galewood Yards project brought homes and a movie theater to a rail yard near Grand and Central Avenues. Federal authorities have subpoenaed city documents related to the project and three others supported by Ald. Isaac Carothers in his 29th Ward.
Gutierrez has defended his lobbying as "entirely appropriate" and said he repaid the loan from Boender, which he used to buy a vacant lot on Fulton Street. Boender has not returned phone calls seeking comment.
The Daley administration insisted for years that the site remain industrial, and city planners complained Boender was "unwilling to work with them." But it was rezoned in 2006.
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