40 - Patrick J. O'Connor.jpg

Patrick O'Connor

Ward 40

 

Campaign donations since 2015, mapped.

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"He zones. She sells. And it's legal."

This headline from a 2008 Chicago Tribune on the alderman is accurate. Together, Pat O’Connor and his wife Barbara sell the 40th Ward to real estate developers regardless of the wishes of his constituents. Originally elected in 1983, O’Connor has kept a chokehold on the title of 40th Ward Alderman and has used his position to funnel public money into the private business interests of his friends and family.[1]

O’Connor is anti-workers' rights, anti-public schools, anti-affordable housing, and anti-accountability. He is pro-privatization, pro-real estate interests, and pro-big money campaign donations. Comfortably situated in the Mayor’s pocket, O’Connor is part of the old guard that earned Chicago the moniker of “Most Corrupt City.”[2]

Pat O’Connor was elected in 1983. By the end of that year, he was under federal investigation for giving city jobs to 15 of his cronies, in-laws, and law firm buddies, earning himself the nickname “City Hall Santa.” [3] In 2008, as part of its “Neighborhoods for Sale” series, the Chicago Tribune uncovered how O’Connor has made a killing granting favorable zoning changes to big real estate developers--as long as his big real estate developer wife is the one to close the deal.[1]

Since 2008, O’Connor has continued to rule his ward like a dynasty, using his political power to line his pockets and the pockets of his friends and family. His biggest donors include real estate PACs, construction PACs, and Rahm Emanuel’s personal PAC.[4] A good investment on the Mayor’s part, since the votes of O’Connor, along with Ed Burke, are used to assess how closely other aldermen’s views align with Rahm’s. He voted against giving TIF money to Chicago schools,[2] but voted in favor of using it to support his wife’s development of a massive 142 unit residential building in the Edgewater Hospital parking lot.[5] Just this past April, he helped the mayor scuttle an investigation into the quantity of lead in our city’s water supply.[6]

Pat O’Connor doesn’t care about the 40th ward. He knows he hit the jackpot when he won his lucrative city job 34 years ago as part of the racially motivated Vrodlyak 29,[7] and he’ll vote however he needs to vote to keep it. He doesn’t need to serve the people of the 40th ward, because his power doesn’t come from his constituents, and he still displays the same racist impulses that characterized his early career.[8] When asked about running for reelection, he said, “Do I want spend the next four years working as hard as I have being at the beck and call of people that, otherwise, I wouldn’t be hanging around with?”[9] O’Connor owes his power to PACs, developers, and the mayor, not his constituents.[4]

Note: Reclaim Chicago and The People's Lobby endorsed Andre Vasquez for 40th ward alderman. Andre has been an organizer with the Fair Elections task force and is an adamant supporter of getting big money out of politics.

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