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Deborah Mell

Ward 33


Campaign donations since 2015, mapped.

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Born into power

Former state representative Deb Mell was appointed to her position by mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2013 following her father Dick Mell's retirement. [1]

Dick was a member of the racially motivated opposition to Harold Washington's mayorship, called the Vrdolyak 29.[2] He also made the political career of of Deb Mell's disgraced brother-in-law, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is currently serving 14 years in federal prison for corruption.[3] Dick Mell was routinely embroiled in scandal for improperly leveraging his position and influence, including for illegally owning and operating a landfill while alderman,[4] immediately becoming a lobbyist for real estate after leaving office and providing his daughter will rent free office space for her campaign.[5], as well as many others.[6][7] There were many allegations of corruption and voting irregularities after Deb Mell's 2015 re-election. [8]

Five of the top ten donors to her 2015 campaign were real estate companies, and she is also heavily funded by other political campaigns.[9] Her father has given her over $50,000 in donations and Novak Construction gave over $16,000 to her campaign after her brother, Richard D. Mell, was a lobbyist for them. [10][11] Deb Mell has fairly substantial donations in the $1000-2500 cumulative range, from a lot of real estate and development businesses, as well as some of the contracting and construction unions.[12] Community groups, especially tenants unions, have called her out for the gentrification that's plagued her ward as she's accepted donations from real estate.[13][14]

Note: Reclaim Chicago and The People's Lobby endorsed Rossana Rodriguez for 33rd ward alderman.