How much does it cost to buy some sunshine? About $300,000 if youâ€™re Forrest Claypool, who
has repeatedly said he wants to bring â€œsunshineâ€ to the â€™s office if he
wins the Nov. 2nd General Election.
Â Reports released Monday by the Illinois Board of Elections showed Claypool received two
contributions totaling $300,000 recently â€“ one from Assessor James Houlihan, the other from
media mogul Fred Eychaner, who cut an insider deal with Claypool for a parking garage lease
that Chicagoans will be paying for 400 years.
Â â€œWho wouldnâ€™t have sunshine in their lives with friends like that,â€ asked Joe Berrios, the
Democratic candidate for assessor. â€œOn one hand, we have Jim Houlihan, who is about to be
out of a job, and on the other, we have a very wealthy man who wants to keep getting sweet
deals and tax breaks from Claypool.â€
Â Two weeks ago, Claypool, a
which would have capped individual contributions at $10,000.
On Oct. 1, Houlihan, who is retiring, contributed $100,000 from his own coffer to the campaign of Forrest Claypool, a former Democratic seeking the same office. Eychaner gave Claypool $200,000 on Sept. 17. Houlihan receives money from , a practice in which Claypool has used as his main criticism against Berrios.
Â Houlihan has given Claypool over $130,000 in recent months, and held a fundraiser at his home for the former Democrat on October 12th.
Â Claypool was behind one of the worst long-term parking garage leases in Chicago history.
Claypool was Mayor Richard Daleyâ€™s chief of staff at the time, and then became park district
Â Claypool worked behind the scenes to broker Eychanerâ€™s 400-year-lease with the Chicago Park
District, headed by Claypool, back in the 1990s. Eychanerâ€™s Ogden Plaza Garage Co. leases
land from the Chicago Park District for a lucrative parking garage in Streeterville. The lease,
which costs $10 annually, is good for 374 more years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Since cutting that deal, Claypool has received over $625,000 from Eychaner, state filings show.
â€œIf that isnâ€™t insider back-scratching, I donâ€™t know what is,â€ Berrios said. â€œBut this is what
weâ€™ve come to expect from Claypool and his donors. They are big property owners giving big
contributions in exchange for big tax breaks if heâ€™s elected assessor. They are the rich people
who donâ€™t want to pay their fair share.â€