More than two dozen residents turned out to voice their concerns about clout and corruption in the 25th Ward during a community forum held by the Better Government Association and WBEZ following an investigation by the two newsrooms into how a top ward aide landed side jobs at politically connected companies.
The open forum — held Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Pilsen Outpost, a local art gallery and community meeting space — is part of the BGA’s continuing effort to connect our reporters to the neighborhoods they cover and showcase our watchdog journalism.
Reporters Alejandra Cancino (BGA) and María Inés Zamudio (WBEZ) began their talk by giving the crowd a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges they faced in prying records out of City Hall. They also traced the steps of former-Ald. Daniel Solis’ chief of staff as he landed jobs as a bouncer in the ward, a security guard at a company that works ward festivals and most recently as a lobbyist for an Illinois utility company. Read the investigation here.
The aide was largely running the ward office after his boss disappeared a year ago following disclosures he was cooperating in a sweeping federal corruption probe
Following the presentation, the reporters answered questions about their investigation, what the community can do to combat corruption and tell their own stories about their interactions with the ward office.
The BGA wants to hold more of these events throughout Chicago and is looking for individuals and groups who want to participate. If you’re interested, sign up for our email list.