Sigcho files complaint with OLIG over “missing” Solis funds

Byron Sigcho talking with reporters after filing his complaint against Ald. Danny Solis | Image Courtesy Brian Cerullo - Reclaim Chicago.
Byron Sigcho talking with reporters after filing his complaint against Ald. Danny Solis | Image Courtesy Brian Cerullo – Reclaim Chicago.

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Wednesday 25th Ward candidate Byron Sigcho filed a formal complaint with the city’s Office of the Legislative Inspector General (OLIG) to investigate Ald. Danny Solis.

“Pay to play is one thing, having no explanation for where $140,000 worth of public money went is something else,” Sigcho said.  “All we want to know from the alderman is where is our money?”

The complaint asks the OLIG to look into where $140,000 “missing” from Ald. Danny Solis public budget has gone. The OLIG is an independent, nonpartisan oversight office whose mission is to investigate allegations of misconduct by members and employees of the Chicago City Council.

City aldermen are given $1.3 million a year from the city in order to help the infrastructure of their ward. As EXTRA reported last November, Pawn Works Chicago, an artist collective, was hired in 2013 to create several pieces to be showcased throughout the 25th Ward. Records indicate Solis’ office budgeted $140,000 for art and other culture projects for the 25th Ward in 2013, with $16,000 planning to go to Pawn Works.

For about a year and a half the money has been unaccounted for.

Pawn Works were told that their payment would be coming to them shortly, so the group paid for the projects themselves. At press time Pawn Works had yet to be paid. And back in December the artist collective also told EXTRA Solis’ office directed them to the Chicago Public Art Group to receive compensation for their work.

Stacy Raker, a representative for Solis, told EXTRA back in December Solis had spoken to both the Law Department and the Budget Director to release these funds and called the Pawn Works situation a “bureaucratic snafu.”

“This is a baseless political stunt by a candidate who has failed to garner any support in our community,” Raker said in a statement emailed to EXTRA Wednesday evening.

Also, the OLIG could not immediately confirm or deny it had received Sigcho’s formal complaint due to the confidential nature of its investigations.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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