He might just be one of Chicago's most politically connected residents and has been accused of being one of the city's biggest slumlords: Leon Finney Jr.
But today he's given up one of his most powerful positions--member of
the Chicago Plan Commission, which makes important city decisions regarding
new development, Tax Increment Financing Districts and public land use. A source at the commission's meeting says it was announced today. His resignation was confirmed by Peter Strazzabosco, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning.
Reverend and pastor of Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church and leader of the Woodlawn Organization, Finney has received millions in city contracts over the years for affordable housing. Regular readers may recall that Finney, who is cozy with Daley, is the South Side landlord with a history of operating slum buildings.
A Chicago Reporter investigation into the matter showed that Finney continued to get millions from the city while it was simultaneously taking him to court for building violations, including rat infestations, broken
plumbing, leaking roofs and deteriorating porches.
Finney could not be reached immediately for comment.
Many of Finney's tenants have come forward to complain about their living conditions. Here, tenant Latasha Edwards describes what she's dealt with in her own building in a press conference earlier this year:
Why did Finney resign? We don't know yet. Maybe, like Ron Huberman, he's decided to leave politics before his buddy Mayor Richard M. Daley leaves office.
Last year, Reporter Angela Caputo, while at Progress Illinois, asked this question: Why is Leon Finney Jr. setting public policy? It's been almost a year since the article came out, but maybe it made some impact on the former commissioner. Maybe he couldn't think of a good reason either.