That's how much local tax payer money The Woodlawn Organization, headed by notorious South Side landlord Leon Finney, has collected since the City Council passed an ordinance barring slumlords from collecting city money last January.
We unearthed the legislation over the summer and put city officials on the spot for failing to enforce it when it came to Finney, a political insider who City Hall has taken to court 19 times over the past year alone. We dug into the court complaints and found dozens of allegations that substandard porches, mold and rat infestation are rampant in properties controlled by Finney's group.
How much the scrutiny contributed to Finney's decision to step down from the Chicago Plan Commission a few weeks back is unknown. What is clear is that while the city continues to file court cases against him -- on the taxpayers' dime -- TWO is still pulling in public money. Over the last quarter of 2010 alone, the non profit was cut $250,446.26 worth of checks courtesy of taxpayers, city records show.
On Thursday, the city hauled Finney's group back to court this time for substandard conditions at 6134-44 S. Kimbark Ave. The Sun-Times reports on the untenable conditions at the building that's become the subject of Finney's latest legal troubles:
Broken windows dot the facade, and
drug paraphernalia litter hallways of this 30-unit courtyard building
owned by The Woodlawn Organization -- run by Mayor Daley's close friend
and ally, the Rev. Leon Finney.
Inside their apartments, tenants of 6134-44 S. Kimbark navigate cracked and peeling floors, walls and
ceilings; scurrying rats and roaches; festering mold, and leaks coming
from the roof, plastic-covered windows and sporadically functioning
On Thursday, these were the least of their problems, though.
For the past month, they have had little to no heat or hot water, as temperatures dipped.
That prompted the city to file an
emergency motion in Cook County Circuit Court Thursday to appoint a
heat receiver to repair the building's heating system and ensure
adequate heat and hot water for tenants.
But that did not happen, and tenants
fear Finney's group bamboozled the court, and charge that because of
its political connections, TWO continues to get off easy.
The $1,014,837.53 worth of checks Finney's group has been handed over the past year certainly makes you wonder how serious City Hall is about whether he really cleans up his act, or properties.