Can you say “perjury?” I knew you could!
It took a rather circuitous FOIA route from the Elgin City Clerk’s office to the Kane County Clerk, but I finally did manage to obtain a copy of the 2018 Economic Interest Statement filed by Elgin City Councilman Baldemar Lopez prior to his city council run.
You can see it for yourself right here: Lopez EIS
To make a long story short, nowhere on the form does he disclose he’s a lobbyist, and that my friends is perjury!
For example, line item 1 on the EIS asks the candidate to list “any entity” that does business with “a unit of local government” where the fair market value of that “entity” is $5,000 or more. Lopez does call what Strategem Consulting does “government relations,” but after WBEZ’s report, we all know it’s really lobbying.
Meanwhile, all kinds of business analyst websites report Strategem brings in $254,000 a year, well above that $5,000 mark. Though they go out of their way not to name their clients, sources tell me Strategem lobbies for the Village of Hanover Park among other government propositions.
So, that’s perjury number one.
Moving on to item number 3, where Lopez is required to note the nature of professional services rendered to non-government entities who paid him more than $5,000. Thanks to WBEZ, we already know that Com Ed paid Stratagem Consulting $60 grand in 2019.
So, in light of Strategem’s quarter million-dollar annual income, I’d bet my bottom dollar that all manner of private and public business paid him more than $5,000 to perform, as Mr. Lopez puts it, “government relations” in 2018.
That’s perjury number two.
Since all lobbying efforts must be disclosed, it will be more than fascinating to see Lopez’ 2019 Economic Interest Statement. The same County Clerk FOIA request also determined Lopez has a scant three weeks to file that document and fulfill that statutory requirement.
On to item number 7! That’s where Lopez must list any “unit of government” that employed his firm in the previous calendar year. His response is “None,” which makes it perjury number three.
During Mayor Dave Kaptain’s recent annual state of the city address, he said he wanted the council to adopt an ethics ordinance that, like Chicago, would prohibit councilmen from engaging in any lobbying activities. Lopez’ response wasn’t “Of course I’m not a lobbyist,” it was that he was taken by surprise by Kaptain’s initiative.
Now, before you get too excited, the odds of Baldemar sharing a jail cell with Blago aren’t good. The maximum penalty for filing a false EIS is $1,000 and/or a year in the pokey, and I’ve never heard of a candidate going to jail for that kind of thing. But I do think fining Lopez a grand would be more than appropriate.
All I can say is, I can’t wait to see his 2019 EIS edition!
A turkey of a giveaway
So, Elgin City Councilman Corey Dixon just prattled on about being committed to being the best imperfect person he could possibly be on social media. Given my magnanimous nature and the fact his flaw list is longer than mine, I’m more than willing to provide some assistance in his quest for improvement.
And it starts with eliminating self-aggrandizing giveaways that are really nothing more than an attempt to buy votes.
Last year it was a backpack giveaway, moderated by the Councilman himself, and this year, it’s free turkeys being provided under the same random conditions.
My first question is, how does Councilman Dixon purport to determine who truly needs a free turkey or a free backpack? He certainly hasn’t disclosed that screening criteria. So, can anyone show up for a free Turkey? If that’s the case, rest assured that City Councilman Terry Gavin will be the first in line.
And our first point leads directly to the second question, which is, why not bring the U-46 PTO in to pass out those backpacks and Elgin’s Community Crisis Center to distribute the turkeys? That simple move would ensure an equitable process and that everything’s on the up-and-up.
But that would mean Councilman Dixon would have to share the glory, now, wouldn’t it?
So, in an effort to help Mr. Dixon be more imperfectly perfect, particularly in regard to the faith he so fervently cited, I want to remind him of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. For reference purposes Dictionary.com defines “Pharisee” as “a self-righteous person; a hypocrite,” and Luke 18:14 admonishes the following:
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I’m always happy to help you out, Corey!