Home / Articles / News / News / A closer look
Print this Article
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007 12:52 am

A closer look

Taxpayer-funded housing projects under scrutiny by city

Untitled Document Plans for a new east-side development project stalled Monday because aldermen still have not sorted out contractual issues involving an unrelated but similar development project. The City Council met during a special afternoon session to approve the final plat and site-development plan of Timberlake Estates, Abundant Faith Christian Center’s new assisted-living development. Instead, aldermen delayed action because of unresolved concerns with the Nehemiah Expansion project — another church-related development that is scheduled to receive federal dollars through the city. Because aldermen were not allowed to discuss the Nehemiah project during the special session, they voted to send the Timberlake Estates-related ordinances back to the public-works committee to allow further consideration. Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards urged the delay, saying that it was essential that the city’s role in these kinds of housing development projects be clarified before any are approved. “Let’s have an open discussion,” Edwards said after the meeting. “I think that’s what turned everybody off. When you tell me that I can’t discuss this or that, when this is all part of the project, I don’t want to vote on it.”
The concerns about the city-funded Nehemiah project surfaced last week when Brad Schaive, business manager for Laborers Local 477, told aldermen that a subcontractor on the Nehemiah Expansion housing project — led by the Rev. Silas Johnson of Calvary Baptist Church — allegedly did not properly bid work, failed to sign a contract for work performed, and was not properly informed about prevailing-wage requirements. According to the city’s redevelopment agreement with Nehemiah Expansion, all three are required or the contract can be terminated. Ernie Slottag, the city’s communications director, says that the city hasn’t disbursed any of the $240,000 in taxpayer money pledged to the project and can withhold payment if Nehemiah doesn’t comply with the terms of the contract. “Until we get a reimbursement request, we will not expend any funds,” Slottag says in an e-mail. “Those requests must meet the guidelines established in the contract.”
Mike Niehaus of Windsor Homes, the contractor with Nehemiah Expansion, confirmed to Illinois Times that a contract was not signed by subcontractor Craig Linne of Linne’s Tree Service but said that this was an oversight on the part of an overburdened site manager. Niehaus also said that even if Linne was not informed of prevailing-wage requirements initially, he was told about them when he turned in his invoices.
Aldermen will reconvene at 5:15 p.m. today (Dec. 13) during the public-works committee meeting to discuss both the Nehemiah Expansion and the Timberlake Estates projects. 

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com
Log in to use your Facebook account with
IllinoisTimes

Login With Facebook Account



Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes

Calendar

  • Mon
    25
  • Tue
    26
  • Wed
    27
  • Thu
    28
  • Fri
    29
  • Sat
    30
  • Sun
    31