Neighbors Demand Ald. Solis Withdraws Support of the Project

December 23, 2014
Motion to Stay Construction of Pilsen Shredder Filed in Circuit Court
Neighbors Demand Ald. Solis Withdraws Support of the Project
Shredder Lied about Connection to Acme, a Polluter under Criminal Investigation, Solis donor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     
Contact: Nelson Soza, 773.899.0872
12/23/14
A Pilsen group filed papers in circuit court this morning to stop the construction of an unpopular metal shredder, arguing that proponents, with the knowledge of Ald. Danny Solis, intentionally misled city officials about their connection to Acme.  Acme is a metal scrap business under environmental and criminal investigation.
“Ald. Solis knew this was Acme, a known polluter under investigation for other crimes, yet he wrote a letter in support anyway,” said Cristina Rodriguez, from Pilsen Alliance.  “We demand he withdraws his support now.”
What: Press Event to Demand Ald. Solis withdraws support of Pilsen shredder
When: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 – TODAY
Time: 1 PM
Where: Ald. Danny Solis’ office, 1800 S. Blue Island
Who: Pilsen Alliance leaders, the Grinch
Ald. Solis received a political contribution $5,000 from each SMS and Acme two weeks before the Pure Metal shredder, their joint venture, filed papers at the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Together, Acme and SMS have donated more than $50,000 to Ald. Solis’ political organization, the Sun-Times reports.  The ZBA, technically the community process, immediately scheduled a hearing two weeks later, making it virtually impossible for the community to even know about it.  The community demanded and won hearings, but despite opposition, permits were granted.
In June, Pilsen Alliance and Executive Director Nelson Soza filed a complaint in circuit court against the City’s ZBA process and Pure Metal on several grounds, including missed deadlines.  However, the disclosure of transcripts and other documents during court proceedings made it clear that Mark Swedlow, Pure Metal’s president, had blatantly lied in the hearings, denying he was acting under Acme’s orders.
“They had to deny the connection to prove that the community had nothing to fear with these guys putting a shredder across from Juarez H.S.,” said Soza, one of the plaintiffs in the complaint. “Ald. Solis was caught red handed yet again; it’s time to stop this project.”
Soza testified that Pure Metal was part of Acme, which had a history of environmental violations. In support he presented a consent order previously imposed on Acme for EPA violations to illustrate that Acme, “the parent company of Pure Metal, is not in compliance with the EPA’s concern” in another matter.  Soza also testified that the federal government raided Acme’s offices in August 2013, as part of an ongoing investigation.  Agents with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division arrived with a search warrant at Acme’s offices at 3357 S. Justine St. in Bridgeport, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.  When the ZBA ChairmanJonathan Swain asked about the connection to Acme, Swedlow flatly denied one.
“Chairman: ‘Okay. Is Acme doing this project?’ Swedlow: ‘No,’” the transcript reads.
“This action will either stop this unsafe shredder or will let us find out who the people behind the shredder really are,” said Byron Sigcho, Pilsen a Alliance board member.   “Hopefully this will be remembered only as a case study of political malpractice, no more that.”
Pilsen Alliance is a multi-issue, grassroots community organization organizing in Pilsen since 1998.
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