Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Daley-Connected Developer Vies for Lucrative Contract Despite Owing $2.5 Million in Taxes

Another day, another shady development deal.

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    The IRS is after him, but Jack Higgins is banking on clout.

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the developer -- a friend of former Mayor Richard M. Daley -- has continued his bid to take over nine acres of prime West Side real estate even though he owes the feds more than $2.5 million in unpaid income taxes dating back to 2005.

    Last November an agency called the Medical District Commission, comprised of members appointed by the governor, the mayor and the Cook County Board president, rescinded its $163 million contract with Higgins for an Ogden Avenue-located "IMD Gateway Development" project amid reports of Higgins' IRS issues.

    You would think Higgins would lay low, lick his wounds and perhaps pay his taxes. Think again.

    According to the Sun-Times, the clout-drenched businessman has been engaged in a stealth campaign to win back the contract, thanks to alleged assistance from Daley and company: signing in as a rep of "Gateway Partners," he showed up at a Medical District Commission meeting last week whererin labor union members lobbied for a new proposal from Higgin's venture.

    Higgins was spotted at another meeting in February for competing developers. Also in attendance: Lori Healey, CEO of Tur Partners LLC, the investment firm chaired by Daley and staffed with his sons. Healey told the paper she was there in connection to a bid from Tur, Vermillion Development Corp. and Clayco. Inc.

    The commission is expected to announce the winning bidder in July. Until then, any transparency on who's partnering with whom is off the table during a mandated "quiet period" as members review proposals.