CHICAGO (CBS) — We have discovered what appears to be a pattern – three people, with three different businesses on the South Side, are all encountering the same problem with their alderman.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, they say the alderman is basically telling them it’s his way or the highway – and that was when Ald. Greg Mitchell (7th) was even communicating with them.
The entrepreneurs say instead of supporting economic development, he is killing it.
With 500 supportive signatures on her petition, Yolanda Kemp’s daycare center is still stuck in construction limbo. The only thing stopping her is a letter from Ald. Greg Mitchell allowing street access to the private parking lot.
“What I heard back from him was, no. He doesn’t support a daycare center coming here, and that was after thousands of dollars had been invested,” Kemp said.
The petition was not considered for her request.
“Every day I’m here, I have a parent walking past asking when is the place opening,” she said.
Kemp says Mitchell is now refusing to return her calls. Out of desperation, she hired mediator Jocilyn Floyd to try and help resolve any issues. She’s running into the same roadblock.
“He has not returned my calls, emails,” Floyd said.
And this seems to be a pattern for Ald. Mitchell, who’s also refusing to give access letters to two other would-be business owners in a ward full of empty storefronts and buildings.
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“He has created a hardship for me and my husband,” said business owner Lori Shelby-Conley.
Conley bought an 11 year-vacant property to open an alcohol-free cigar lounge. She says Mitchell told her he wanted an Ace Hardware or nail salon instead before ghosting her completely.
“All I’m trying to do is bring some economic development to an area that I’m invested in. And he’s not giving me that opportunity,” Conley said.
In July 2020, Desaree and Marlon Wexler reached out to CBS 2’s Kozlov after Mitchell refused to give them an alley access letter to open an events center in a building they also own, before ghosting them too.
“He said my vision is not his vision,” Desaree said.
It cost the three women hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined costs and lost revenue.
‘He’s unfit, and he’s proving that.” Floyd said.
Floyd says she’s done trying to talk to Mitchell. she’s taken her concerns to the city and inspector general.
“It’s disheartening to know that in this day and age, Black women don’t have the respect of a Black alderman to support our businesses in this community,” Floyd said.
Alderman Mitchell said there were ongoing issues with the daycare and has declined to respond.