Trustee Brad O'Halloran issued a public statement last week expressing his concern with the controversy-plagued Ninety7Fifty luxury apartment complex. O'Halloran, who initially supported the concept, said he was uncomfortable with the proposed financing which involved Orland Park taxpayers putting up almost all of the money to help the private developers make the project work.
Here is a link to O'Halloran's original letter.
A lot of Orland Park taxpayers agree with O'Halloran.
But today (Sunday Sept. 18), Trustees Patricia Gira and Ed Schussler issued their own letter. (You can read it below.) Although they defend the project, they spend a lot of time bashing O'Halloran and Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman.
When officials spend time bashing their opponents, it usually means they are weak on the issues. But it also is a good sign of who they think really has influence in Orland Park. Liz Gorman? Or Mayor Dan McLaughlin, their ally?
Their main complaints seem to be about the people rather than policy. The letter below attacks O'Halloran and Gorman. It makes an absurd claim that O'Halloran is doing Gorman's bidding in opposing the project, noting that she was instrumental in getting him appointed to the Metra Board. And, they lash out at Gorman, claiming she should be more concerned about the county taxation than the taxation in the village.
Wow. Clearly, Gira and Schussler are saying Liz Gorman is the most important political leader in Cook County and this region. Their letter also basically says that poor Mayor Dan is really nothing in all this. By attacking Gorman, Gira and Schussler are saying that Gorman better represents the taxpayers than McLaughlin. It's the only way to read the letter. Is this more about politics than economics to them? Apparently so.
Taxpayers showed at the August public hearing that they agree with the concerns that both Gorman and O'Halloran have expressed in challenging the village-mortgaged project. That was obvious from the public response made at the public hearing the village reluctantly held. (The Regional, Southtown and the Tribune Local had great coverage of that meeting.)
The most startling aspect of the Gira/Schussler letter is the admission that Orland Park taxpayers will be giving the developers the mortgage loan to build their project, and they will pay it back the way homeowners repay their mortgages. I don't know if they have noticed by nearly a quarter of the country's mortgage holders are having problems paying back their mortgages.
If there is any problem with this project, or if it fails, the taxpayers of Orland Park will be stuck holding the bill thanks to Gira, Schussler and McLaughlin.
Gira and Schussler did not point out that their ally on the board, Trustee Jim Dodge, was also appointed to the Metra board and was on it how many years? Eight? No complaints when he was on the Metra Board and the Metra service went to hell in a handbasket. Why didn't they say something then?
I think it was a poor move on Gira's and Schussler's part. That's what happens when you hire too many PR firms and have too many PR people on the village payroll.
I reached out to Gorman and O'Halloran for a response.
Here is the Gira/Schussler Letter issued today (Sunday Sept. 18):