Alderman Joe “Proco” Moreno | Courtesy of Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (https://www.aldermanmoreno.com/)
A Chicago alderman used his position to threaten and then take action against a Chicago firefighter who refused to rent out space he owned to the alderman's preferred tenants, according to a Project Six investigation.
The group says First Ward Alderman Joe “Proco” Moreno punished Brian Strauss, the owner of 1572 N. Milwaukee, with zoning changes and daily inspections after his refusal to rent the space to the Double Door music hall, which was later revealed to be a political donors to Moreno.
The probe suggests that Strauss has faced more than $3.5 million in lost revenue since three developers abandoned negotiations after learning of the situation. Strauss also lost thousands of dollars worth of rental revenue.
Moreover, the zoning changes caused Strauss’ building’s worth to fall from $10 million to $6.5 million.
Strauss has filed a federal lawsuit against Moreno, which could cost taxpayers millions of dollars by collecting damages from the city following the violation of his rights due to the alderman’s actions.
Faisal Khan, CEO of Project Six, reiterated in a statement that the actions of Moreno should be cause for alarm among the citizens of Chicago.
“Alderman Moreno has abused his power and title and Chicagoans should not accept this behavior, either professionally or personally,” Khan said in the statement. “Aldermen do not get to bully and intimidate constituents, and they certainly have no authority to dictate who a business owner rents to, or how he operates his business.”
Khan also refuted Moreno’s claim that his conduct was just a manifestation of his desire to keep “fighting for his constituents.” He further urged the people to seek ways to put an end to the abuse and reminded the public that no official must be granted the power to “usurp Chicagoans’ basic rights.”