Corrupt Officials in Chicago Allowed to Trump Zoning and Planning

In a continuing investigation, the Chicago Tribune reports on the bribes and corruption that have resulted from the Chicago policy of allowing local aldermen final say -- over local zoning and planning -- on what gets built.

"Like so many Chicagoans, Walter and Alice Sopala didn't like how their alderman let a real estate developer build a new condo building that placed their home in its shadows.

And they really don't like it now that the developer-a donor to the alderman's political fund-has abandoned his three-unit project.

"They've boarded up the windows and the doors," said Alice Sopala of the building in the 2900 block of North Sacramento Avenue. "Someone even broke in and stole something, like a jacuzzi. It looks pathetic."

Neighborhoods that recently bustled with teardowns and new construction are now filled with many such unsold homes, testament to a collapsed housing boom with a unique Chicago flavor: Much of the development was fueled by campaign donations to aldermen whose power trumped citywide planning."

Full Story: House of cards emerges in zoning-change game

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