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Mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson owes over $3,000 in unpaid city bills

Brandon Johnson owes more than $3,000 in unpaid bills, report says
Brandon Johnson owes more than $3,000 in unpaid bills, report says 02:21

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson owes the City of Chicago thousands of dollars and is far behind on paying his bills.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported Thursday, Johnson owes the city more than $3,000 in unpaid water and sewer charges.

First reported by Capitol Fax, this revelation comes just five days until Johnson faces off against Paul Vallas in the mayoral runoff election on Tuesday of next week.

City records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show Johnson owes $3,357.04 in unpaid charges after almost eight months of not paying the city. 

He finally did pay on Feb. 13, 2023 - but only $91.08. Records also confirm Johnson has entered a payment plan for his unpaid water bills, but details of that payment plan were not provided.

According to Capitol Fax, Johnson has a history of not paying his city bills. The publication reported in 2010, Johnson racked up $6,661.70 in fines and penalties. 

On top of that, city records obtained through a FOIA request show Johnson still owes $1,044.58 for unpaid traffic tickets dating back to 2014 and 2015. He and his wife also owe more than $520 in parking tickets from 2022 and 2023, most of which are now on a payment plan.

The Johnson campaign released the following statement Thursday afternoon: "Like many working and middle class Chicagoans, the Johnson household has received various fines and fees from the City of Chicago over the years. These fines and fees are on a previously established payment plan, and are on schedule to be fully resolved before Brandon Johnson takes office as our next mayor."

CBS 2's Jermont Terry also caught up with Johnson late Thursday before a WBEZ-Chicago Sun-Times mayoral candidate forum with Vallas at the University of Chicago's Logan Center.

Terry noted that for years, CBS 2 has been reporting on people who have been socked with bad water bills as part of our Getting Hosed series, and people who have been unable to pay their  bills. He asked Johnson if the unpaid bills represented an oversight, or a bill that just got out of hand.

"We're on a payment plan, just like a lot of families in the city of Chicago," Johnson said.

Terry: "To that person who might say. 'Hey, if you haven't paid this bill, how can you oversee a city like Chicago when it comes to billions and millions of dollars?'"

Johnson: "I've managed multimillion-dollar budgets as a Cook County commissioner. We pay our card note. We pay our mortgage. We pay for school supplies, and we're on a payment plan."

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