Gutierrez Loan From Developer Draws Scrutiny

Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez "personally lobbied Mayor Richard Daley to back a controversial multimillion-dollar development for a campaign contributor who had just lent the congressman $200,000 in a real estate deal," according to the Chicago Tribune (h/t talkingpointsmemo.com).

The loan, and a letter that Gutierrez sent to Daley on behalf of developer Calvin Boender, have drawn the attention of "federal authorities," according to the Tribune.

"Now the congressman's unusual gesture of support is under federal scrutiny as authorities investigate how developers overcame city planners' objections to convert the West Side industrial site into a more profitable residential and commercial development," the Tribune reported.

"Authorities have obtained Gutierrez's July 7, 2004, letter to Daley—written on U.S. House stationery—as part of their grand jury investigation into how zoning works inside City Hall, sources told the Tribune.

Gutierrez said there is no connection between the loan and his letter of support for the Galewood Yards project, which is not in his district. In a written statement, the congressman said his involvement was 'extremely minimal' and 'entirely appropriate.'"

Boender and his associated have donated more than $40,000 to Gutierrez's campaign.

 
"Gutierrez sent the letter of support after buying a vacant lot from Boender at 1007 W. Fulton St. with the help of a $200,000 loan from him. The congressman provided the Tribune with bank documents stating he repaid the loan at an above-market interest rate," the newspaper said.