Grassroots Collaborative and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education File Lawsuit Against City of Chicago over Cortland Chicago River TIF for Lincoln Yards Development

The filed and stamped copy of the complaint can be downloaded here: https://docdro.id/jA1dX3E

On Wednesday, April 17, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and the national Lawyers Committee on behalf of Grassroots Collaborative and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education filed a lawsuit to halt the creation of the Cortland and Chicago River TIF district and the capture of up to $1.3 billion dollars of taxpayer money. In addition, the suit argues that the City’s racially and ethnically discriminatory administration of the TIF system has disproportionately benefited areas in majority-White census tracts to the detriment of areas in majority-African American and majority-Hispanic census tracts.

You can watch the press conference announcing the litigation here. We are honored to work with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, the national Lawyers' Committee, and Grassroots Collaborative on this important next step. We will post updates and we will be using the following hashtags: #TIFequity, #TIFreform, #ReimagineChicago.

Local coverage of the press conference and the issue from One Illinois: Grassroots groups file suit against Chicago TIFs.

This is also a national issue. Coverage here from Pacific Standard: Subsidies Meant for Low-Income Communities are Paying for Luxury Developments.

Watch our board president, Brenda Delgado, and Aneel Chablani, the attorney from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, discuss the lawsuit on Chicago Newsroom here. You can also catch this program on CAN TV, channel 27, at these dates & times: Friday, April 26, 9 am & 8 pm; Saturday, April 27, 6 pm; Sunday, April 28, 9 am; and Monday, April 29, 3:30 pm.

TIF Lawsuit Press Coverage

Chicago Tribune: Lawsuit seeks to block use of up to $1.3 billion in public money on Lincoln Yards project

CBS 2 Chicago: Lawsuit Says $1.3 Billion Lincoln Yards Tax Subsidy Benefits Mostly-White Areas

WBEZ: Chicago Activists Sue City Hall Over Lincoln Yards TIF

Crain’s Chicago Business: Activists sue over Lincoln Yards TIF

Sun-TimesLawsuit filed to block $900 million subsidy for Lincoln Yards

Univision Chicago: Buscan demandar a la ciudad de Chicago por subsidio al desarrollo de Lincoln Yards

Block Club Chicago: Community Groups Sue City To Block $900 Million Lincoln Yards TIF

WGN TV: Community groups file lawsuit to stop Lincoln Yards project

Patch: Local Organizations To Sue City Over Lincoln Yards Funding Deal

Our Urban TimesLawsuit filed to stop Cortland and Chicago River TIF and more  

The Daily Line: Groups sue to block $900 million subsidy for Lincoln Yards

Curbed Chicago$1.3B in public TIF money for Lincoln Yards violates state law, claims lawsuit

The Chicago ReporterWhere will the jobs go? Next chapter in Lincoln Yards saga offers few answers

Joy Clendenning, CPS Parent & RYH Interim Executive Director, Press Conference, April 17, 2019

  • Raise Your Hand is a nonprofit organization of public school parents who have been advocating for quality public education for all children in Chicago and Illinois since 2010. Over the years, the city’s administration of the TIF system has hurt our schools and our children by siphoning off funds which should go to our public entities such as our schools.

  • Raise Your Hand’s advocacy to reform Chicago’s administration of the TIF system has included efforts to declare and release surplus TIF funds desperately needed to support public schools.

  • When faced with the mega Cortland and Chicago River TIF district, Raise Your Hand worked to educate, empower, and organize CPS parents about the inequities and impact on public education funding resulting from the creation of this mega TIF.

  • The flagrant misuse of the TIF system by the City, for the Lincoln Yards development, is just the latest in a long history of a rampant abuses. We have often called for TIF surpluses -- our only option as so many tax revenue funds were being siphoned off from taxing bodies such as Chicago Public Schools, via the creation of TIF districts in areas which were not blighted nor met the “but-for” test.

  • The City’s administration of the TIF system also has been racially and ethnically discriminatory, as hundreds of millions of tax dollars collected from taxpayers citywide have disproportionately benefited areas in majority-White census tracts to the detriment of areas in majority-African American and majority-Hispanic census tracts. As CPS parents we see this in our schools, as our schools, with a majority African-American and Hispanic student population lose access to these tax dollars as they are siphoned off to TIFs.

  • Chicago Public School parents, on the ground in their children’s schools and in their neighborhoods, bear the detrimental effect of the misuse of TIFs as we experience our under-resourced schools, libraries, and parks and especially as we witness and experience the disparate impact on Black and Brown communities throughout Chicago. We stand here today, to once again call out this racist abuse of TIF and to announce that we are filing a complaint to seek remedy for this miscarriage of justice.

Press Statement released to media after the press conference

GRASSROOTS COLLABORATIVE
637 S. DEARBORN, THIRD FLOOR CHICAGO, IL 60605

April 17th, 2019

Press Statement
For Immediate Release

Contact: Nathan Ryan 920-445-3920

nathan@grassrootscollaborative.org

Grassroots Collaborative and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education File Lawsuit Against City of Chicago over Cortland Chicago River TIF for Lincoln Yards Development

Complaint Points to Continued Misuse of TIF Program by City and to the Detriment of Black and Latinx Neighborhoods

The filed and stamped copy of the complaint can be downloaded here: https://docdro.id/jA1dX3E

CHICAGO - On Wednesday, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee and for Civil Rights and the national Lawyers' Committee on behalf of Grassroots Collaborative and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education filed a lawsuit to halt the creation of the Cortland and Chicago River TIF district and the capture of up to $1.3 billion dollars of taxpayer money. In addition, the suit argues that the City’s racially and ethnically discriminatory administration of the TIF system has disproportionately benefited areas in majority-White census tracts to the detriment of areas in majority-African American and majority-Hispanic census tracts.

“The creation of the Cortland and Chicago River TIF District for a luxury development in an affluent area of the city is a blatant example of just how off course Chicago has gone from the original intention of the TIF program. Grassroots Collaborative has been working on TIF reform for over a decade. We have seen firsthand the racial inequality that TIFs have created. Immediate action is required to bring the TIF program back in line and ensure that our property tax dollars are spent equitably,” stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. “The people are left to do what the politicians won’t.”

Joy Clendenning with Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education added, “Chicago Public School parents, on the ground in their children’s schools and in their neighborhoods, bear the detrimental effect of the misuse of TIFs as we experience our under-resourced schools, libraries, and parks and especially as we witness and experience the disparate impact on Black and Brown communities throughout Chicago. We stand ready, to once again call out this racist abuse of the TIF program, and seek legal recourse to remedy for this miscarriage of justice.”

Pastor Marshall Hatch, from the historic New Mt Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park stated, “Clearly make no mistake about it, how we deal with TIFs going forward will determine whether or not we can expect a new day in the city, or whether we can get the same old same old tale of two cities. We are misusing the spirit and the purpose of TIF funds. This lawsuit will highlight the racial underpinnings of the way TIF funds are used to disinvest in some communities and invest in others.”

Attorney Aneel Chablani, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights explained, “The complaint filed this morning is a systemic challenge to Chicago’s administration of the TIF system.  It challenges not only the creation of the Cortland and Chicago River TIF district, but the manner in which Chicago uses the TIF system to benefit areas of the city not intended by the statute and by doing so negatively affects low-income communities of color and the very neighborhoods that were intended to be aided through the use of TIF funds. This lawsuit seeks to repeal the creation of the Cortland and Chicago River TIF District, and to force the City to reform its TIF process to be fair, lawful, and nondiscriminatory.”

The filled and stamped copy of the complaint can be downloaded here: https://docdro.id/jA1dX3E

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