Pete’s — 09/25/12 Update

The Sun-Times joins the discussion:

The West Side is one of Chicago’s “food deserts,” so named because it lacks full-service grocery stores. Cheers went up from people in the neighborhood when the city sealed a deal two years ago to bring one to Madison and Western.

Pete’s Fresh Market, a South Side-based chain, got the authority to buy city-owned land at the southeast corner and build there. It was hung up in the city bureaucracy for a while, and work on the site, a half-mile from the United Center, finally started this month.

That’s when real trouble started. Two weeks ago, according to Pete’s attorney and other sources, a large group of people arrived at the construction site and threatened the crews. One person allegedly showed a gun.

The grocer’s lawyer, Endy Zemenides, said it was a clear shakedown. “What I would characterize as professional agitators stormed the site and made some very open threats to our construction crew,” he said.

via Sun-Times.

Quick Update:

Something fishy about Ald. Burnett’s story here.

Burnett said he had a staff member on site for one of the incidents because Pete’s called and requested his help. While Burnett backs the development, he said he’s deferring to Fioretti on matters pertaining to the city.

His staff was on site b/c Pete’s asked for help. That makes no sense whatsoever. Pete’s would call the police; how could Ald. Burnett’s guy get there before the police? And Ald. Fioretti was dealing with Pete’s for years… if they needed help they would have called Fioretti’s office, not Burnett’s.

I’m guessing that Burnett’s guy was there as part of the shakedown crew. I’m curious if there’s video of this event on someone’s cell phone. That would be something. Assist in telling what really happened and why Ald. Burnett’s guy was really there.

I will not hold my breath for all those who said I was lying to apologize.