A couple of new things to report on the situation with Pete’s Fresh Market.
As most readers know, the story has now made the local papers and WGN TV News. Here’s what’s new — and what you won’t read in those papers:
My original story stated that “the ring-leader of the group of thugs who showed up at Pete’s is known acquaintance of Ald. Burnett’s chief of staff.” I’ve now been told that may or may not be correct. There was some confusion as to who exactly it was from Ald. Burnett’s office.
What we now know is that it was Ald. Burnett’s assistant chief of staff who was actually on-site and fully participated in the shakedown. There is a rumor that one of the construction workers actually captured the event on video with his/her cell phone. It is for this reason that Ald. Burnett has had to come out and acknowledge that his staff was there.
Local community organization HOW United has announced that they will be having a community meeting to discuss the situation with Pete’s.
announces a public meeting on
PETE’S FRESH MARKET
October 03, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:00PM
St. Malachy Church
2248 West Washington Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60612
Everyone who cares about removing corruption from the system should plan to attend. A packed house will show the rest of the world that at least there are some people who will stand up to corrupt politicians.
“If we don’t work then nobody work.”
Dude on camera telling the world he’s going to shut-down construction.
This is insanity.
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.
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.
Reliable sources inform me that Pete’s and people from the city are sitting down and trying to work out a deal to restart construction.
Reliable sources also have confirmed the facts of the original post.
If any readers have stories of problems with any politicians please contact me privately with that information. We have been abused by our elected officials for far too long. Criminal elected officials are the reason why the West Side does not have the retail and other amenities of other neighborhoods.
It’s immoral, unethical, and just plain sad that the poor, who needs the most help, are the most abused.
Rumors are swirling that a community meeting may be held one day next week. Please visit again for further information.
UPDATE: This topic updated 09/25/2012 here.
Shakedown in Chicago is commonplace. It’s not just at Pete’s.