| by Project Six

CHICAGO – An investigation released today by Project Six shows how Chicago elected officials allowed major portions of city-owned buildings to be put on lien to a private bank to finance an energy upgrade project that ended up wasting millions of tax dollars.

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former President Bill Clinton unveiled a new program that promised to revolutionize how Chicago would fund city construction projects. The program, called the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, is a private nonprofit organization funded partially by tax dollars. The trust was intended to find private financing for city construction and building upgrade projects. Its first major project, called Retrofit One, was retrofitting city buildings with energy-efficient equipment and systems.

An investigation by Project Six into Retrofit One shows how major parts of city-owned buildings were used as collateral for a private loan to fund the project. Project Six’s investigation also found millions of tax dollars being wasted on labor and overhead costs for work that easily could have been done by existing city maintenance employees.

Details on the Project Six investigation, titled “Dark Trust: How Chicago’s mayor put city buildings in financial limbo and wasted millions of tax dollars” include:

“This is yet another frustrating example of Chicago’s elected officials wasting tax dollars for political talking points,” said Faisal Khan, CEO of Project Six. “The mayor promised revolutionary changes to the city when he created the Infrastructure Trust, but the program devolved into projects that have put major parts of city buildings in hock.

“Trying to make Chicago energy efficient is a laudable goal, but spending millions to change light bulbs and put down weather-stripping is wasteful spending and offensive for taxpayers who are forced to pay the bill,” Khan said. “The evidence shows that Retrofit One was a project that wasted tax dollars and the Infrastructure Trust purposefully kept taxpayers in the dark. Chicagoans deserve better, and mistakes like we’ve seen with the Infrastructure Trust should not be tolerated by our elected officials.”

Executive Summary is available here

The full report is available here

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For bookings or interviews:

Nathaniel Hamilton, nhamilton@thesecretsix.com or (312) 618-6238

Project Six is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to investigating and ending government corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Working with residents, Project Six hopes to make Illinois’ elected officials work for taxpayers and voters, not for the politically connected or corrupt. Anyone interested in learning more about Project Six or submitting a tip to Project Six investigators should call (888) 366-2569 or visit thesecretsix.com.