The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

'No TIFs For Rich' Demand Protesters During City Council Takeover Wednesday

 Advocates were thrown out of City Council Wednesday after chanting
Advocates were thrown out of City Council Wednesday after chanting "No Tax For the Rich."
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Organizers from various affordable housing agencies interrupted a City Council meeting Wednesday, chanting "No TIFs for the Rich!" until they were escorted out by security.

Their objective was to demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel halt Tax Increment Funding that doesn't benefit communities and insisting that he begin regulating the Chicago Housing Authority, the group said.

The interruption came as an ordinance was being introduced at City Council that would authorize Montrose Clarendon Partners, LLC to access funds from the Clarendon/Montrose Tax Increment Financing District once the money is generated.

The project is one of many that does nothing for the community, advocates said at a press conference held outside City Council.

"Groups like this have stood here before: we’ve marched, we’ve worked with progressive alderman to reign in the TIF slush fund, we’ve litigated and we’ve protested again," said Tom Tresser, organizer of the TIF Illumination Project. "Meanwhile, the mayor insists on handing priceless lakefront land to a billionaire filmmaker for a museum full of his stuff."

In 2014, the city spent $638 million in TIF funds and at the beginning of 2015, $1.4 billion remained in TIF accounts.

Tresser alleged that the funds are being used as Emanuel's "slush fund" to benefit prosperous communities and starve poor ones.

"The mayor and his friends, like Mayor Daley before him, want to turn Chicago into an overpriced theme park, where everything is done for the rich and the visitors," he said. "And the natives are reduced to sweeping up, selling soft drinks and making beds for the guests."

"Let’s put an end to this reverse Robin Hood B.S.," he said. "Chicago is not broke, it's broken."

One protester who was removed from the building said he doesn't mind interrupting the meeting because the Council "doesn't deserve...respect."

"Some of us, just a few minutes ago, may have violated the decorum of the august city council and maybe a few laws as well, but I don’t give a damn because a mayor who covers for police murder doesn’t deserve anyone's respect in this town," said Andy Thayer, a representative of the Gay Liberation Network.

The Clarendon Montrose TIF project has been a point of controversy because of the $15.8 million in TIF funds developers have requested to help finance the project, slated for the former site of Maryville Academy.

The charge to develop it comes from a limited liability company made up of JDL Development Corporation, Saxony Development, LLC, and Harlem Irving Companies, according to a press release from Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality.

Advocates argue the TIF funds should benefit the community, not private developers.

"We’re going to stop this Maryville TIF with our bodies if necessary," Thayer said. "We know that they spit on the public, they spit on the notion of transparency so we have no respect for them."

The 46th Ward has been debating proposals for the prime lake front site on Montrose Avenue for well over three years and JDL has made changes to address objections from neighborhood activists since the original proposal was submitted in October of 2012, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) has argued.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: