Tag: Greg Hinz

Crain’s: Seaway Bank’s New Owners Will Preserve Its Name, Say Deposits are Safe | But Who to Blame for the Failure?

Seaway Bank Draped in Purple

Seaway Bank & Trusts’ Maywood branch. Chicago’s largest black-owned bank failed earlier this year. | File

Monday, February 13, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

A Feb. 4 Crain’s Chicago Business report caught up with Sushil Patel, the president of State Bank of Texas, which now owns the now-defunct Seaway Bank & Trust, once the state’s largest black-owned bank.

Patel told Crain’s reporter Steve Daniels that he knows he isn’t a blank bank, but that should be of secondary importance to depositors.

“I’m not a black bank,” Patel, whose bank is owned by Indian-Americans, told Daniels. “I’m not a white bank, but I’m definitely not a black bank.”

“Banking is still banking,” Patel said. “I respect the idea of depositors wanting to put money into a bank that will put money back into that community.”

“To that end,” Daniels reported, “the Patel family, which owns State Bank of Texas, will preserve the Seaway name for the 10 Seaway branches in the Chicago area and Milwaukee. State Bank of Texas’ one other branch in Chicago, on Devon Avenue, will continue with that name.”

Now with Seaway out of the picture, the Chicago area’s only remaining black-owned bank, Illinois Service Federal, is looking to seize the moment.

“Those who want to bank black have a place they can do that in Chicago,” ISF Executive Vice President Monica Thomas told Daniels.

Crain’s Greg Hinz investigates institutional homicide

In a Feb. 10 article, Crain’s columnist Greg Hinz put on his detective’s hat and began sniffing out the main suspects responsible for Seaway’s demise:

“As in an Agatha Christie mystery, there are a lot of perpetrators in its demise,” Hinz wrote. “But in the end, no one with the wherewithal in Chicago cared enough to intervene, not City Hall or anyone in the city’s still substantial black business community. And Chicago is left with a stinking corpse.”

For a list of perpetrators, read Hinz’s full article here. Read Daniels’ full article here.

Don’t forget First Suburban National 

While journalists conduct a postmortem of black-owned Seaway, let the locals not forget the death of the local bank, First Suburban National, in 2010. First Suburban had served Maywood since 1943.

You can read Crain’s coverage of Seaway’s takeover of First Suburban seven years ago here.

So, remember, this isn’t  just a story of the demise of black-owned business. It’s also a story, told over and over again, of the demise of the small business that prioritizes the interests of a particular community over those of dispersed, atomized investors. VFP

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This November, Voters to Decide on Whether to Keep the Cook County Recorder’s Office

Karen Yarbrough Photo

Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough. The Cook County Board of Commissioners has approved a measure that would allow voters to decide on whether or not the county should fold the office into the clerk’s office. 

Friday, June 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free || UPDATED: 6:25 p.m.

At a June 29 regular meeting, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 10-5 to attempt to do something that, in Illinois, is almost unthinkable — consolidate two government bodies into one, a move that proponents of the merger say will save taxpayers money and enhance services.

The board’s vote allows the referendum question of whether or not the recorder of deeds office should be submerged within the county clerk’s office, currently occupied by David Orr, to be put on the Nov. 8 ballot for voters to decide on the issue.

The mere discussion of consolidating the recorder’s office prompted Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), who voted against the measure — all five negative votes came from African-American board members — to channel the voice of his constituents, who he said believe the measure “is an all-out attack on black elected officials.”

“It’s Dorothy Brown last month,” Boykin said, referencing a failed attempt by Commissioner Peter Silvestri (9th) to make the Circuit Court clerk’s office an appointed post, “and it’s Karen Yarbrough this month, and they happen to be two black women officeholders.”

Boykin, whose district includes Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview, Melrose Park and other western suburbs, was elected with the support of Yarbrough — who, in her role as Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman, endorsed the first-term commissioner in his 2015 bid for the county board seat.

The commissioner’s comments prompted Commissioner John Fritchey (12th), who sponsored the measure, to push-back by touting his legislative record.

“I will put my record on work I’ve done in the African-American community against almost anybody — white, brown or black,” Fritchey was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune. “This is about reforming government.”

But even the Tribune had to point out the racial reverberations of Fritchey’s legislation, with the paper noting that an African-American has held the recorder’s office since 1988, when it was filled by Carol Moseley Braun, who was succeeded by Jesse White.

And the recorder’s office isn’t “the only office that has been viewed as belonging to someone of a certain color or race,” the Tribune notes. “The County Board presidency now held by [Preckwinkle] is considered by many Cook County Democrats to be a ‘black seat,’ and the city treasurer’s office viewed much the same way.

“The city clerk’s office has been occupied by Latinos for years, while the county clerk’s office has long been held by whites, including Orr, who applauded the referendum.”

Since 1999, the recorder’s seat has been occupied by a Maywoodian. Eugene Moore held the seat until 2012, when he retired. Yarbrough was elected his successor and is likely to coast to another term.

If voters approve the referendum question, which is binding, the recorder’s office will be consolidated into the clerk’s office by 2020.

Preckwinkle and other county board members who support the consolidation claim that it could translate into enhanced administrative efficiency and cost-savings of at least $800,000 a year. The clerk’s and recorder’s offices are both responsible for maintaining records and administering aspects of the property tax.

The clerk handles birth and death certificates, and the county’s legislative records; calculates property tax rates; facilitates suburban elections. The recorder maintains records of property ownership, real estate transfer taxes and tax liens, according to the Tribune. According to Greg Hinz of Crain’s, the clerk’s office has a $35 million budget while the recorder’s office has a $13 million budget.

Yarbrough’s office disputes the potential cost-savings of the merger that’s touted by its supporters. And the recorder defended her job performance, particularly in the areas of mortgage fraud prevention and office automation.

“My goal was to be the best recorder in the country,” Yarbrough said at the June 29 meeting. “And in the short term, I can boast and say I have.”

Hinz paraphrased Fritchey, who noted that the county’s attempt to eliminate the recorder’s office is the first time that it has attempted to do away with a government body since 1972, when the county coroner, an elected office, was turned into the medical examiner, an appointed office.

The Tribune noted that, “Most commissioners expect voters to approve the measure, something even Deputy Recorder Cedric Giles, an ardent defender of the boss, all but conceded even as he questioned the motives of those who would have the voters make the final call on the issue.”

Cook County, however, isn’t the only one making unprecedented attempts to consolidate governments. According to a July 1 Tribune report, DuPage County is looking to consolidate its clerk’s office and Election Commission. VFP

Correction: A previous version of this post included the wrong date of the Nov. 8, 2016 election. This post has since been updated. 

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Congressman Counters Retirement Rumors

Congressman Danny K Davis

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Danny Davis also says he won’t endorse Boykin for U.S. Senate until the commissioner formally declares

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) is trying to dispel widespread rumors that he’s going to retire soon.

A recent article by Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz hinted at the possibility of Davis retiring before the end of the year. Hinz also speculated that Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st), Davis’s protégé and former chief of staff, might be using his exploration of a U.S. Senate run to distract from his actual intention — replacing his old boss.

“Obviously, establishing a campaign committee, raising money and hiring staff now would give Boykin a huge advantage if Davis pulled out late this fall and Boykin switched his aspirations from the Senate to the House,” Hinz wrote in an Aug. 8 column.

But at a press conference held Wednesday morning to highlight legislation to increase opportunities for non-violent ex-offenders, Davis responded directly to Hinz’s article.

“People are reporting that I might retire. Well, I might die in the morning, too,” Davis said light-heartedly. “I think that different politicians have been talking that talk and spreading the notion around that I might retire. They think that would create an opportunity for them to do whatever they want to do.”

Chicago Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the congressional seat should Davis retire. And Frederick Collins, a relatively unknown Chicago police officer who ran for mayor this year, has announced that he’ll run. However, it isn’t clear whether Collins intends to run against Davis in the Democratic primary or as a Republican in the general election. In 2012, Collins unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for Illinois’s 1st Congressional District.

While Davis told Hinz that he is, in fact, running for re-election; the 18-year congressional veteran seemed to hedge somewhat when talking about the retirement rumors after this morning’s press conference.

“But even if I was to retire, it wouldn’t help [the politicians who may be eyeing his seat] none, because I’d still be involved in politics and the people who follow my lead on political things would still do that,” Dais said. “But, no I’m not getting ready to retire.”

Davis referenced his intense schedule as proof, noting that he’s in the middle of a marathon of town hall meetings throughout his district.

“As a matter of fact, I just did a town hall event last night,” Davis said. “I did one the night before last in Berwyn. … I got some scheduled in [Chicago’s] 15th Ward, 16th Ward, 20th Ward, 24th Ward … That does not sound like retirement to me.”

On Boykin’s Senate exploration, Davis said he’s taking a wait-and-see stance. This month, Boykin announced that he would launch a 30-person advisory committee and listening tour throughout the state to gauge voter sentiment about a possible Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate — a seat currently held by his friend Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican. Boykin has said he’ll make a formal decision on whether or not to run in September.

“I’m not involved in [Boykin’s] exploration,” Davis said. “He is my friend and colleague and we communicate. But I have told him I won’t make an endorsement until after he makes his decision. When he makes his decision, that’s when I’ll make mine.” VFP

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