BOCANEGRA CATCHES CARDENAS USING CITY RESOURCES TO PROMOTE CAMPAIGN
Alberto Bocanegra, candidate for Alderman in the 12th Ward, has exposed a glaring ethics violation by his opponent, incumbent George Cardenas. Bocanegra has caught Cardenas red-handed using official City stationery – and apparently taxpayer funds – to promote his own campaign.
On December 7th, Cardenas sent out a mailing on official City Council stationery, bearing the seal of the City, inviting residents of the Ward to a “Toys for Kids Toy Give Away,” to be held Monday, December 20 from 3:00 – 6:00 at the Fatima Church, on South California Ave. A flyer promoting the event was included. (See attachments.) There was no indication on the mailer or the flyer that it was paid for by Cardenas’s campaign, and every indication that the event was being sponsored and promoted by Cardenas in his official capacity as Alderman. However, when children and their parents arrived at the church, they were not only presented with a free toy; they were also met by Cardenas and his campaign staff, handing out campaign window signs to parents. Bocanegra and several staffers personally witnessed this and have contacts with additional witnesses.
Yesterday evening, December 21st, Cardenas had a similar Toy Give Away on the North side of the Ward, at the General Robert E. Wood Boys & Girls Club on W. 25th Street. This time, Bocanegra and the campaign caught Cardenas and staff red-handed on tape. (See YouTube video, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ow0SWEoH24 .)
“This is a blatant and shameless violation of ethics,” Bocanegra declared. “Cardenas used his authority, image and funds as an Alderman to create an official event, taking advantage of the poverty and unmet needs in this Ward to draw in a crowd of deprived children and parents. He used taxpayer funds to promote his own campaign. It’s disgraceful and unethical, if not unlawful.”
Although Chief of Staff Juan Manzano is heard denying that any public funds were used to promote the event, the event was clearly promoted using City of Chicago stationery, and even invites Ward residents to contact the 12th Ward Public Service Office to register children to attend the event.
“The 12th Ward needs an Alderman who will serve his community year-round, not just make obvious pitches for votes during the campaign season. We need an Alderman who will campaign fairly and ethically, not disrespect the taxpayers and voters like this. We need an Alderman who will take the time to understand and meet his ethical obligations, not trample all over them. We have had enough with corruption in this Ward and in this City.”
Mr. Bocanegra will be filing a complaint with the Board of Ethics over this matter and will seek to have the matter referred to the State’s Attorney if the facts warrant charging Cardenas with a criminal violation.
Mr. Bocanegra will be available for interviews.