JEFFERSON PARK — The 45th Ward office is moving.
A large “For Lease” sign now hangs atop Ald. Jim Gardiner’s office at 5425 W. Lawrence Ave. The alderman is moving his office to expand and have more space, staffer Erin Lach said.
A new location for the office has not been chosen yet, but they’re “exploring options,” Lach said. They are not sure if it will remain in Jefferson Park, she said. The office will remain open until a new location is found.
Mitch Causevic, the building’s landlord, said he raised rent on the alderman because of high property taxes. The new rent will be between $2,500-$3,000 a month, he said.
“I’ve been losing money, so I have to raise rent,” Causevic said. “I gave him a cheap price [for the last four years] and now I have to make it up.”
County records show taxes fluctuating in recent years: $11,658 in 2020, $12,927 in 2021 and $12,048 in 2022.
Lach said wanting to expand was the only motive to move.
The 1,700 square-foot office received new windows in 2019 with money from an alleged bribe deal from a disgruntled developer in the area who gave the alderman cash deals in exchange for delaying support of a popular Six Corners development, according to an FBI application for a search warrant investigating that developer. Those documents were made public last month.
The money is part of an ongoing investigation into Gardiner’s conduct for pay-to-play and bribery.
Gardiner has not been charged in the case. The FBI wouldn’t comment on the status of its investigation.
Gardiner and his staff have declined to comment on the investigation and court documents.
Causevic said he was interviewed by the FBI more than once about the alleged bribery and cash deals but declined to comment further. He said the investigations have nothing to do with the alderman moving out.
He hopes the office space, which used to be a medical building, will have a new tenant that is not related to politics or city government, he said. He is open to another medical office, a local business or other healthcare-related tenants.
He wants “normal people; nothing with the City,” Causevic said.
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