Frimark For Friends


His mayoral campaign committee is known as “Friends for Frimark” and it has collected in the neighborhood of $100,000 for Mayor Howard Frimark since it was formed in 2004.  That’s a lot of scratch to run for an office that pays a meager $12,000 a year.

Its contributors include many well-known local businesses and service professionals who could benefit from a “friend” like Frimark in City Hall, including such notables as auto dealers Joe Bredemann and Napleton Cadillac; Realtor Owen Hayes II; restaurateur Sam Markos (Crystal Palace); accountant Dirk Ahlbeck (Ahlbeck & Company); real estate developers Bruce Adreani (and his Norwood Builders), Mark Olshansky (JMM Developments) and Tim Metropulos (TMM Development); and attorneys DiFranco & Associates, Richard Larson (Larson and Edlund) and Jack Owens (Owens, Owens & Rinn).  

So it should come as no surprise – at least to those who have watched his opportunistic political career – that Frimark would try to reciprocate.  And that would explain his lobbying for Napleton (and its fellow beneficiary of the City’s largesse, PRC Partners, which was planning to build more condos on that site) to retain the $400,000 windfall the City Council authorized back in January, when Frimark himself cast the tie-breaking vote.  

But with Napleton announcing the closing of its Cadillac dealership and with the current economic downturn appearing to have put the brakes (at least temporarily) on the planned multi-family developments at Greenwood and Northwest Hwy, Executive Office Plaza and Gateway Estates, it also comes as no surprise that Frimark would look to entertain the possibility of bailing out Napleton/PRC by adding the former Cadillac site to the City’s growing stable of possible locations for the proposed $20 Million-plus police station.

As reported in last week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, Frimark plans to talk to Napleton in a couple of weeks about that possibility.  And doing his part is Frimark’s 5th Ward Alderpuppet, Robert Ryan, who wants the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to push forward with the planning process for the new cop shop – even as the announced closing of Napleton Cadillac already has the City scrambling to figure out how to replace Napleton’s $200,000 in annual tax revenue, as well as coping with an even bigger dent in the City’s revenues that could result if Lutheran General’s appeal of its property taxes is successful. 

And bailing out Napleton/PRC by having the City buy the old Napleton site and carry it on the taxpayers’ dime until the economy recovers and it becomes more attractive and affordable to a private developer like PRC is in keeping with Frimark’s let’s-make-a-deal-with-the-taxpayers’-money style, as evidenced by his recent demand that the City get a new appraisal for the 720 Garden property – the previous flavor of the month site for the cop shop – because the first one was too low!   

As we’ve said before, the City needs a renovated and improved police station to remedy the inadequacies of the current facility.  But the proposed new Taj Mahal-ish cop shop is a luxury that is as unaffordable as it is unnecessary: We’d rather see that money spent on training, equipment and compensation for the police officers instead of on excessive brick and mortar. 

But because his friends were there for Frimark, it looks like Frimark intends to be there for his friends.  Too bad those friends don’t include the majority of Park Ridge taxpayers.

5 comments so far

I should not be surprised at the lengths to which Howard Frimark has gone for his friends and for Napleton especially, but I am.

I just can’t believe he would turn his back on the people of Park Ridge like this and ignore how strongly people feel about this give away.

He probably only ran for Alerman and Mayor just for his own needs and wants.

Considering he’s a 36 year PR residents, I’m glad he didn’t run sooner.

What portion of the property on which Lutheran General pays real estate taxes is it appealing?

I would be surprised if the state did appeal any of this tax given Lisa Madigan’s current push for hospitals to be held accountable for their tax exemption and actually provide charity care at a certain percentage of the hospital’s assets. LGH has a huge asset value base and does not provide much charity care-reduced rates based on insurance contracts and free seminars to the public on topics like weight loss, smoking cessation and estate planning should not count as charity care as the hospital executives would want you to believe.

Do you have a site where I could read more on this request for tax abatement or what the timeline is for this appeal to be heard?

Thanks for the information

To begin a general search of parcels owned by Lutheran General Hospital, you can review the online tools provided by the Cook County Assessor’s Office at:

The Cook County Assessor operates under a general schedule called the triennial reassessment, but each year there is a specific schedule for each township, allowing for the opening and closing dates for filing complaints. You would have to call the local Assessor’s Office to get that schedule.

You can also view property record cards for every property in Cook County. Last we checked, those records are kept on the 3 1/2 floor — yes, there really is a 3 1/2 floor — in the Cook County building in downtown Chicago.

The State does not get involved with county-level tax assessment complaints, particularly for individual parcels. The State’s interest is in determining if a tax-exempt entity is meeting the State’s requirements.

Yeah, I could see the City holding the Napleton site like it did Bredemann’s – until PRC or some other Friend of Frimark calls in its marker and Howard and the Council does its thing.

Just another day in Pleasantville.

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