Central Park Place, the development at the site of the Old Nichols Library, which Mayor Chirico, in his own words, “carried the flag on”, has been in the news lately. The CBS2 Investigative Team ran a story on Thursday, March 14th. They initially talked to Mayor Chirico on Wednesday, March 13th, asking if Great Western Flooring, the tile and flooring company owned by Mayor Chirico, has been involved as the flooring and tile vendor for Central Park Place, the development on the site of the Old Nichols Library.
Mayor Chirico to CBS2 on Wednesday, March 13th:
Pretty clear, “We have not bid that job, nor do we intend to bid that job.”
Per CBS2, later that same day:
Seems they did bid that job. “We have sent them a proposal with pricing, and we’re now waiting for them to make up their mind on what direction they’re going to go.”
The entire CBS2 story from Thursday, March 14th can be found here .
The mayor has often stated that he is no longer active in the business, and that Great Western Flooring is run by his daughters. CBS2 reported that when they interviewed Mayor Chirico again on Thursday, March 14th, his daughter, acting President, was in the room. It would seem at that point, given a full day since the first interview and with the acting President in the room, the status of the business with Central Park Place, if any, should be clear.
On Saturday, March 16th, Mayor Chirico posted the following on his campaign Facebook page:
So, the story changed again between the 14th, with the acting President in the room, and the 16th.
So three versions of events from Mayor Chirico in a matter of days. The sequence goes from “We have not bid that job…” to “we have sent them a proposal with pricing…” to “We did not submit a bid for the Central Park project. One of the Central Park home buyers reached out to us for a quote for a product we carry.”
Each version is distinctly different than the previous version, so if the new version is true the previous version was false. That doesn’t mean the latest version is true, though.
CBS2 ran a follow-up story on Monday, March 18th, stating that they had received questions from residents regarding the most recent story from Mayor Chirico. CBS2 published on their website the entire interview. The latest story of Mayor Chirico’s, about the individual buyer reaching out for a quote, is never mentioned in that interview.
At the Naperville City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 19th, an attorney representing a resident who was out of town read a statement from the resident, stating that the resident had been at the sales office for Central Park Place on Saturday, March 9th (statement video available here). During the visit, the agent mentioned the various sub-contractors which the development had negotiated agreements with, including Great Western Flooring as the tile and flooring contractor. The agent jotted the name of several of the sub-contractors on a sheet of paper, including Great Western Flooring.
The following day, the resident followed up with an email asking the agent to confirm the subcontractors. The agent replied to the email listing the subcontractors. Great Western Flooring was listed as the provider of the tile and flooring. The agent also wrote the following: “You can make any upgrades you want, while not limited to these vendors we have negotiated with them, so the budgets we have for what’s included will not go as far starting with a new vendor for a single unit. Each supplier has extensive options so you should be able to find the right fit within them”
Also at the March 19th City Council meeting, the developer, Dwight Avram, the Central Park Place developer, and his attorney, Paul Mitchell, answered questions from and spoke with Mayor Chirico. Mr. Mitchell stated “We have a preferred contractor, Empire, for floor covering.” Mr. Mitchell went on to explain that bids were obtained from Empire to calculate an allowance for flooring, but that customers were free to use any vendor they wished. Mr. Avram stated that his companies have never done business with Great Western Flooring (statement video available here).
So there are three different versions of events from Mayor Chirico.
There is the developer and his attorney on the project which Mayor Chirico, in his own words, “carried the flag on” there to back up the Mayor’s non-involvement in the project.
Then there are the documents from the exclusive agent for the developer, pre-dating Mayor Chirico's different versions of events, clearly listing Great Western Flooring as the subcontractor providing the flooring and tile for the project. Many of the other subcontractors listed on the email are also listed on the website for the project.
We have to ask:
Where would the agent get the information that Great Western Flooring was the flooring and tile subcontractor?
Why would that agent state that if it wasn’t true?
How would the agent get that subcontractor wrong, while listing others which are consistent with the project website?
Why three versions of events from Mayor Chirico?
Where is the truth, and who has an incentive to not tell the truth?
We’ve presented facts, and asked questions.
The voters of Naperville should answer those questions.
Side note: As stated in the About Us section of our website, we have been active in supporting candidates we believe will listen to the residents of Naperville, and actively opposing incumbents we believe do not. Naperchange was formed as a result of a group of resident’s dissatisfaction with their elected officials regarding an incompatible housing development replacing and located next to single family homes. Some of us have supported, worked for and contributed to candidates at the City, County and State levels, including donations. We’ve received criticism for that. If a private citizen contributing to a political campaign is a conflict, then how is it not a conflict for the Mayor to be taking political contributions from developers and attorneys which will appear before him asking for variances and approvals?
It is no secret we are not supporters of Mayor Chirico, and that we do not agree with many of his policies and actions. We strongly disagreed with the Mayor’s conduct regarding the residents on the above referenced development, and have disagreed with him on many issues since, including several incompatible developments and the “process” used in selecting Ryan Co for the 5th Avenue development project. In our opinion, the tables have been tilted much too strongly in favor of the developers, at the expense of the residents.
We have been pointing out actions of his that we disagree with for over 2 and ½ years. If that makes us biased, then we’re guilty as charged. We are not, and never have been, associated with the campaign of the mayor’s opponent, Rocky Caylor.
- Written by Mike Marek