It’s been an interesting mayoral election contest, to say the least. Quite a few topics have been covered in various forums and media, including possible links of the Mayor’s tile and flooring business to a project he’s supported on the dais, and of course the proposed 5th Avenue development. We don’t recall CBS2 news coverage of an issue in previous Naperville mayoral contests, so perhaps we’ve broken new ground this time around.
We’ve previously noted Mayor Chirico’s three versions of whether or not Great Western Flooring was the floor and tile vendor for Central Park Place, the development at the site of the Old Nichols Library which, in his own words, he “carried the flag on.”
Those versions of events are:
March 13, 2019, to the CBS2 Investigative Team: “We have not bid that job, nor do we intend to bid that job.”
March 14, 2019, again to the CBS2 Investigative Team: “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.”
March 16, 2019, on Mayor Chirico’s campaign Facebook page: “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.”
On March 18, 2019, in response to a question from a Naperville resident and after Mayor Chirico posted the above on Facebook, CBS2 posted the entire March 14th interview
on its website.
The version Mayor Chirico posted on his Facebook page on March 16th is never mentioned in that March 14th interview.
The proposed 5th Avenue project has been asked and discussed quite a few times in this mayoral contest. We’ve also previously noted the “process” used by the City of Naperville to select the developer chosen for the 5th Avenue project, a development near the train station involving over 13 acres of publicly owned land:
A committee (“The Committee”) of ten “community leaders” was personally selected by Mayor Chirico to review RFQ’s. The Committee of ten included four who were also on the Board of Directors (“Board”) or Executive Committee of the Naperville Development Partnership (“NDP”), a public-private partnership which receives over 90% of its funding from the City of Naperville. Mayor Chirico and City Manager Doug Krieger are also on the Board and Executive Committee, respectively, of the NDP.
The Committee chose to proceed with Ryan Companies US, Inc. (“Ryan”) on a non-competitive basis. As currently structured, no other developers will compete with Ryan on economic terms on the sale or lease of up to 13 acres of land to Ryan. The two current concepts have hundreds of residential, commercial and retail units, with a potential development of up to $300 million.
The Naperville representative of Ryan, Jim McDonald, is also on the Executive Committee of the NDP.
In a Mayoral Candidate Forum on March 4, 2019, a question was posed to the candidates regarding the economic well-being of the City and the quality of life of its residents, and how does the candidate see that balance being achieved with the 5th Avenue development project.
Rocky Caylor answered first. Mayor Chirico’s turn to answer:
What was that? What did the Mayor/owner of Great Western Flooring say?
“So, uh, 5th Avenue flooring, that’s the reason we’re here folks…”
You heard the question. How does the Mayor’s response begin with “5th Avenue flooring, that’s the reason we’re here folks…”? (Mayor’s full response to the questions here.)
We’re not psychologists or psychoanalysts. Sounds like a Freudian slip, but only Mayor Chirico knows was he thinking. His words, though, are pretty clear, and an unusual way to start a response to that question.
We have to wonder, what would cause Mayor Chirico, who owns Great Western Flooring, to begin his answer to a question about the proposed 5th Avenue development with “So, uh, 5th Avenue flooring, that’s the reason we’re here folks…”
The reason we're here?
What could he have been thinking about?
Compiled by Mike Marek