Chicago aldermen approve major spending deals

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(The Center Square) – The Chicago City Council has approved bond deals to fund airport expansion and downtown redevelopment.

Aldermen voted to allow Mayor Brandon Johnson to issue up to $3 billion in bonds to pay for the next round of renovation and expansion at O’Hare.

“As we continue to invest in our airports and create opportunities, we will ensure all of Chicago’s residents can benefit from these projects. It’s my vision for all of our investments,” Johnson said.

The city council also authorized $160 million in bonds to convert empty Loop office buildings into housing.

The mayor says the bond deals reflect his advice to aldermen to avoid taking disagreements personally.

“There’s so many countless examples of how we have worked together. My encouragement to the city council is to find ways in which we can work together,” Johnson said.

Chicago aldermen approved a a $50 million settlement to four men who were wrongly convicted of murder.

The city council authorized the payments to four men who spent 20 years in prison, after coerced confessions led them to be convicted of a 1995 double murder.

Mayor Johnson said these cases are a direct result of what previous administrations ignored.

“Many Black men have been falsely accused and, you know, spent their lives in prison for a crime they did not commit,” Johnson said.

34th-Ward Alderman Bill Conway said the settlement is a costly one.

“So I have significant concern on the amount here. I have no doubt as to the liability of the city,” Conway said.

Of the $50 million, $21 million will come directly from taxpayers. The remaining $29 million is covered by insurance, which is also taxpayer-funded.

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