City Council's $3.7 million allowance:
How aldermen spent taxpayer money
By Hal Dardick, Ryan Mark, Joe Germuska and Brian Boyer | Tribune Staff
Aug. 15, 2009
Aldermen hired relatives, friends and campaign workers, leased automobiles and rented downtown parking spaces with money from their taxpayer-funded expense accounts, according to city databases and public records compiled by the Tribune.
The aldermen's expense allowance more than doubled in 2008 to $73,280 each from $33,280. Half of the city's 50 aldermen spent more than $70,000 of last year’s allowance. The municipal code of the City of Chicago defines appropriate uses for the allowance but allows broad discretion by the City Council members. Oversight is minimal. Aldermen are merely told to ensure that their spending is legal.
Aldermen spent $132,788 on automobile leases, $28,186 on downtown parking spots and $11,277 on bottled water. The city last year allocated up to $3.7 million for expenses; aldermen spent $3.1 million.