By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
Disgusted because four aldermen have asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate his Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation, mayoral candidate Dr. Willie Wilson late Tuesday night said the spotlight should be on elected officials who give away turkeys in hopes of being elected.
To address the investigation of his foundation, Wilson held a press conference Thursday, August 9, 2018, at the Chicago Baptist Institute International, 5120 S. King Drive.
The resolution that sparked the probe was introduced by four aldermen led by Alderman Michael Scott, Jr., (24th), along with Aldermen Raymond Lopez (15), Joe Moore (49th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd).
However, on July 31, 2018, Ald. Scott filed a co-sponsor form asking to be removed as a co-sponsor of the resolution. The purpose of the resolution was to “investigate ‘cash giveaways’ by Wilson to voters.”
Madigan wrote a letter to the Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation including his board of directors, inquiring about Wilson’s July 22, 2018, cash giveaway held at the New Covenant MBC where he gave out $300,000, and on August 1, 2018 when he gave away another $100,000 by the Cook County Treasurer’s office.
Madigan has directed the board of directors to submit all meeting minutes “authorizing the distributions made from the Foundation on July 22, 2018 and August 1, 2018.”
Madigan also wants a “description of the charitable purposes of the distributions made on July 22, 2018 and August 1, 2018 and any and all documents related to the charitable purposes of the distributions.”
She also wants a schedule for all distributions made on July 22, 2018 and on August 1, 2018 including a list of distribution recipients, the amounts received by each one of them and whether the distribution was received by cash or check. Madigan is asking for copies of checks, and receipts for each cash distribution.
Madigan wants a description of how the charitable beneficiaries of the July 22 and August 1, 2018 distribution programs were chosen, including but not limited to any and all grantee criteria and a list of any and all members of selection committees.
She is asking Dr. Wilson to provide any and all related documents, including but not limited to grant applications, flyers and receipts.
Madigan wants emails, correspondence records, press releases and/or other materials of any kind relating to the distributions made at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on July 22 and August 1st.
Madigan is also asking Wilson to submit, “an accounting of the source of all funds used for such distributions, including but not limited to a list of any such individuals who contributed to the foundation between January 1, 2017 and July 22, 2018.
She also wants emails, correspondence, records, and/or other materials of any kind relating to the receipt of any and all contributions made to Wilson’s foundation between January 1, 2017 and August 1, 2018.
“I think it is a crying shame for people to be coming after me just for giving away my own money to help the poor,” Wilson said. “I gave away my own money for people in need, those who couldn’t pay their ‘suffocating’ property taxes. “They should be investigating people who give away turkeys in hopes that they will vote for them,” Wilson said.
Wilson, who has held cash giveaways for many years, said, “I think it’s a shame that they would focus on my giveaways to seniors, those who cannot pay their taxes and others who need money to pay for their medication.”
Wilson was not too happy with the four aldermen who introduced the resolution calling for an investigation of his foundation. But Maura Possley, a spokesperson for Madigan’s office told reporters, “We’re not investigating anything at this point.” She said her office discovered that Wilson’s Foundation “had not filed the necessary IRS 990 form, required of tax-exempt organizations, for 2017 with the state.”
Madigan has given Wilson a deadline of August 23, 2018 to turn in the documents.