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A 2013 food drive to feed the needy appears to have become a form of vote buying with some of the most powerful politicians in Illinois in attendance.

On December 7, 2013, Chade Foundation held its third annual Sharing the Holiday Spirit food drive, though in fact, all the food which was given out that day had been bought and paid for prior to do that date.

Billed as a food giveaway to the needy during the holiday, the event had a peculiar set up because the food was arranged by wards, making it appear as though each of the aldermen was responsible for the food the needy got.

The Illinois statute defines vote buying this way: “Any person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote or to register to vote or to influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.”

While Rebel Pundit found no evidence of any over quid pro quo, because the food was clearly given away by the wards and their aldermen, this should be viewed as a form of implicit vote buying.

According to Stephen Jon, the press person for Chade Foundation, the food was bought prior to the event by the foundation.

A second peculiarity of the event was that the fourth ward, where Alderman Will Burns, who attended the event received far more food than any other ward.

Besides Burns, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who doubles as the fourth ward committee woman, made the initial speech and also attended the event.

Preckwinkle Jesse White

(Preckwinkle, far right, with Secretary of State Jesse White to her immediate right, and Kim and his wife on the far left)

“For many years the Chade Foundation has provided holiday dinners to churches, police districts, and elected officials to distribute to needy families during the holidays.” Said Burns in a statement to Rebel Pundit. “Many needy families reach out to our office to ask for assistance and we are happy to help – as we do with school supplies, employment opportunities, housing and healthcare service.”

“(F)rom what I gather the 4th Ward is the largest Ward that we support.” Said Jon of the reason why the 4th Ward received far more food than any other ward.

But the fourth ward received more than twice as much as any other ward, and while wards vary in size, they don’t vary to that great an extent.

A third political attendee was Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, meaning politicians from the city, county, and state levels all attended the event.

With all that political power in one room that makes the founder of Chade Foundation that much more troubling: Jung Koo Kim.

Until 2004, Kim was a shareholder and board member of Foster Bank. In 2004, he was forced to leave in disgrace when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) singled him out as part of their investigation into Foster Bank’s systemic violations of the Anti-Secrecy Act, (see previous Rebel Pundit story) which included routinely ignoring transactions which should have been flagged for potential money laundering.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a removal and prohibition order against Jong Koo Kim, a former director of The Foster Bank, Chicago, IL.

Kim consented to the order without admitting or denying culpability. The FDIC’s action is based on allegations that Kim structured the cash purchase of cashier’s checks from the bank to avoid reporting and recordkeeping requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.

“We stand behind the integrity of our food drive and our founder.” Said Jon.

Chade Foundation is affiliated with a series of for profit companies in the hair care and beauty supplies field: Chade Fashions, Bee Sales, and Chicago Beauty Schools, all owned by Kim or his family.

At the event, signs for many of these for profit businesses were visible on the walls and representatives could be seen discussing the products with those who attended, though Jon said no sales were made.

“We did not sell our products or give out our material to people at the event. We did have signs up for our company and another company that helped support the event, but we did not use the event to drum up business for us.”

Jon added that the beauty supply companies are wholesalers, and not fit to make sales to individuals, though Chicago Beauty Schools provides classes to individuals.

Karen Vaughn, spokesperson for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, didn’t respond to an email for comment for this story.

Rebel Pundit confirmed that a formal complaint was filed with the Cook County Inspector General’s Office against President Preckwinkle in regard to her attendance at this event in the summer 2014.


One Response

  1. Richard

    These companies “Beauty Schools Inc.” and “Pivot Pount Intl.” market to students who get massive amounts of federal aid to attend their schools.


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