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Maxwell Street Malfeasance

Prior to a March 24 town hall meeting about the state of the New Maxwell Street Market, ardent market advocate Steve Balkin, a Roosevelt University professor, issued a statement proclaiming that the the market "has been killed off by City Hall and aldermanic indifference, ineptness, and ignorance."

At the town jall, the vendors had their say, accusing contracted workers of acting "in a disrespectful, harassing manner toward them, leaving vendors worried about getting hefty fines written for small infractions," according to a Chicago Journal report.

"[I]t was the repeated invocations of poor treatment from Jam and its subcontractors that caught some of the aldermen's attention."


After the town hall, Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) wrote this letter - obtained by the Beachwood Reporter - to Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Ald. Manny Flores (1st) and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Special Events Megan McDonald. Fioretti, Flores, and Burnett sit on the city council's special events committee.


March 29, 2009

Honorable. Walter Burnett, Jr.
Alderman, 27th Ward
City Hall, Room 203
121 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Re: March 24, 2009 Town Hall Meeting with Maxwell Street Market Vendors

Dear Ald. Burnett:

I share your concern about the serious allegations raised on Tuesday, March 24, by licensed Maxwell Street Market vendors about wrongdoing and mismanagement by contracted manager Jam Productions, subcontracted security S3 Inc., Dept. of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (the former Dept. of Consumer Affairs) employees and Mayor's Office of Special Events employees. In order to further investigate the allegations and eliminate all negative and illegal conditions, I recommend that you call the principles of Jam Productions and S3 Inc. and the related City staff managers before a hearing of the Special Events Committee as soon as possible. Furthermore, the nature of the allegations voiced in regards to graft, bullying, threats, intimidation and discrimination may warrant referral to other agencies for further investigation and, possibly, prosecution.

It is paramount that we work together toward a timely response to the vendors legitimate complaints and a quick resolution to the many, many issues raised. The market's peak season will be here very soon and the devoted vendors deserve the opportunity to work in a professional and inclusive environment immediately. The vendors were eloquent in their descriptions of proposed solutions and many of them have graciously offered their assistance toward planning better market management and the layout of spaces, parking and traffic flow.

You have my full support in responding to the vendors and effecting positive change in the management and execution of the historic Maxwell Street Market. Let's return it to its position as a positive bargain shopping experience for residents, tourists and vendors alike.


Bob Fioretti
Alderman, 2nd Ward

CC: Ald. Manny Flores
Megan McDonald


See also:
* The Maxwell Street Muddle


Posted on April 1, 2009

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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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