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Chicago city library board VP profits from library construction

The Richard M. Daley Library 733 N. Kedzie Humboldt Park is among projects themployee Chicago Public Library board Vice President

The Richard M. Daley Library, 733 N. Kedzie in Humboldt Park, is among projects that employee of Chicago Public Library board Vice President Cherryl Thomas’ private business have worked on. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:05AM



A s vice president of the Chicago Public Library’s board of directors, Cherryl T. Thomas helps decide when new libraries are needed and where they are built.

And as president of Ardmore Associates LLC, the company she founded after leaving a City Hall post in the late 1990s, Thomas is paid to help oversee construction of those new library buildings, records show.

So Thomas helps oversee Chicago’s library system while her company is making money off the construction of libraries.

Asked whether that intersection of Thomas’ government duties and business interests poses a conflict of interest, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office says: “While Cherryl Thomas’ role on the library board does not involve appropriating funds for library capital projects, Cherryl has asked that an opinion be obtained from the Chicago Board of Ethics regarding this matter. The mayor’s office fully supports her request and will work with Cherryl to respond to and implement the recommendation of that opinion.”

Thomas — who served as city building commissioner under former Mayor Richard M. Daley — has been on the library board since 1999, first appointed by Daley, then reappointed last year by Emanuel.

Ardmore — which City Hall has certified as being owned and operated by a woman and a minority — is a subcontractor to the Rise Group, the clout-heavy construction-management firm that oversees all projects built by the Public Building Commission of Chicago, including all new libraries.

Among projects that Thomas’ employees have worked on: the Richard M. Daley Library in Humboldt Park.

Ardmore has eight employees working under the Rise Group’s contract with the Public Building Commission, records show, and the Rise Group bills the commission $40,300 a week for the Ardmore employees.

Separately, City Hall has paid Ardmore a total of more than $13 million as a contractor and subcontractor on more than two dozen contracts, records show.



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