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Seller of Michael Reese Hospital had to make millions in ‘charitable contributions’ — to City Hall

Michael Reese Hospital 2929 S. Ellis before demoliti2009. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times files

Michael Reese Hospital, 2929 S. Ellis, before demolition in 2009. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times files

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Updated: December 26, 2013 6:08AM

When Mayor Richard M. Daley agreed to pay $91 million for the Michael Reese Hospital property, he required the sellers to make $32.5 million in “charitable contributions.”

The charity turned out to be City Hall.

The city is still owed some of that money from the Mills family, financial and political supporters of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The family started with a $20 million donation to the Daley administration, which turned the money over to another government agency, the Public Building Commission of Chicago, to hire contractors to demolish the hospital and clean up the property. More than $1.3 million was spent on overhead — $117,000 to pay commission employees and $1.2 million to the Rise Group, a politically connected company that has a contract to oversee all of the commission’s contracts. The president of the Rise Group is Jack Hartman, a former city official under Daley.

The Mills family made another charitable donation — of $7.5 million — to City Hall three months before Daley left office. The Daley adminisration used that money to cover day-to-day city operating expenses, rather than more cleanup, according to Emanuel’s staff.

The Mills family has to make two more contributions — $2.5 million next year and another $2.5 million in 2015. Emanuel’s staff says that money will be used for environmental cleanup work on the former hospital property.

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