Daley addresses controversy over nephew

June 11, 2009 4:58:39 PM PDT
Mayor Daley says he is disappointed with his nephew whose real estate business is reportedly under federal investigation. Daley says he tried to get Robert Vanecko to drop out of a risky venture that involved city employees' pension funds but says his nephew didn't listen. Vanecko is a co-founder of DV Urban Realty Partners.

Mayor Daley said he was not aware of the deal before it happened. Vanecko quit the firm this week.

"While many of you have speculated that somehow I knew about Bob's business relationship, I did not," said Daley.

Still recovering from a bout with the flu, for the first time in nine days the mayor addressed the issue of Robert "Bob" Vanecko, who despite being Daley's nephew, was part owner of a real estate firm that used City Hall pension funds to buy property.

The mayor said he realized the potential problem as many as 18 months ago and tried unsuccessfully to get his sister's son out of the company.

"Bob made a difficult decision, a different decision, which leads to very painful string of news stories that have indeed caused tension in my family," said Daley.

Vanecko and his firm reportedly are now the targets of federal investigators who are trying to find out how the company was able to land $68 million in City Hall pension fund business.

Vanecko's partner in the venture was political insider Allison Davis, who over 20 years ago worked at the same law firm with Barack Obama and who was mentioned last year in the Tony Rezko trial as a messenger in one of the schemes for which the Rod Blagojevich fundraiser Rezko was indicted but not convicted.

"Everyone knows that perception is everything, and perception iS. And bob's decision very clearly led to the perception that rules were broken or preferential treatment were given," said Daley.

The mayor would not comment on the warehouse at 3348 South Pulaski that Vanecko and Davis bought in 2007 with some of the city pension money they manage. DV Urban Reality reportedly has leased the building to the city for nearly a half million dollars in less than two years, at least eight times more than the previous owner charged.

"I don't intend to address this matter further," Daley told reporters on Thursday.

"Everyone knows that perception is everything, and perception iS. And bob's decision very clearly led to the perception that rules were broken or preferential treatment were given," said Daley.

There were lots of other questions but the mayor would not answer and the news conference ended shortly thereafter.

One of the questions that remains is if the mayor knew of his nephew's involvement with this company 18 months ago why didn't he intervene in this lease deal? Why wasn't he paying more attention to what Bob Vanecko was up to?

Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.


Load Comments