Volunteers clean up 7th Ward with South Shore building owner who houses hundreds of migrants

Christopher Amatore says 7th Ward Alderman Greg Mitchell threatened him over housing asylum-seekers in vacant apartments

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Volunteers clean up 7th Ward with building owner who houses migrants
Christopher Amatore lead a South Shore cleanup on Tuesday. He says 7th Ward Alderman Greg Mitchell threatened him over housing Chicago migrants.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some blocks in the 7th Ward got an early spring cleanup on Tuesday.

Dozens of people picked up trash at the request of South Shore building owner Christopher Amatore. He offered a flat fee for anyone who helped.

"At the end of the day, I think it's a beautiful thing. We are cleaning up the neighborhood," Amatore said.

Rob Reed, a nearby resident, was glad to see the improvements.

"They did a good job. You all did a good job keep up the good work," Reed said.

Amatore is former Chicago firefighter turned real estate investor who took in nearly 500 Venezuelans to vacant apartments in 15 of his buildings. He also said he spent thousands of dollars of his own money to get the migrants food. At least two of buildings are in Alderman Greg Mitchell's 7th Ward.

Amatore claims that at a meeting last week, Mitchell threatened Amatore with taking away a city contract and his wellbeing for housing the migrants without the alderman's approval.

Amatore said he filed a complaint about the incident with the Chicago Office of Inspector General.

"I was in complete disbelief sitting in Alderman Mitchell's office. I was like, 'What?!'" Amatore said.

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The OIG's office can't confirm or deny a complaint.

Mitchell has not responded to phone calls, emails or visits to his ward office by ABC7 in the last five days.

"Literally, I'm in the alderman's office and how about we talk about what we can do instead of talking about what's already happened and all the negatives about it?" Amatore said.

In the meantime, Amatore said he is not housing any more migrants, and is now focused on the cleanup on Tuesday and on helping those already in his buildings.

"I just want to help the children, the people who need help. I believe we are all God's souls, and I don't see the color of skin when it comes to helping someone. That's the God's honest truth," Amatore said.

Amatore said he is hiring a Spanish-speaking social worker to help his new tenants get services and on the road toward stability and independence.