Chicago mayoral election: Johnson pays off unpaid city bills; Vallas under fire for Trump comment

Friday, March 31, 2023
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Donald Trump and unpaid water bills are being injected into the race for Chicago mayor.

Brandon Johnson responded to his thousands of dollars in debt to the city as Paul Vallas was called out for comments about the impeachment of former President Trump.

Chicago mayoral election: Johnson pays off unpaid city bills; Vallas under fire for Trump comment

Johnson was endorsed Friday by Martin Luther King III on the West Side block where King's father stayed in 1966 during the Civil Rights Movement.

"What would he be thinking on this day?" King III said. "I do know that if he were here he'd be supporting Brandon Johnson."

But while Johnson embraced the endorsement, he found himself answering questions about how he can manage a billion dollar Chicago budget when, according to city records, he has racked up $6,661 in fines and penalties fees from unpaid water bills since 2010,
and another $1,044 in unpaid traffic tickets.

"So my budget is intact, we were on a payment plan," Johnson said. "We'll finish paying it off before the end of the day. And I've managed multi-million dollar budgets."

The city confirmed that Johnson had paid all outstanding debts Friday afternoon.

"He always says he's managed multi-billion dollar budgets," Vallas said. "Last time I looked, is that the county commissioners don't manage anything as a county commissioner, you vote on a budget."

Brandon Johnson denies involvement to Paul Vallas signs after called out by Chicago Republican Party

Vallas was endorsed Friday by the group Black Men United as they worked with World Vision to send supplies to tornado-ravaged Mississippi.

"Hurricane Katrina, Paul Vallas was there," said Pastor John Harrell, president of Black Men United. "The crisis in Haiti, Paul Vallas was there."

But with the indictment of Donald Trump, Vallas is now under fire for comments about the former president's impeachment in a new Johnson ad.

"I always felt that it was a witch hunt," Vallas is heard saying in the ad.

"I think my opponent is grasping for straws right now and I think my response to, everybody should be held accountable, including the President of the United States," Vallas said.

Johnson greeted people outside a voting site Friday while Vallas attended a Muslim prayer service at the Downtown Islamic Center.

As of Friday, early voting numbers are slightly lower than they were four days before the February election, but the Board of Elections expects that will improve as both campaigns are focused on getting their supporters to the polls.
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