Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson hands out more cash to property taxpayers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson gave away more than $100,000 Wednesday, but not everyone was happy about that.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform filed a complaint against Wilson.

It was a chaotic scene as dozens of people lined up in the County Building Wednesday morning to collect $500 each from Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson to help pay their increasing property taxes.

"It went up about $600, so this is a godsend to me," said recipient Isaac Brown.

"This will cut it in half," said recipient John Searcy. "It's a blessing because last year, I wasn't able to pay them"

RELATED: Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson hands out cash at South Side event

This follows a cash giveaway over a week ago when he gave out over $200,000 at an event where Governor Bruce Rauner attended. Even though the money comes from the nonprofit Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation, Rauner strongly criticized Wilson for giving away cash as a mayoral candidate.

"This is not a political situation," Wilson said. "We've been doing this for this past 10, 15, 20 years."

As he was getting his shoes shined after Wednesday's event, Wilson continued to defend his longstanding record of philanthropy.

"If there ain't no laws broke, I'm going to continue to do it," he said.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, known as ICPR, says it is legal for candidates to give out cash. However, the group is filing a complaint with the state against Wilson for violating campaign disclosure laws.

ICPR Director Mary Miro said Wilson's giveaway money should be disclosed as an in kind donation to his campaign.

"We believe this is an issue and raises a red flag if a candidate is giving money out from his foundation, but doing and promoting it through his campaign Facebook page and through his campaign spokesperson," Miro said.

Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot called the Wilson giveaway a blatant attempt the buy votes.

"I definitely will give Willie Wilson a vote," Searcy said.

"I'm going to make my kids vote for him, I'm going to make my grandkids vote for him, all my nephews, all my grandnephews and I'm going to buy the gas to take them to the polls," said another recipient.

Every person ABC7 interviewed who received the $500 from the Willie Wilson Foundation Wednesday said they plan to vote for Wilson. But, they say he had their vote before the cash giveaway.

In a written statement calling the giveaway an attempt at buying votes, Lori Lightfoot is calling on the Board of Elections to put a stop to it.
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