Flossmoor Trustee Resigns So He Can Keep Lobbying Chicago City Hall

(Manne1409 / Pixabay)(Manne1409 / Pixabay)

A Flossmoor village trustee resigned from his elected position as a ban blocking elected officials from outside Chicago from lobbying city officials went into effect, Flossmoor officials announced Thursday.

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Gyata Kimmons, the only city lobbyist affected by the new law, said in a statement released by Flossmoor officials that he had no choice but to resign after members of the Chicago City Council’s Ethics and Government Oversight Committee unanimously rejected a proposal from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to ease the ban on Oct. 13, allowing the measure passed 48-0 in December to stand.

Lightfoot’s proposal would have allowed elected officials from jurisdictions to lobby Chicago officials as long as “the public body that the elected official represents has no pending or recurring legislative or contractual matters involving the city.”

Lightfoot said the ban, as adopted by the City Council, had “unintended consequences.”

Kimmons said he was disappointed to be leaving before his term ended.

“A portion of my business deals with lobbying on behalf of clients in the city of Chicago, therefore, this ordinance forces a choice between my business and my service to our community,” Kimmons said.

Mayor Paul Braun said he and the Flossmoor Village Board were “extremely disappointed” that Kimmons resigned his seat. Kimmons was elected in April 2019. Braun will appoint a replacement who will serve until April 2021, when the next election is scheduled.

“Trustee Kimmons has done an excellent job as trustee during his short period on the Village Board,” Braun said in a statement.

The unanimous vote by the City Council in December came two months after former state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) was arrested and charged with bribery. Federal prosecutors alleged that Arroyo offered a state senator, later identified as former state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, a bribe to carry legislation that would legalize sweepstakes machines. Before his arrest, Arroyo was registered as a Chicago lobbyist and the sweepstakes firm was one of his clients. Arroyo has pleaded not guilty.

The same law also bans aldermen from working as lobbyists and bans state lawmakers and those elected to Cook County office from lobbying at City Hall.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that Kimmons lobbied Lightfoot directly via email on behalf of Unibail‐Rodamco‐Westfield, a real estate company that represents tenants at O’Hare International Airport, after she proposed changing the law to exempt him but before the City Council acted.

The city is being sued over the ban by Dan Johnson, member of the Wilmette Library Board of Trustees who also works as a state lobbyist. His lawsuit alleges the ban violates the First Amendment.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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