Lucy Parsons Labs says Mayor’s Refusal to Disclose Specifics on Huge Pledge of Taxpayer Money Violates Freedom of Information Act.
CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—February 1, 2018
By: Freddy Martinez
February 1, 2018 – Chicago – The Lucy Parsons Labs, today announced a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Chicago Mayor’s Office seeking full records of the city’s proposal to be selected as the site of Amazon’s second headquarters.
The lawsuit seeks a full disclosure of information about the non-public bid from the Office of the Mayor on behalf of the City of Chicago to entice Amazon to build their second headquarters in Chicago. This lawsuit is partially in response to reports that indicated the City offered Amazon reduced taxation of nearly $1.32 Billion, which would divert its workers’ taxes to be paid directly to Amazon.
Lucy Parsons Labs, a non-profit focused on government transparency, believes such tax measures would divert funds intended to be used for vital public resources into the hands of corporate financiers and offshore tax havens. Lucy Parsons Labs is represented by Matt Topic and Josh Burday of the Chicago law firm Loevy and Loevy.
“Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago have a history of secretive dealings that put Chicagoans on the hook for millions and potentially billions of dollars” said Executive Director, Freddy Martinez. “The dreadful parking meter deal was rushed through with similar secrecy, with the result that Chicago taxpayers are facing a decades-long hangover thanks to this corporate giveaway.”
“Instead of taxing massive corporations, we are seeing the chronic defunding of schools, mental health clinics, and other essential services. This corporate welfare cannot be allowed to proceed in secret and we intend to expose it.”
A copy of the FOIA suit can be found here.
Lucy Parsons Labs has previously filed a FOIA request for the proposal, as well as communications within the Mayor’s Office. A copy of the FOIA request can be found online. The City only released a few pages to Lucy Parsons Labs, keeping the majority of the documents secret. This lawsuit seeks the full proposal and was filed today in the Cook County Chancery Court.
About Lucy Parsons Labs
Lucy Parsons Labs is a charitable Chicago-based collaboration between data scientists, transparency activists, artists, & technologists that sheds light on the intersection of digital rights and on-the-streets issues. Lucy Parsons Labs has previously collaborated with the Chicago Reader to expose how Chicago law enforcement agencies use civil asset forfeiture to collect nearly $72 million in cash and assets. Previous FOIA lawsuits by the Lucy Parsons Labs uncovered the use of invasive Stingray surveillance technology by the Chicago Police Department.
Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country. A previous Loevy & Loevy FOIA suit with Lucy Parsons Labs helped uncover Chicago police use of invasive Stingray surveillance technology without warrants, and the law firm was also responsible for helping force the release of the infamous dashcam video showing the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.