An investigation by the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with Northwestern University’s Medill Watchdog has documented how Rosemont officials pay out government cash to friends and family while extending their power across Illinois. It is a story of big building and big contracts fostered by big borrowing — one that stretches back decades and continues today as Rosemont launches yet another round of taxpayer-backed expansion.
The recession has sapped Rosemont’s village-run businesses, creating multimillion-dollar general fund shortfalls. Still, the suburb is digging itself deeper into debt to subsidize a new bar district, professional softball stadium and outlet mall. With $370 million in taxpayer-backed loans outstanding, Rosemont has one of the top debt loads in the Chicago region.
Bradley Stephens, a son of the suburb’s founder and the only other mayor Rosemont has had, said his village is on a profitable path.
Stephens makes no apology for his family, their friends and longtime business associates landing high-paying jobs or getting cuts of the multimillion-dollar government contracts he helps control.