1st Ward candidates divided over campaign contribution

Evanston First Ward challenger Edward Tivador (left) called incumbent Ald. Judy Fiske's demand to return a $1,000 donation

Manuel Rapada/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston First Ward challenger Edward Tivador (left) called incumbent Ald. Judy Fiske's demand to return a $1,000 donation "completely unwarranted" on Saturday. The donation comes from Dawn Overend, a partner on a zoning application that could reach the City Council.

Jia You, City Editor

Evanston 1st Ward challenger Edward Tivador is standing by a campaign contribution incumbent Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said is “clearly improper” and should be returned.

On Friday, Fiske criticized Tivador for accepting a $1,000 donation from Dawn Overend, who is listed as a partner on a zoning application that could come before the City Council. Patriot Park LLC, a firm led by billionaire James N. Pritzker, has asked Evanston officials to ease zoning restrictions so it can turn a historic home into a bed-and-breakfast near the lakefront.

“I don’t know what my opponent was thinking,” Fiske said in a news release. “It is clearly improper to seek or receive gifts from someone whose pending project will require City Council approval.”

After a campaign event Saturday afternoon, Tivador told The Daily that Fiske’s claim is “completely unwarranted.” In a separate interview about an hour later, Tivador said he was aware of Overend’s dealings with the city but denied any misconduct.

“There is absolutely zero impropriety connected to that donation,” Tivador said. “We received support from a diverse set of 1st Ward residents … Frankly, I’m very proud of that and I won’t apologize for assembling a large group of diverse supporters.”

Fiske also called on Tivador to disclose his donors on his campaign website. On her own campaign website, Fiske released her donors who have given $150 or more.

Tivador said on Monday he will disclose the information by this weekend.

“It’s not like it’s a big deal,” he said. “All of that information is public.”

Several attempts to reach Overend were unsuccessful over the weekend and Monday.

The planned five-room bed-and-breakfast at 1622 Forest Place, if approved, would be Pritzker’s second bed-and-breakfast in the city. In 2011, the City Council approved a permit application by Evergreen Manor, a company primarily owned by Pritzker, to open a bed-and-breakfast at 300 Church St., next to Pritzker’s home. The city’s zoning board had originally denied the permit, citing concerns that the billionaire himself would not live in the property, violating the city’s rule for owners to occupy bed-and-breakfast businesses. The City Council reversed the decision in November, modifying the city ordinance instead.

The new bed-and-breakfast business got the go-ahead from the site plan and appearance review committee March 20. A public hearing is scheduled for this evening before the zoning board.

Early voting for the April 9 elections began Monday, and Tivador rallied several supporters Saturday afternoon to cast his ballot at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. The early voting period ends April 6.

— Jia You

This post has been updated with further information about the planned bed-and-breakfast.