lllinois Review has obtained documents that raise questions about a northwest suburban hotel owner's 2008 in-kind contributions to Democrat State Rep. Paul Froehlich.
On a printout of a Cook County Board of Review decision (right - click to enlarge), a handwritten memo dated July 8, 2008 describes a conversation between the writer and a "Bimal", possibly the Comfort Suites Inn -Schaumburg owner Bimal Dositi, listed at the top of the report.
Noting how Dositi would save $284,013 over three years after the '07 property taxes on his Comfort Suites were appealed and lowered, the hand-written memo states: "I asked Bimal -- and he agreed -- to cover my sign bill ($12 K) and provide xxrooms for workers both in '08 and in '10."
Rep. Froehlich denies he expected anything in return, although Illinois State Board of Elections' records indicate Dositi's Comfort Suites Inn donated to his 2008 House re-election campaign.
"I have never asked for any fee or campaign contribution in return for my assistance and I never will," the former Schaumburg Township assessor told Illinois Review. "I have always held myself to the highest ethical standards, treat each and every constituent in the same manner, and give all district residents the same level of service."
On State Board of Elections campaign disclosure, Froehlich's campaign committee - "Friends for Froehlich" - lists four in-kind contributions from Comfort Suites Inn at 1100 East Higgins Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173. According the the ISBE website, Froehlich is the only recipient of campaign donations from the Schaumburg Comfort Suites Inn.
One in-kind contribution for $11,873 was written to Buffalo Grove sign-maker Cramarc on Froehlich's behalf. The second was for $2,250 worth of "lodging" at the Schaumburg Comfort Suites, also on Froehlich's behalf. The contributions were listed as being received just after the 2008 General Election, on November 6 and 7, respectively.
Earlier in February 2008, following the Democratic party primary, Comfort Suites Inn listed two other in-kind contributions to Froehlich's campaign: $1,881 for staff lodging and $2,359.66 for lawn signs.
(See excerpt of "Friends of Froehlich" campaign report to the Illinois State Board of Elections' website below)
During my years as an elected official, I have helped many hundreds of local residents appeal their unfair property tax assessments and have helped many constituents save money on their property taxes. Last year, for example, I provided assistance to more than 200 homeowners, 85% of whom were successful in their appeals and had their assessments reduced.My experience as a former township assessor and as a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer has enabled me to guide my constituents in filling out forms and walking them through the process that is necessary to appeal their property taxes. I have never gone beyond those actions for any constituent and do not have a vote in any property tax case. All I can offer local residents is advice. I have never asked for any fee or campaign contribution in return for my assistance and I never will. I have always held myself to the highest ethical standards, treat each and every constituent in the same manner, and give all district residents the same level of service.The individuals in question have been supporters of mine for a number of years. In fact, I knew them before they even opened their hotel and long before they ever contributed to my campaign. I was there for the groundbreaking ceremony when they began construction and for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the day they opened. Their contributions to my campaign reflect their desire to keep in office someone who provides all of his constituents a high level of service and who helps taxpayers cut through bureaucratic red tape.
Related stories in the Friends of Froehlich series