McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC, a specialized lobbyist firm had been hired by Des Plaines to block gaming expansion proposals in Illinois and also by Rockford, which is pushing for an expansion in gambling. The conflict of interest became a serious issue and as a result, the company decided to drop its contract with Des Plaines.
The company has an outstanding invoice of $2,100 for the services rendered to Des Plaines but a number of aldermen have been opposed to clearing the final invoice as they believe the firm has not been very professional in delivering what it promised to do. The Aldermen will make a final decision on the issue during their next meeting.
Rockford hired McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC in 2009 to help it with its expansion plans and Des Plaines hired the firm in 2012 to help with curtailing the expansion of casino expansions. There was no conflict of interested highlighted, until Sixth Ward Alderman Malcolm Chester looked into the Des Plaines’ lobbyist services and needs and realized what was happening. In a statement, Chester said, “I made a stink about it and said, ‘we can’t let this go on’.
The Aldermen believe that it is completely unfair to clear out the outstanding invoice of McGuireWoods Consulting considering the fact that they haven’t really delivered on what they promised to do. Des Plaines had entered into a number of different contracts with McGuireWoods over the last couple of years. The first contract was an annual contract, then amended into a half yearly contract and finally changed into a monthly contract before McGuireWoods decided to back out. The city has so far paid McGuireWoods a total of $81,300 and the final invoice of $2,100 is what is currently being debated.
The senior vice president for McGuireWoods, Michael Cassidy has aggressively lobbied on behalf of Rockford for gaming expansion. The firm received $10,000 per month for its services and hence preferred to work with Rockford and drop Des Plaines.
Michael Bartholomew, the City Manager confirmed that Des Plaines had also hired other lobbyist firms and consultants during the past few years. The city has also used the services of a firm known as the Government Consulting Services of Illinois and paid out a total of $53,000 during the last five years. The city also employs a lobbyist Alfred Ronan to act as a consultant and has paid him over $285,000 so far along with an additional $1,000 a month to Frank Cortese who works with the Government Consulting Services of Illinois.