Evanston aldermanic candidates report having raised anything from just over $1,000 to more than $15,000 to run their election campaigns this year.

The extremes can be seen in the 5th and 6th wards.

Two business executives fighting to represent the 6th Ward have loaned sizable sums to their own campaigns. Christopher Hart has loaned his campaign $12,731, while raising $2,385 in contributions. Mark Sloane has loaned his campaign $4,957 while raising just $800 in contributions.

By contrast, Mark Tendam has reported $2,200 in contributions and no loans to his campaign to become 6th Ward alderman.

In the 5th Ward, incumbent Delores Holmes gave $1,000 to her own campaign and raised another $1,772 in contributions too small to itemize. Challenger Adrian Dortch raised $1,018, all from family members.

The second most expensive aldermanic race appears to be in the 1st Ward, where incumbent Cheryl Wollin has raised a total of $9,150 — including a last-minute contribution of $1,250 from Future Evanston, a business-oriented special interest group.

Wollin also received $500 from the Evanston Firefighters Association and over $5,000 in contributions of less than $150 each from various individuals.

Challenger Judy Fiske has raised just under $5,000 for her effort to replace Wollin, including itemized contributions from a number of frequent critics of downtown development projects.

In the 9th Ward Coleen Burrus reports having raised $7,080 — including a last-minute contribution of $1,250 from Future Evanston.

Burrus, a member of the Plan Commission, has also received contributions of $50 to $100 from Larry Widmayer, an associate member of the Plan Commission who frequently disagreed with Burrus on issues surrounding the downtown plan, and from Alderman Melissa Wynne, running unopposed for re-election in the 3rd Ward, and two retiring aldermen, Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, and Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward.

The other two 9th Ward candidates, Mimi Peterson and Michael Drennan, have no campaign disclosure reports on file. That’s legal for candidates who raise or spend less than $3,000.

In the 7th Ward, Jane Grover is the top fundraiser, having accumulated $6,115 for her campaign, while John Zbesko has raised $1,780.

Seven people have made contributions topping the $150 itemized reporting threshhold to Grover and at least three of them appear to be relatives living out of state. Zbesko has reported only two contributions over the $150 level. The third 7th ward candidate, Kevin O’Connor, hasn’t filed financial disclosure reports.

The 4th Ward race has been a low-budget affair, with Howard Hartenstein reporting he’s raised and spent about $1,400 and Elliot Dudnik and Donald Wilson not filing financial disclosure reports.

In the race for township assessor, Bonnie Wilson, an activist with the Democratic Party of Evanston, has raised $5,420 in contributions and loaned the campaign $323 herself.

She’s received $1,000 contributions from U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s campaign committee and from the committee of State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, as well as smaller contributions from Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Alderman Steve Bernstein and the Evanston Firefighters Association.

The incumbent assessor, Sharon Eckersall, hasn’t filed campaign disclosure reports.

Full campaign finance reports are available online from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Fiske campaign
    The other day, I went to Whole Foods to buy some soy milk and organic Cocoa Puffs (part of living healthier). As I walked out the door, I was greeted by a NIMBY campaigning for Judy Fiske.

    I didn’t want to give away my identity, to I pretended be sympathetic. She explained that Wollin supported the Tower, which would block this NIMBY’s view and make it harder for her to sell her condo. I said that I didn’t like the Tower either. (Mr. Who Knows – the Master of Disguises – was able to pass himself of as a NIMBY.)

    Now my sources tell me that Fiske’s people have gone around in some of the downtown condos distributing material in the hallways (this is known as trespassing – it is against the association rules, and not covered by the 1st Amendment).

    Fiske’s material includes a letter from a guy..let’s call him ‘Hank’.. who lives in Sherman Plaza and is concerned that “new development projects will temporarily turn downtown into a retail ghost town and permanently destroy its small-town character”. Hank of Sherman Plaza is also concerned about property values. (Of course..it’s always about money with the NIMBYs..all the ‘character’ and ‘charm’ stuff is a smokescreen)

    Am I the only one who thinks it is ridiculous for people in Sherman Plaza to play the ‘small-town character’ card? Isn’t it silly for people in Sherman Plaza to complain about too many downtown condos?

    I don’t know which variety of the species Nimbius suburbis is the most annoying: the type who buy houses next to the airport/railroad tracks/Northwestern and then complain about the noise/trains/students? Or the ‘close the door behind me’ variety, who buy homes in new housing developments or condos..and then complain when a new housing development or condo pops up across the street.

    1. Fiske Campaign
      Mr Who Knows,

      All I can say is “who knows now”? Great to have your insightful and interesting spin on local politics, especially as Judy Fiske is the new alderman for the first ward, and by an overwhelming margin! Again, I say, “who knows now”?

      1. The Tower will be built
        “All I can say is “who knows now”? Great to have your insightful and interesting spin on local politics, especially as Judy Fiske is the new alderman for the first ward, and by an overwhelming margin! Again, I say, “who knows now”?”

        There is fortunately nothing that she can do to stop the Tower.

        Hank of Sherman Plaza needs to realize that he does not have a legal right to a view out of his window, and the City of Evanston has no legal duty to protect Hank’s view.

        I live near the train tracks. I wonder if my new alderman, Judy Fiske, would consider shutting down the CTA and Metra between 10pm and 6:30am, because the noise bothers me.

      2. I found Fiske’s campaigning to be a bit questionable too
        I too was approached by a young woman distributing Fiske campaign literature a few days ago outside Peet’s coffee shop. She was proclaiming that “we’re trying to get Judy Fiske elected so we can stop the tower”.

        Really? I thought it was already approved? What a strange campaign promise to make.

        I’m curious to know how Judy Fiske plans to stop the tower.

        1. Campaign questions?
          Gee! Questionable campaigns? What about the DPOE and those letters to the faithful?

          Too bad NU did not offer any inducements. Must be grim times with their endowment down — no housing points, no celebratory post election dinners.

          Ms Fiske does not have to do much to stop the Tower, approved or not. Its “economics” will do that, especially all the TIF money from nowhere and the great housing market.

          Perhaps Mr. Who Knows What? can get the Cocoa Puffs Foundation to purchase the property and give it to NU(tax exempt of course) so he can continue his scholarly work on No Present Value, or is it No Future Value?

  2. The “out of state relative”
    I am one of the “relatives living out of state” who contributed money to Jane Grover’s campaign for the 7th Ward Alderman seat. I’m her younger brother (a point I’ve begun to stress in recent years) and I live in Decatur, GA. I helped Jane and her husband Bill move into their home with their new baby more than a decade ago, and watched as my sister worked to make her adopted hometown a better place through her public service. Over the years I have spent my fair share of weekends sleeping on the fold-out couch in the living room on Prairie Ave., attended a good number of my nephews’ baseball games in and around Evanston, commuted on Metra with my brother-in-law when business brought me to Chicago, and enjoyed fall weekends when Michigan played Northwestern (one year Michigan actually lost). I feel a little invested in Evanston’s future – people I love live there. So I proudly gave about $300 to her campaign. Whether she wins or loses, it was a great investment. Thanks!

  3. O’Connor Doesn’t Take Any Donations, Reform Campaign $ Laws

    I’m sorry I thought you knew that I accept no donations of any amount from anyone. I didn’t even take offers of food on my “Historic” Listening Tour Of 7th Ward Businesses. To see the results of that tour please go to http://www.centralstreetneighbors.com and click on the Kevin O’Connor blog.

    As for this update of financial disclosure forms Bill, I’m sorry it didn’t come out sooner for the aldermanic candidates. Isn’t there anyone out there that doesn’t believe campaign finance laws should be in place, with real teeth? The mess in Washington, Wall Street, Springfield, Chicago and yes even Evanston has much to do with the pay to play culture. Patrick Fitzgerald can’t clean up everything on his own, all citizens should stand up and demand an end to this corruption, instead of nodding, winking and saying it’s always been this way.

    Kevin O’Connor
    7th Ward Aldermanic Candidate

  4. Not all downtown residents are against the tower
    Yes, I received a Fiske letter via slip-it-under-the-condo-door delivery, and I resented the intrusion. Someone in the building even marked up the election day elevator signs so we’d all know which aldercandidate was pro-Tower and which anti-Tower. It would be a mistake to assume that everyone living in the vicinity of the Tower site is against it. I for one want Evanston to survive and thrive, not wither on the vine in the name of retro village mentality. I can put up with construction and maybe even a diminution of my view if it means Evanston has a chance to get back on track.

    1. Hank from Sherman Plaza
      “Yes, I received a Fiske letter via slip-it-under-the-condo-door delivery, and I resented the intrusion”

      Yes, it is an intrusion. Who distributed these pamphlets under the doors?

      If you are a resident of my building, then you are obnoxious and disrespectul to your neighbors and in violation of the Association rules. If you are not resident of my building, then what were doing in my building? We have security to keep solicitors out.

      I wonder if Fiske or Hank from Sherman Plaza, author of the propaganda sheet, authorized or participated in the distribution of these pamphlets. Did Fiske authorize an illegal entry into the Historic Who Residence? What did Fiske know, and when did she know it?

      Were these distributed under the doors at Sherman Plaza, where Hank lives?

      If so, my guess is that this is against the Association rules – and someone should report Hank.

      If Hank obeyed the rules for his residence, but disregarded the rules at other peoples’ residences , then it shows a typical NIMBY arrogance and selfishness.

      I wonder if Hank would mind if I stuff some leaflets under his door. Or how would Fiske feel if I illegally broke into the Willard House ( where Fiske and Mimi serve on the board) and distributed pamphlets.

      1. Did the Fiske spam violate campaign laws?
        I too am concerned about the legality of the Fiske letter under my condo door, and about whether Ms. Fiske herself knew of these tactics. I go BEYOND concerned over the fact the letter was in an envelope with my name (my full name, mind you, not just what my friends call me) and unit number on it. How were lists procured for this distribution? Is my private information available to just anybody who wants to manipulate votes?

        I also received, via USPS last month, an invitation to a Fiske coffee on the 23rd floor of my building. Again, my full name and unit number were used. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Fiske supporter. I resent the unconscionable, self-absorbed spam tactics.

        1. Appointment of an Independent Special Prosecutor
          There are many unanswered questions here . Why won’t Fiske and Hank of Sherman Plaza explain how those pamphlets got placed under our doors? Was there an illegal break-in to the condo buildings? Was this authorized by the Fiske campaign? Enquiring Minds want to know.

          This situation calls for the appointment of an Independent Special Prosecutor to investigate the scandal. It should be someone who has a legal background, is well respected in Evanston, familiar with election procedures ,and not a NIMBY.

          Are you there, Stuart?

        2. Registered Voter Information
          Kit – As a registered voter in Cook County, all of your information can be obtained by anyone who walks in off of the street at Cook County’s Election Department in downtown Chicago. They can give the information in printed or electronic form. This information contains your name, street address, past elections you voted in, etc.

          1. Good to know, but . . .
            Is it then also OK to put together communications supporting a particular candidate FOR WHOM I NEVER HAVE VOTED IN PAST ELECTIONS and deliver them right to the door of my security-system-and-doorman-protected condo?

      2. Campaign letters
        I also live in a condo building and received a letter from Alderman Ann Rainey, extolling the virtues of Cheryl Wollin. How did they get here, especially as Alderman Rainey does not live in this building or the ward! In addition, Illinois Condominium Act does allow campaign literature to be placed under doors. Lastly, names and addresses are available from the poll sheets from previous elections and are a matter of public record. So let’s all get over this–Judy Fiske was elected fair and square because she and out campaigned Wollin! End of story!

      3. Literature
        Just a few comments:

        Campaign literature can be mailed via USPS as names and addresses are derived from voter registration lists. Freedom of Information Act allows for this.

        Campaign literature can be put under doors in condo buildings according to Illinois Condominium Act.

        This was also done by the Wollin campaign via a letter sent by Ann Rainey( alderman of another ward. Neither Wollin or Rainey live in my building.

        No one “broke” into any buildings and in all probability were given permission by owners.

        What about the annoying barrage of e-mails sent by the Democratic Party supporting various candidates.

        At the end of the day, campaigns were waged, a fair election was held and one candidate was elected by an overwhelming margin of condo and non-condo voters who felt they were not represented by the incumbent alderman.

        1. Illinois Condo Act
          I have no problem with anyone sending things by USPS, and I know that voter lists are publicly available.

          As for the statement:”Campaign literature can be put under doors in condo buildings according to Illinois Condominium Act.” – please give me the relevant section.

          I quickly looked over the Act this morning, and didn’t see anything, except maybe the following:

          “However, no rule or regulation may impair any rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Section 4 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution including, but not limited to, the free exercise of religion, nor may any rules or regulations conflict with the provisions of this Act or the condominium instruments. No rule or regulation shall prohibit any reasonable accommodation for religious practices, including the attachment of religiously mandated objects to the front?door area of a condominium unit.
          (765 ILCS 605/18.4) (from Ch. 30, par. 318.4)

          I don’t think that this allows distributing leaflets under doors – especially if we prohibit ALL leaflets under doors. ( First Amendment rights would also not permit people to carry on conversations in the common hallways at night.)

          More importantly, no such rights would apply to a nonresident. If a nonresident entered my building to distribute these materials, that is trespassing not covered by the First Amendment or Illinois Condo Act.

          There are unanswered questions here, and Enqiring Minds want to know. We need a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Fiske Campaign and other criminal entities such as the CSNA.

          1. Leaflets
            I have been reading various comments over the last few days, regarding campaign literature. I also live in a condo building where literature was put under my door. However, I did find out that it was put there by various owners of my building. I, like some others also received a letter( under my door) from Ann Rainey on behalf of Alderman Wollin. I do know that neither Alderman Rainey or former Alderman Wollin live in my building so I am perplexed as how they got there. As far as the Illinois Condo Act, I do know that while it addresses many areas, condo boards can impose their own restrictions( or not). However, at the end of the day, a call for investigation is ridiculous as one candidate won and one lost–end of story.

          2. Watergate
            ” However, at the end of the day, a call for investigation is ridiculous as one candidate won and one lost–end of story.”

            No, it is not ridiculous. President Nixon defeated Senator McGovern by a wide margin in 1972, and would have won regardless of the actions of the Watergate burglars. Still, after the election as the facts came out, it was clear that an investigation was necessary.

            Enquiring minds want to know if the Fiske campaign was authorizing people to illegally sneak past security into the condos to distribute the propaganda.

            Why won’t the Fiske people just come out with clear explanations? It looks like a cover up.

            It also raises questions about Fiske’s agenda. We know that she is a NIMBY who doesn’t care much for property rights. Her campaign leaflet, written by Hank of Sherman Plaza, mentions ‘small-town character and livability’. Does ‘small-town character’ mean that Judy Fiske’s agents can barge into your home whenever they feel like it?

          3. Elections
            I am a resident of Sherman Plaza and moved in at the end of 2006. Up until this year, I really did not know much about Evanston politics, and never attended a City Council meeting. However, as the campaign season began, I decided to learn about the candidates, especially as I did not even know who my alderman was. The more I read( on web sites)and in various pieces of literature I received, it became apparent that I would vote for Judy Fiske. Now, as I live on a lower floor with no view of the proposed building at 708 Church Steet, my vote was not because of that issue. I learned that Judy Fiske would be inclusive, would hold regular ward wide meetings( something Alderman Wollin did not), would be responsive to issues in her ward, and was well versed on a variety of issues. I also attended a few forums and debates and found that Alderman Wollin was very evasive when answering questions and did not come across as a person that I would want handling complex issues in my ward.

            In addition, I have never posted any e-mails on this site, but after reading all of the negative articles( breaking into buildings, vote pandering, etc.), I felt I had to send this, especially as my vote for Judy Fiske had nothing to do with 708 Church Street. I might also add, that when I received a letter under my door, signed by people in the building that I respect, along with a large list of other people in my building that were Judy Fiske supporters, I felt I was making the proper decision.

            It is now time for the residents in the first ward to give Judy Fiske a chance!

            Thank you.

  5. Well letting people know
    Well letting people know where Cheryl stood on the tower with fliers was necessary because the average resident in the first ward did not know she was for it all along every step of the way and they also thought it had been defeated a long time ago. To tell them that Judy might stop it and in fact Cheryl certainly had done everything in her power to put it through was educating the voter. Most voters knew that Cheryl had done damage that they did not approve of. That one issue got out the vote. Cheryl lost the election at 708 Church Street. They might have been powerless to stop her on city council so voting was all they had. Alas.

    Cheryl had the money, the machine, the newspapers and the name recognition. Judy had pamphlets.

    1. Re: letting people know
      The exact statement from the person handing out Fiske’s literature was: “We are trying to get Judy Fiske elected so we can stop the tower project”.

      No mention of Cheryl Wollin and how she voted on the project. It is a campaign promise that Fiske cannot keep because she has no ability to “stop the tower”. The project is already approved.

      She can attempt to stop future downtown projects (and I’m sure she will), but saying she can stop that particular project was a flat out lie.

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