The political committee organized to support the failed District 65 school construction referendum in Evanston ended March unable to fully pay its debts.

In a filing with the state board of elections this week, Citizens for a Better Evanston reported raising $8,947 for the campaign and paying bills of $7,368.

But that left it with just $1,579 on hand to pay a $2,617 bill from Quartet Digital Printing of Evanston.

As previously reported, major contributors to the pro-referendum campaign included NEPCO Inc. of Mount Prospect, a construction firm that has done work for District 66, which contributed $2,500; Susan Greene of 922 Asbury Ave., who this week’s report says gave a total of $1,317, and school activist Terri Shepard of 150 Barton Ave., whose donations totalled $1,050.

Other donors, first identified in this weeks report, include:

  • Leonard Lopez, of Dallas, Texas, the CEO of ESI, Inc., $600.
  • Christopher Deeney and Martha King of 2312 Grey Ave., $400.
  • Nicole Greene, 922 Asbury Ave., $250.
  • JAC Masonry, Inc., of Lake Villa, Ill., $200.
  • Maiya Leupton of 2509 Prospect Ave., $200.
  • Bobby Burns, 2527 Jackson Ave., $175.
  • Eamon Kelley, 1510 Asbury Ave., $175.
  • Anne and Clarence Sills, 2343 Lincolnwood Drive, $175.
  • Leslie Luning of 2315 Ridge Ave., $150

The only school board member listed as contributing to the pro-referendum group is Katie Bailey of 1619 Ashland Ave., who gave $200.

And State Rep. Robyn Gabel contributed $250 from her political committee.

The group also received what was described as a $4,000 in-kind contribution from filmmaker Susan Hope Engle, who produced a documentary promoting the referendum.

Other than the unpaid Quartet printing bill, the committee’s biggest expenditure was $1,785 for advertising to the Evanston RoundTable newspaper, which endorsed the referendum.

The committee also paid $540 to Blue Island Newspaper Printing, the RoundTable’s printer, to print an advertising insert in the paper.

Other expenditures included:

  • $946 to Dupeshop of Minneapolis, Minn. for document duplication.
  • $650 to Union signs and Printing of Joliet for lawn signs.
  • $600 to Mike Summers of Evanston for website development.
  • $547 to Evanston Imprintables for t-shirts.
  • $500 to Winding Creek Group of St. Louis for robocalls.
  • $402 to Sam’s Club for food for various campaign events.
  • $310 to Boocoo to rent the space for an election night party.
  • $275 to Busy Beaver Button Co. of Chicago for campaign buttons
  • $217 to Carmen’s Pizza for food for the election night party.
  • $165 to 1-800 Flowers for flowers on election night.

No group opposing the referendum has filed reports with the state. Groups are only required to file if their contributions or expenditures hit the $3,000 mark.

Voters rejected the referendum on March 20 by a 55 to 45 percent margin.

Related story

Construction firm big donor to pro-referendum group

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Re More Money from Dist 65 Contractors

      And JAC Masonry is in Lake Villa, so that's another contractor who's not located in Evanston chiming in on how to spend our tax money.

  1. Heaven forfend!

    Oh, the pearl clutching! The local knaves have the audacity to try their hand at influencing their government. Who do they think they are spending almost TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS??? The NERVE!!!

    1. Carpetbaggers welcome

      And we better clutch our wallets as well as our pearls while the knaves are spending thousands to influence their Evanston government.  They apparently weren't concerned at all about local, Evanston taxpaying vendors…no, no – they hired vendors in Minneapolis, and St. Louis, Chicago, and Joliet, and they filled their coffers with financial contributions from Mt. Prospect and Villa Park and Texas.

      They've definitely layed out the welcome mat for (non Evanston) voters to influence our government – for Carpetbaggers looking to scoop up all kinds of contracts in Evanston – from construction to brick work to health services to food services.  Welcome one and all…we're giving out money here.

    2. The real knaves lacked D65 support but made their voices heard

      C4BE being labeled as the local knaves who tried to influence their government?  Not bloody likely!  It was the government (read: D65) that tried its hand at pushing us voters around by relying on their minions (read: D65 contractors funding C4BE) to pay the bill for robocalls, yard signs and social media.

      C4BE was a well-oiled machine, organized with the full support of D65.  If you doubt that, just look at the splashy video filmed on D65 property. Now that's audacity! 

      Look at C4BE's major financial supporters.  I would not describe those D65 contractors as locals or knaves.

      When casting for "$48 Million D65 Referendum:  The Movie", the knaves will be known as the thinking,independent voters of Evanston.  No D65 contractor paid for my "Vote No" yard sign and I am very proud of that.

      No pearl clutching here, I assure you.  Verily, quoth one of the humble knaves.  Perhaps we should start writing it as C$BE (the 4 is easily replaced by $) because for many C$BE supporters, it was all about the $$$ for them.

      1. Connect the dots and you will see a clear pattern of influence

        It wasn't just contractors trying to get the new school passed.

        It was also Democrat politicians like Robyn Gabel who gave money to C4BE and voiced public support.

        Democrat activists like Susan Greene, who was appointed last fall by D65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy to serve on the D65 Ad Hoc Budget Committee that provided budget recommendations to D65 staff, gave money and helped collect and raise money for C4BE. 

        You might remember that Greene, owner of the Evanston healthcare consulting firm, Susan Greene & Associates, filed an objection to Libertarian candidate Steve Funk's petition to get on the ballot and challenge Democrat Robyn Gabel, a former healthcare lobbyist who was running unopposed.

        I thought it was against state law for a school board member to campaign for a tax referendum they voted to get on the ballot? If it is against the law, D65 Board President Katie Bailey and D65 Board member Jerome Summers probably violated state law. Bailey gave money to C4BE and Summers voiced support for the new school at several public meetings. 

        I hope voters remember all this in next year's election. 

  2. Local support?

    This group talked in terms of supporting community, but from this list it looks that at least 30% of their money was spent outside the community.

    I have NEVER had to go outside of Evanston for flowers, signage of any nature or document duplication. And I'm sure I could find someone local who can make buttons.  Plus a local guy may get stuck with an unpaid printing bill?

  3. Excellent template for local political action

    Thanks, Evanston Now, for publishing this article. This is an excellent template for anyone who ever wants to lobby for or against a particular cause in our town. For $10K, you can make a pretty big splash in our little burb. You may or may not prevail in the vote, but you will get your word out.

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