Emanuel's campaign still owes $74k to law firm that helped him get on ballot

October 31, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/file)
Emanuel testifying in December at a Chicago election board hearing. Also shown: Michael and Kevin Forde, two of his lawyers.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel still owes tens of thousands of dollars to a law firm that helped keep him on the ballot last winter.

To date, Emanuel's campaign has paid the law firm Mayer Brown $625,000, including a payment in late September of $200,000. 

But a debt remains of $73,833.50, even though Emanuel's most recent campaign finance report shows the account had $1.3 million in cash.

A spokesman for Emanuel's campaign, Tom Bowen, said it intends to clear all obligations by the end of 2011, but declined to explain why the debt remained.

"We do not discuss our internal procedures on matters of vendor contracting or the legalities surrounding reporting requirements," Bowen said in an email.

Mayer Brown is the law firm of Michael Forde, one of the lawyers who defended Emanuel in the challenge to his Chicago residency. Emanuel this summer nominated Forde to serve on the board of the Illinois International Port District. The city council unanimously confirmed the appointment in late July.

Emanuel's campaign has also paid more than $80,000 dollars total to two other attorneys who represented him in the ballot dispute: Kevin Forde, who is Michael Forde's father, and Michael Kasper, who is the top lawyer for the Democratic Party of Illinois. Kasper also lobbies city hall for corporate and non-profit clients.