Black Residents Sue Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson over Migrant ‘Tent City,’ State Halts Construction over Toxic Chemicals in Soil

Black residents of Chicago’s Brighton Park are suing Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson over the construction of his massive tent city for illegal border crossers — but not before state authorities shut construction down over a report that the site may be a toxic landfill.

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plans to build a tent encampment for up to 1,400 illegal aliens has been under fire since it was first proposed, and residents quickly organized to oppose the plan to put hundreds of illegal immigrants right in the middle of their neighborhood without so much as a community meeting or a discussion with their alderman.

Twelfth District Ald. Julia Ramirez has disavowed Johnson’s construction effort.

Ramirez says she had no part at all in the planning and execution of the plans in Brighton Park.

The alderwoman’s letter to her constituents came only days after she was mobbed by furious residents when she visited the location of the proposed tent city on October 19.

Now, according to the X account of the 16th & 17th District Chicago Police Scanner, residents of Brighton Park are suing.

“Brighton Park residents are suing the city of Chicago for a temporary restraining order on the 38th and California migrant tent city,” the X account said:

At the hearing, it was revealed the city never issued construction permits for the tent city
The city is arguing that residents can’t hold the city accountable to follow its own zoning and building codes.
The Brandon Johnson administration is basically saying that the city doesn’t have to follow its own building codes and laws.
The city is also arguing that the soil is safe as long as you don’t eat it.

The mayor seems to understand how unpopular his tent city is. When the local Fox affiliate, WFLD-TV, sent a camera crew to film some of the construction work being done on the site, workers suddenly appeared to line the safety fencing in black material to keep the prying eyes of city residents and the media out of Johnson’s business.

The tent city is set to cost Chicago a whopping $29 million with a contract with Aegis Defense Services, under a branch being called GardaWorld Federal Services.

But even before the residents of Brighton Park launched their lawsuit, construction on Johnson’s much-derided tent city was put on hold by state officials after a newly released environmental report suggested that the land upon which the tent city is being erected is dripping in hazardous chemicals.

“The State has temporarily paused construction at the Brighton Park site pending IEPA’s (the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency) review of the environmental report. IEPA has some outstanding questions they are hopeful they can work through today,” Gov. JB Pritzker’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, told the media on Monday, CBS Chicago reported.

Johnson’s office confirmed the hitch in his tent city plans.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks during a press conference at City Hall on Aug. 2, 2023. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“According to the report, soil with mercury levels was identified at one location and was removed and properly disposed offsite at a landfill, and with the limited soil removal and placement and maintenance of the barrier, the site is safe for temporary residential use,” the mayor’s office said. “Further base camp construction and remediation of an additional 1 ft. x 1 ft. x 1 ft. area of the 9.5-acre site will continue per the timeline set by the State of Illinois. There is no construction or remediation scheduled at this time. The City will share assessment of subsequent remediation as it becomes available.”

Johnson’s office knew of the toxic chemicals being found in the soil at the site but deemed the soil removal conducted to level the ground for the tent city to be sufficient to eliminate the threat and said as much in the report released late last week.

In its report, the city claimed, “With the limited soil removal and placement and maintenance of the barrier, the site is safe for temporary residential use.”

While Johnson was sure that the “limited” soil removal was enough to eliminate any toxicity, state officials were not as sanguine over the claims.

An attorney for the residents suing to stop the construction of the facility was incensed over the whole situation.

“The city has been dishonest, liars, untruthful, not transparent. The city is not an honest broker, but what I will do is keep them accountable, and if they do lie, and if they’re not transparent, then I will hold them in a court in contempt,” attorney Frank Avila said on Monday.

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