Dear Pat Arden:

With regard to Ted Kleine’s article on April 2, 1999, about the 46th Ward, there are a few details that require correction and clarification. While the article was relatively balanced and fair, I realize that the Reader is known for its attention-grabbing headlines and controversial essays; however, it is important that factual information be presented. Mr. Kleine wrote about myself and my activities, however he never attempted to call me and verify any information. One inaccuracy leads to another.

I am the founder of CUPP, Citizens United Against Poverty Pimps. CUPP, and Larry Ligas personally, advocate affordable, quality housing with responsible management for the law-abiding low-income residents, and safe parks and quality education for all residents of Chicago. In one sentence, Mr. Kleine sent an extremely harsh, powerful message, artfully crafted, posing me as a campaign strategist who is coldhearted and against assisting the less fortunate. He insults not only me but all volunteers who participated and are working against Alderman Helen Shiller.

Kleine mentioned our organization’s activity at the February 9 candidate forum at Graeme Stewart School:

Although my name is mentioned as demonstrator, you failed to mention that the protest was well-organized by CUPP, with several dozen participants (the article is misleading, as if I was acting solo).

I was not acting as a campaign strategist for the Reed campaign. At that time, CUPP had not endorsed any candidate. Our mission was, and continues to be, to dethrone Helen Shiller. Our volunteer base now supports Sandra Reed.

The context leads the reader to believe that CUPP’s agenda–and my agenda–is to dethrone Helen Shiller because she supports the poor. To the contrary, a “Poverty Pimp”–i.e. Helen Shiller–is a person who misuses tax dollars and social service agencies for his/her own political gain, while exploiting the people they profess to serve.

I organized CUPP to send a strong message in response to a public outcry of injustices attributed to the Shiller regime: however, Poverty Pimps are active in wards outside the 46th, but there is a strong circle connecting them all to Helen Shiller and Slim Coleman.

Kleine also reiterated a one-sided story that appeared in Windy City Times, spoon-fed by the Shiller campaign. I will reiterate to you the facts and my rebuttal to Windy City Times: no one from the Reed campaign in any way slurred or maligned the gay community. In fact, Shiller’s workers were witnessed stealing Reed campaign signs on election day. In their typical fashion of street political theater, it is quite probable that Shiller’s own people taped the stolen Reed/Daley signs on Shiller’s own white campaign vans and drove through the community shouting the hateful slurs themselves. They then contacted Louis Weisberg at Windy City Times and fed the paper the story.

Helen Shiller has mastered the art of spin and hiding her true agenda, and projecting herself as Ms. Ethics and the only person who cares about the dispossessed, the poor, the homeless, the drug addicts, etc. She exploits the poor, keeping them believing that without her they would have nowhere to live. Shiller makes no attempt (or has failed) to assist people in becoming self-sufficient.

In addition, Helen Shiller has a track record of supporting slumlords, businesses, and businessmen who are a cancer to the community and keep the dispossessed down. Many SRO/day-labor services masquerade as providers of assistance and labor services, knowing that all money earned by the people they allegedly serve goes to liquor and drugs.

The 46th Ward has suffered 12 years of urban decay (rotten to the core) because of Helen Shiller’s skillfully crafted web of exploitation. Media outlets have failed to educate the public about the truth behind Shiller’s outward crusade for the downtrodden and have wrongfully put her on a platform as a savior.

Lawrence J. Ligas

Citizens United Against

Poverty Pimps

Ted Kleine replies:

I attempted to contact Ligas, but he has an unlisted phone number.