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One of the items before the City Council's housing committee Thursday was an ordinance authorizing the Office of the Inspector General to rent space at 180 N. Michigan. Joel Vieyra, a leasing official with the city's Department of General Services, told aldermen the rent was $14,400 a month, about $2,000 less than the fair market rate.
Committee chairman Ray Suarez asked if anyone had questions.
"I have no question, but I do have a comment," said 50th Ward alderman Bernard Stone. "Michigan and Lake is pretty fancy digs for the inspector general."
"Uh, the building is actually a class C building," said Vieyra, "built in 1927--"
"Doesn't matter when it was built," Suarez snapped. "We're talking about the cost."
Suarez wondered why the office wanted that location. Vieyra said the inspector general and his staff needed to work out of a downtown space that was outside of City Hall.
"I understand," Suarez said impatiently. "Any other questions?"
Fourth Ward alderman Toni Preckwinkle had something to say. Suarez called on her with something of a sigh.
"I think my colleagues' questions reflect their general opinion of the inspector general's office, which is dismal," she said.
There was a tense pause.
"I missed that," Suarez said.
"I said, I think my colleagues' questions reflect their general opinion of the inspector general's office, which is dismal."
Suarez stared straight ahead for several long seconds. "OK," he said at last. "Anything else?"
The measure passed unanimously.