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updated: 10/24/2010 12:35 AM

9th Congressional challenger files ethics complaint against Schakowsky

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The Republican challenger for the 9th Congressional District, Joel Pollak, has filed an ethics complaint against Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for helping former donors whose Devon Avenue businesses were facing foreclosure.

The complaint was filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Pollak, a Skokie attorney, accuses Schakowsky of pressuring United Central Bank to ease the terms of repayment for loans a Mr. Balvinder Singh, who donated $500 to Schakowsky's campaign in 2004, and $2,000 in 2006, and other borrowers took out of the failed Mutual Bank of Harvey.

Pollak said only a few Devon Avenue businesses benefitted from Schakowsky's intervention, whereas "she has not offered similar help to the many thousands of homeowners and business owners in her district who are struggling to pay their loans.

There have been more than 250 residential foreclosures alone in West Rogers Park, he added.

"According to the initial reports, this foreclosure deal only affects 20 people so you are talking about a very small fraction," Pollak said. "The claim is being made that it's affecting far more and that's simply not true."

Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, said all she did was bring the CEO of United Central Bank and her constituents together and didn't help renegotiate any loans.

She added, this kind of advocacy is the responsibility for a Congressperson representing the district.

"Apparently if Mr. Pollak were in Congress he would have ignored the large number of complaints that I received from the business community about this situation," Schakowsky said in a written statement.

"I have worked to help many other constituents who have problems with banks as a result of the recession that was caused precisely by the economic policies advocated by Mr. Pollak."

Schakowsky added she didn't know who among the roughly 100 people who attended town meetings on foreclosure contributed to her past campaigns.