Town Center developer donates $5,000 to Buffalo Grove mayoral challenger

The massive $320 million proposal to create a downtown Buffalo Grove on one of the village's golf courses died five years ago, but the developer behind the plan is still seeking to have a major influence on the community.

According to campaign filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections, Chuck Malk of CRM Properties Group donated $5,000 on March 7 to the campaign committee of village president candidate Michael Terson.

Terson, a former village trustee challenging incumbent Beverly Sussman in the April 2 election, recently said he is open to taking another look at redevelopment of Buffalo Grove Golf Course.

And in 2014, while a trustee, Terson suggested that the village did not review Malk's proposal long enough to have a clear understanding of its feasibility.

Terson last week also received a $1,000 contribution from Butera Center Management, a Hoffman Estates-based company described on the Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce website as owner of the Chase Plaza shopping center at the corner of Lake-Cook and Arlington Heights roads.

Terson said he is excited about both contributions.

"At the end of the day, when two completely separate commercial property developers reach out to you in support, just because they read what you had to say and they agree with you to the point where they want to contribute to you being successful in doing things for your community, that, to me, is empowering and exciting," he said.

Sussman said the donation shows Terson, if elected village president, would push for development in the golf course property.

"I was really very disappointed to find out that Mike Terson would accept a check for $5,000 as a contribution from Mr. Malk," she said Tuesday. "I just felt that Mike should have had better judgment than that."

Malk on Tuesday said he is supporting Terson because he believes he is trying to do something good for the community, and insisted he no longer has interest in developing a downtown Buffalo Grove.

"Terson's a good guy. I think he's really sincere. That's why I made a contribution," Malk said. "But there is no quid pro quo or anything like that. I just think (Sussman) is more ego based than she is sincere in what she can do for the village. That's why I got behind Mike."

Sussman said Malk opposes her because she opposed his proposal.

"Malk hates me, because I was the first one to stand in his way of getting his dream to come true," she said. "I was a thorn in his side."

When first proposed in 2012, the Town Center plan called for 320,000 square feet of retail space, 55,000 square feet of restaurants, 66,000 square feet of office space, a 45,000-square-foot movie theater and 60,000 square feet of cultural amenities such as a community center or museum. It also included two eight-story towers and one 10-story tower that would contain a total of 266 condominium units. Another 325 rental units would be on the upper floors of the office and retail buildings.

Amid backlash from residents and some on the village board - including Sussman, who was then a trustee - Malk withdrew the proposal in December 2014.

As for Butera, Terson said company president John Butera told him he liked his positions on economic development.

"He liked what I had to say about economic development and moving the village in that direction and told me he was going to send me a campaign contribution. He didn't tell me how much. I didn't ask," he said.

Terson said there is nothing improper about his campaign receiving financial support from Butera or Malk.

"Nothing nefarious is going on, nothing outside the boundaries of the law has taken place, and I am proud to disclose that these well-respected professionals think I am the guy who can move the community forward," he said. "I don't think there is anything negative in that."

  Developer Chuck Malk, here presenting his proposal for a Town Center before the Buffalo Grove village board in 2012, has made a $5,000 donation to the campaign of village president candidate Michael Terson. Steve Zalusky/, 2012
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.