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Bill Brady Voted For Law That Benefited His Real Estate Deal

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An interview with Bill Brady in Sunday'sChicago Tribune revealed an apparent conflict of interest in a law that Brady voted for three times.

The Republican candidate for governor is also a state senator, and it's in that capacity that he voted on a law that indirectly affected his private real estate dealings.

Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog pointed out the item in the Trib story; it was buried, he writes, below "25 paragraphs of mostly rehashed material."

From the story:

Brady's next big project in town would be a more than 300-home subdivision called Prairie Creek designed to capitalize on plans the state announced in 2002 to build a new I-57 interchange at Curtis Road. Planners and developers saw the Curtis Road corridor as the next wave of expansion in Champaign. Brady saw the potential as well, and sought to secure options on 120 acres of farmland adjacent to the interchange site.

In 2003, the state legislature gave the local government authority to take land for sewers along Curtis Road east of Brady's property. A final vote to enact the law occurred Nov. 4, as Brady was securing options on the land he planned to develop. He voted for it.

Three years later, when the legislature re-authorized the sewer plans, well after Brady began acquiring the land, he again voted in favor of the measure. In 2007, Brady also voted for similar legislation allowing Champaign and other local governments to seize property to build their share of the interchange.

Although the actions would help move the interchange project along, and affect the value of his land, Brady did not recuse himself.

The news comes in the midst of another transparency problem for Brady's ticket. His running mate, Jason Plummer, is refusing to release his tax returns to the public, generating media speculation and ample criticism from Pat Quinn, the incumbent who is running against Brady in November.

Plummer's decision not to release the forms is especially odd given what Brady went through a month ago on the same issue. The senator also refused to show his 1040s, then buckled under intense media pressure.

Of the Champaign development law, Brady told the Tribune, "If I felt I had a conflict, I wouldn't have done that." He believed the legislation would not affect the value of his properties, he said.