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The Daleys and their Russian deals

In June 2003, Mayor Richard M. Daley personally welcomed Symon Garber to Chicago.

Daley said he believed Garber’s presence would dramatically improve Chicago’s poor taxi service. “This is something we all have prayed for for many, many years”.

Garber is the Ukrainian-born New York City cab kingpin and former business partner of Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer. The two partnered to manage 260 cabs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His Chicago Carriage Cab Company was granted permission by Daley’s City Hall to operate in the city. City Hall controls who owns, operates and drives a taxi.

He hired Daley’s former chief of staff, Gery Chico, to lobby the mayor’s commissioner of business affairs for taxi medallions. Within six years, he was managing at least 800 taxis.

In 2005, Daley publicly announced a plan to lift the city’s ban on taxicab advertising. The proposal allowed the city’s 6,900 taxicabs to display ads on their side-panel doors and rooftops. Garber and associates have made millions from the advertising.

In 2010, Garber’s nearly 800 Chicago taxi medallions were valued at $52 million. Six years later, they were worth half that. The city charges a tax on every medallion transfer. In 2012, it collected more than $9 million in taxes. In 2017, $85,000.

Also that year, it was revealed that 183 of Garber’s taxis had previously been categorized as salvage vehicles. Chicago law prohibits operating any vehicle as a taxi that was once deemed a salvage vehicle. Garber was never charged with a crime but he was fined $815,000 by the Daley administration. He agreed to update 600 of his taxis to electric.

He’s president of three taxi companies in New York, New Orleans, and Chicago, a NY commercial/residential development company and a NY company that finances medallions and real estate.

He got into the taxi business after meeting Vladimir Slutsker, a member of the Russian Federation Council who introduced Garber to high-ranking Russian officials. They ran a taxi fleet of more than 2,500 taxis in Moscow until the 1998 ruble crisis ended the business.

Around that same time, the Daley administration was involved in the Hired Truck scandal. From 1999–2003, more than 50 trucking firms were paid more than $80 million of taxpayer’s money in no-bid deals to have their dump trucks sit on the job.

Thirty-two of the trucking firms were based in Daley’s 11th Ward. From 1996–2004, those trucking firms donated more than $800,000 to Daley and other politician’s campaigns. Several of the trucking firms were mob owned.

Daley and his son Patrick have long been involved in questionable business deals. Patrick was the first of the two to meet Garber. “Me and Patrick are very good friends. We met in Russia somewhere in August 2001…And one time we went out in New York,” said Garber.

Around that time, Patrick was working at Cardinal Growth, a Chicago private equity firm run by former federal prosecutor Robert Bobb Jr. and accountant Joseph McInerney, a friend of Patrick’s.

While his dad was mayor, Patrick and his cousin Robert Vanecko became minority investors in Municipal Sewer Services. Municipal was created by Cardinal to take over City Hall contracts for cleaning and sewer inspections. The two formed a Delaware company MSS Investors LLC and from April 2003 to late 2004, each invested $65,000 to acquire a 5% stake in Municipal.

Patrick and Vanecko were later investigated by the city’s inspector general and federal authorities for not disclosing their ownership stake in Cardinal, as required by city regulations. No charges were filed.

In 2005, Cardinal created Concourse Communications. Concourse got a 10-year contract from the Daley administration for Wi-Fi service at O’Hare and Midway airports. Nine months after signing the contract, Concourse was sold for a 33% profit to Boingo Wireless. Patrick made $708,999 on the deal. Concourse never disclosed to the city that Patrick was a Cardinal investor.

Two years later, the federal government liquidated Cardinal. It had borrowed nearly $51 million from the SBA over a 10-year period but was unable to repay $21.4 million. The fund’s projects had paid more than $1.2 million to Patrick.

During Daley’s reign, at least 35 different Chicago-based companies like McDonald’s, Boeing, Caterpillar and John Deere had operations in Russia. This did not happen by accident.

He led a delegation of Chicago business and government leaders to Moscow in 2009. He was a keynote presenter at a business meeting with 100 leading Russian entrepreneurs. He reminded those in attendance that in 2008, the Chicago Customs District had $83 million in imports from Russia and $138 million in exports to Russia.

“I believe the business relationship between Chicago and Moscow is strong, and we want it to grow stronger,” Daley said.

Daley also visited Patrick, who was living in Moscow at the time.

In 2009, the Russian Foundation of Chicago (RFC) hosted Sergey Kislyak, the former Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the U.S. and alleged top Ru spy and spy recruiter, at the Executives’ Club of Chicago. He talked about trade and commerce, the political relationship between the U.S. and Russia and arts and culture.

Aleksandra Efimova is the founder and president of the RFC. Its goal is to “promote and enrich Russian-American contributions to the Chicago community, in political, social, artistic and business spheres.”

Efimova is a fierce advocate for Russia.

She was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. When she was 15, she moved with her family to Michigan. A few years later, she started at Eastern Michigan University. She lived in Ann Arbor, MI for 12 years and pursued a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing while training as a competitive ballroom dancer.

She claims that during her junior year, she “accidentally met a representative of Russian Pointe shoe manufacturing” and they asked her to be a representative for the company. She ran the business from her dorm room, contacting local stores and eventually building a network to sell and promote the Russian Pointe brand.

Years later, she had a a global brand of dance products and a store on Magnificent Mile. Up until 2016, she was living on the 73rd Floor of Trump Tower Chicago.

She’s the founder of Aleksandra Enterprises, the parent company of Russian Pointe and Growing Through Arts, a company she sells her children’s books and toys through. She’s a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Executive Owner/Management Program and the Co-Founder of the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs-Chicago Chapter.

She appears to be close with Kislyak as she’s pictured with him numerous times at Russian events in Chicago like the 2011 Russia Day celebration.

Here they are at the 2013 Russia Day celebration in Chicago. (Prince Piotr Galitzine on left.)

Senator Mark Kirk appointed Efimova chair of the Eastern European Advisory Board. Three years later, she was appointed vice president (Midwest) of the U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce. It’s a 501(c) nonprofit established in 2009 to “promote business between Russia and the United States of America.”

Through her work with Kirk, Bob Dold (Dist. 10, R-IL) asked her to help with his outreach to the Russian-speaking community for his 2012 campaign. She’s “participated in numerous interviews and promotions…and on mailers that were sent to every Russian-speaking household.” She’s worked on his last three campaigns.

Efimova was one of 70 prominent Chicagoans on the committee to host the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. The hosting committee was headed by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s wife, Amy Rule. That same year, Rahm sent a delegation of the World Business Chicago and CSI on a trade mission to Russia to “ establish relationships with Russian companies and spur new business development opportunities.”

In a Huffington Post article, written by Freelance Russian Journalist Maria Snegovaya, Efimova got political.

“Aleksandra Efimova…described Obama’s eight years as disastrous with regards to relationship with Russia. She said she expects Trump to find common ground with Putin on solutions to terrorism and to promote U.S.-Russian collaboration on trade, culture and science.”

The article is obvious propaganda and a good example of how the mainstream media outlets like the Huffington Post allow foreign enemies to bias the daily information U.S. citizens consume.

Efimova’s was the founder of Russian Culture Now, a non-profit group based in Chicago that is dedicated to increasing awareness of Russian artists in the U.S. It appears to no longer exist. She’s also Chair of the Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI). She was nominated by Mayor Daley in 2010.

During Daley’s first term, he and Moscow’s then-Mayor, Yury Luzhkov, formalized a Sister Cities agreement. It was the first and only one established between Moscow and a U.S. city. It was to enrich their “trade, cultural and diplomatic links.”

The agreement opened a path for the Daley and Russian administrations to numerous galas, conferences, speaking engagements, education fellowships, cultural events and multi-billion dollar business deals between the two cities.

By the time Daley retired in 2011, Chicago was exporting almost $300 million in goods to Russia. It was importing nearly $100 million in goods from Russia.

In June 2011, Daley attended the Challenges For Global Cities discussion held at the 15th St. Petersburg International in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also appeared on RT.

In September 2011, he was named to the international Advisory Board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. RDIF is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has $10 billion under management for infrastructure and modernization projects across Russia. The RDIF projects have funded those that are well connected to Putin. They’ve also served as a way for Putin to skirt sanctions.

Daley reportedly severed ties with RDIF. (The RDIF website does not list its international advisors. Daley is still listed on Bloomberg’s Capital Market Company Overview as an international advisory member.)

In 2011, he and Patrick started Tur Partners, an international investment and advisory firm. (A tur is a wild goat from the Caucasus region of Russia.) Tur Partners “works with businesses, municipalities and government agencies throughout North America to develop strategies for competing and thriving in the global economy,” according to its website.

The Obama administration approved Tur Partners Metropolitan Regional Center LLC. as a federal EB-5 Regional Center. This means Tur has the authority to solicit foreign investors for business projects in 14 counties from Kenosha, WI to Chicago to Gary, IN.

EB-5 programs allow foreign investors to obtain visas in exchange for investing six or seven figure$ in American projects. The program has a history of being used by corrupt developers to pay themselves or to allow foreign investors get around sanctions. (See the Kushner family.)

Over the last decade, Chinese investors have spent at least $7.7 billion and received more than 40,000 U.S. visas with the “golden visa” programs.

The Daleys also started Tur Partners Eurasia. Patrick was named its principal and managing director. Mukharbek Aushev, a former Russian legislator and executive at LUKoil, is the managing principal of Tur Partners Eurasia. Aushev is close with the Kremlin.

He was president of LUKoil’s finance arm, JSC LUKoil, and its VP in charge of oil supply to the domestic market. Tur Partners Eurasia has offices in Russia and China.

Tur Partners Eurasia Ltd. and Tur Partners Cyprus Ltd. are registered as offshore Cyprus accounts. Tur Partners Asia Ltd. was incorporated in Hong Kong. Aushev is listed as the director of the Eurasia firm.

In 2006, Putin awarded Aushev with the Order of Friendship. (Rex Tillerson was honored with the same award in 2013 after signing deals with Russian oil company Rosneft.)

Aushev is a shareholder in Musical Distributors International Inc., according to the Panama Papers. He’s also the CEO of Russian company Technic ONE. It signed a deal in 2017 to create Russia’s largest centre for aircraft repairs and maintenance to provide services to customers from Russia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Konstantin Koloskov is also listed as a Principal at Tur. He’s a Russian national who’s lived in Chicago and “formerly managed an emerging market hedge fund with more than $200 million in assets at investment bank UBS.” He was “heavily involved in the firm’s Russia strategy, helping to bring strategic investment opportunities to leading Russian financial institutions.”

In 2012, the Daleys and Aushev met with Rustam Minnikhanov, president of the Republic of Tatarstan, to discuss the economic and investment potential of Tatarstan as one of the most developed regions in Russia. He expressed hope that they would be interested in the republic as an attractive place for making investments and successful entrance to the Russian market.

Tatarstan was granted autonomy through treaties with Moscow that allowed it to retain control over its natural resources, including its oil company Tatneft. It is oil rich.

Tur Partners and Aushev have signed numerous deals with North Korea, China and Russia. Tur Partner’s currently involved in a deal to build a downtown Chicago skyscraper using funds through a federal program that offers green cards to wealthy foreign investors.

It wants permission from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to solicit $150 million from foreign investors. They hope to get as many as 300 foreign investors, most likely from China. Each investor would pay $500,000 to help finance the construction and pay a $50,000 administrative fee that would bring the Daleys’ company $15 million.

Written by

Citizen Journalist

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