Seventh district State Representative Chris Welch has been in Springfield for over a year, but some of his recent campaign contributors still have close ties to Proviso Township High School District 209.
Several district vendors showed up on Welch’s most recent quarterly D-2 forms filed with the State Board of Elections after April 1.
Those companies, Restore Construction, Celtic Environmental, and M & M Construction are all vendors for the school district. Restore Construction and Celtic Environmental donated to the campaign after the May fire at Proviso East High School.
Restore Construction received a no-bid contract to repair areas damaged by the May 10 fire, which was caused by electrical malfunctions, according to an investigation. Cleanup and repair costs for the high school will run around $5 million, paid by the district’s insurance company, Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.
According to state reports, Restore gave a $2,404.05 in-kind donation to Welch on June 30, which was labeled as “services rendered.”
The owner of Restore Construction, Patrick Santoro, is a prolific campaign donor and friend of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick, who described Santoro as a “buddy” and lunch companion in a sexual harassment lawsuit, where the town of Cicero paid $675,000 to plaintiff Janidet Lujano.
Restore Construction has donated a total of $281,240.05 to candidates like Dominick, Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero, former Maywood mayor Henderson Yarbrough and Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico. Between 2005 and 2011, Restore also donated $3,500 to Citizens for Anthony Calderone.
The July gift to the Welch campaign was Restore’s first donation to Welch.
Celtic Environmental, an asbestos/lead remediation company based in Lyons, is a much less frequent donor.
Celtic has billed the district between $54,000 and $60,000 in 2012 and 2013, according to www.openthebooks.com. Celtic, owned by Joseph Smrz, donated $1,000 to Welch in June 2013.
After the fire, Celtic was given an emergency contract to remediate all the asbestos uncovered in the fire cleanup. Celtic made another $1,000 donation to Welch on Aug. 11, 2014.
M&M Building Services donated $2,500 to Welch’s campaign fund on April 21. M&M, which performs plumbing for the district, has seen their business grow five-fold. In 2011 they were paid $4,800 by D209, according to www.openthebooks.com. In 2012, the amount rose to $10,340, and in 2013, they did $27,595 worth of business in D209.
Welch’s campaign contribution forms also list lobbying groups and PACs.
Welch did not respond to a request for comment.
Another name popping up regularly on Welch’s campaign contribution list is familiar in Forest Park. Eight donations from Matthew O’Shea Consulting Inc., totaling $2,825, appear on board of election forms. Donations range from $500 in 2012 to $250-$350 every couple of months in the spring and summer of 2014.
O’Shea’s company gives $1,000 per year to Michael Madigan’s campaign and lots of other politicians on both sides of the aisle. He said the contributions to Welch represented fundraisers he attended, some of which were tied to a charity, such as a back-to-school golf event.