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Sam Zell leads post-election burst of donations to Lightfoot campaign fund

Lori Lightfoot, Sam Zell and Chicago City Hall (Credit: Sutdio Scrivo, iStock)

Lori Lightfoot, Sam Zell and Chicago City Hall (Credit: Sutdio Scrivo, iStock)

Equity Group founder Sam Zell and his wife ranked among the most generous donors to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s political operation before fundraising caps were reinstated Monday.

Lightfoot reported donations of $75,000 each from the billionaire real estate mogul and his wife, Helen, comprising a significant chunk of the nearly $400,000 taken in by the mayor after her landslide victory in the April 2 runoff election.

The new mayor also reported $10,000 from Madison Dearborn Partners chairman John Canning, who previously backed Bill Daley for mayor, plus another $25,000 in combined contributions from top leaders at Exelon.

Lightfoot counted few supporters in the real estate industry before the Feb. 26 election, but developers and brokers plowed more than $800,000 into her campaign after she advanced to a one-on-one contest with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The newly-reinstated fundraising caps limit donations to $5,600 from individuals and $11,100 from corporations.

Zell’s Equity family of companies is based in Chicago, but the investor has soured on the local market, selling off his last office property in the region last year.

[Sun-Times] — Alex Nitkin

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