The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

$1500 Fine for Killing Three

Nov 7, 2022

On the same day during a heat wave in May, three elderly black women were found dead in their homes in the James Sneider Apartments in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Temperatures inside the building had soared above 90 degrees and autopsies determined all three deaths were caused by heat exposure.

After this tragedy, a city inspector found 11 building code violations including two for the building’s air conditioning system. Family members of the victims say the owner intentionally failed to turn on the air conditioning to keep down costs. Yet the City of Chicago just fined the building owner, Paul Roldan, only $1500!

Roldan is president of the “non-profit” Hispanic Housing Development Corporation. He was formerly the board chair of the Cook County Housing Authority and served as co-chair of Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Housing Transition Committee after her election in 2019. He built the complex with over 6 million dollars in low-interest loans from the city, supposedly to provide low-income housing.

In 2021 Rolden’s “non-profit” corporation scored a lucrative contract to manage 22 senior high-rise centers across the city. By May of this year, these buildings had been cited with 21 building code violations.

As the housing crisis deepens in working-class communities throughout the city, rents skyrocket and living conditions steadily deteriorate. While posing as protectors of the poor, the city government and local politicians know only one way to respond: funnel every tax dollar they can find to their greedy cronies, the banks, and the profit-hungry developers.