Friday, February 13, 2009

Rogers Park Has No "Chamber of Commerce"

Rogers Park has no "chamber of commerce?" DevCorp North, a dark and mysterious organization that fears sunlight, is erroneously referred to by Chi-Town Daily News as "DevCorp North (Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce),RP's 'chamber of commerce'," but that not accurate. Either Chi-Town DN misunderstood DevCorp's Courtney Owen, or Owen misrepresented DevCorp North to writer Tasneem Nomanbhai. Owen is listed as a "Commercial District Planner" on DevCorp's website. DevCorp North files as a 501(c)(3), "A religious, educational, charitable, scientific or literary organization." They do not file as a 501(c)6, which "is specifically reserved to Chamber of Commerce organizations, real estate boards, trade boards, and other types of business leagues. They are characterized by a common business interest, which the organization typically promotes." In other words, DevCorp North is NOT a "chamber of commerce." DevCorp works with local businesses, true. However, DevCorp North does not even refer to itself as a "Chamber of Commerce" for Rogers Park. (DevCorp was known as the "Howard/Paulina Development Corporation until Nov. 12, 1993.) One of DevCorp's main activities is making is more difficult for small businesses to operate in Rogers Park. DevCorp operative Rene Camargo, for example, bullies small merchants into putting up pretty awnings. Other than that, DevCorp has had little positive effect on the business community of Rogers Park. In fact, their offices on W. Howard Street are sandwiched into a blighted strip of a blighted street in a blighted neighborhood. There have been two entities in the recent past that called themselves "Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce," and both were involuntarily dissolved by the Illinois Secretary of State (see pictures here for details; click to enlarge). Local talk show wannabe Avy Meyers erroneously listed Elizabeth Vitell as the "Executive Director, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce," but that's wrong. Ms. Vitell is actually the executive director of the Rogers Park Community Council (RPCC). The RPCC's mission statement says that it exists to "improve the quality of life in Rogers Park through social, civic, and educational initiatives that foster health and welfare, urban renewal and conservation, law enforcement and community organization." While those are worthy goals, they are not a "chamber of commerce," nor does RPCC describe itself as such. Meyers gave his 79 regular viewer the false impression that Rogers Park has a chamber of commerce. RELATED: IRC 501(c)(6) Organizations (pdf) Public Charity - Exemption Application Is DevCorp North Finished Under Gordon? (Emphasis on the comments there) 24/7 North of Howard Watchers: Rogers Park Garden Group Rogers Park Crime "Much Worse" than Edgewater, According to Ex-Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Director CNB RSS Feed