Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yet Another Ginderske-Westgard Fraud and Failure

JUNE 5, 2010 - James "Jim" Ginderske will probably run for alderman next year in Chicago's 49th Ward. He's been building his political resume since 2006, when he launched his poorly run aldermanic campaign against incumbent Joe Moore. Since losing to Moore and two other contenders in February, 2007, Ginderske has become a shameless lapdog of Joe Moore and overseen the stunning failure of two of his own pet projects: "Neighbors for a Healthy Rogers Park" (NHRP) and "The Urban Coaster." Ginderske keeps racking up spectacular failures, and continues to lie about them and misrepresent himself. First, let's look at The Urban Coaster. Then we'll examine the NHRP. The Urban Coaster was first incorporated in October, 2008. It was involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois on March 12, 2010. However, it continues to illegally misrepresent itself as "The Urban Coaster, Inc." (when we checked the "About" page on their website at 10:00 a.m., June 5, 2010). There, the publisher is listed as "The Urban Coaster, Inc." They cannot legally use "Inc." in their name, because they are not a legal corporation in Illinois. The original signers of the Articles of Incorporation on October 22, 2008 were James J. Ginderske, Francis Scudellari (right) and Thomas Westgard (left). Westgard, an attorney of sorts, is currently listed as a Contributing Writer. He should certainly be aware that it is illegal for an entity to use "Inc." in its name and constitutes misrepresentation if, in fact, the entity is not a legal corporation. Such is the case with The Urban Coaster. Curiously, Jim Ginderske calls himself the publisher of The Urban Coaster on his LinkedIn page and says he still holds that title. He says he's in the "Newspapers industry," but we wonder how that can be true when in fact the Urban Coaster seems to no longer be putting out a dead-tree version. He may technically be in publishing, but no longer in newspapers. The question, then, remains: Who, exactly, is really the publisher of The Urban Coaster? There is a notice at the bottom of that "About" page that says, "All materials are Copyright The Urban Coaster, Inc." Since there is no such entity as "The Urban Coaster, Inc.," we can't help but wonder who actually owns the copyrights to any "materials" posted after their involuntarily dissolution on March 12, 2010. The Urban Coaster was originally both an online and actual paper publication that billed itself as covering "all the news that fits the neighborhoods of Rogers Park, West Ridge, and Edgewater along the shore of Lake Michigan on Chicago's far North Side." The Urban Coaster has not printed a paper version since late 2009. Their last post on Twitter was October 16, 2009. The last time they posted to their Facebook wall was March 22, 2009. It still has its website, and the most recent posting was on May 28, 2010. The Urban Coaster usually misses or ignores the big local stories in favor of non-local headlines such as "Is the Informal Economy the Best Hope for Africa?" (May 27, 2010), "The Threat of Extremism in South Africa" (April 6, 2010), "The Tragedy of Niger's Coup" (February 23, 2010) and "Understanding Rwanda in the Context of Haiti" (January 29, 2010). That can be considered "neighborhood news" only if you live in Africa or Haiti, not Rogers Park, Illinois. No Union Label: The Urban Coaster presents itself as pro-union, yet the Urban Coaster itself is not and never has been a union shop. Ginderske brags about his union membership but proudly participates in a non-union operation. No Hablas Espanol: In March, 2008 there was a public meeting in Rogers Park, at which Dan Haley, the new publisher of the News-Star newspaper, introduced himself to the community. Neither Westgard nor Ginderske bothered to show up, but Ginderske minions Francis Scuddellari and Terry "Cookie" Feingold were in attendance. Both men were integral cogs in the 2007 Ginderske aldermanic campaign and both are still listed on the Urban Coaster staff roster. Feingold raised his hand and asked Haley if the News-Star had plans to publish a Spanish language version, citing Rogers Park's large Latino population. Haley said they had no such plans, and Feingold effectively chided him for not caring about the Spanish speakers among us. The Urban Coaster has never published a Spanish version of itself either online or in paper. For that matter, Feingold's own catering company's website is English-only. The Urban Coaster, as noted, is not incorporated, so it is misrepresenting itself by using the name "The Urban Coaster, Inc." on its website. It's not the first time, either. The Urban Coaster has been in violation now (again) since March 12, 2010 by calling themselves "Inc." on a website that still, apparently, accepts advertising. As of June 5, 2010 at 11:36 a.m., Terry Feingold is still listed as their contact for advertising. The next item on that page, below Feingold's name, is "The Urban Coaster, Inc." To be selling advertising - or anything else - while misrepresenting yourself as a corporation is a violation of law. It's fraudulent. Illinois law states that "Any corporation which (i) puts forth any sign or advertisement, assuming any name other than that by which it is incorporated or otherwise authorized by law to act or (ii) violates Section 3.25, shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be deemed guilty of an additional offense for each day it shall continue to so offend." (Source: Illinois General Assembly web site; see "Article 16 - Penalties".) As of this writing on June 5, 2010, it's coming up on 90 days since they lost their corporate status, yet they continue to use a name that is not "authorized by law." A video interview of Jim Ginderske and Francis Scudellari talking about the beginnings of The Urban Coaster (Part 1 here; Part 2 here) reveals much. (Fast forward to 3:20 in Part 1 to get to the Ginderske-Scudellari portion.) The interview was recorded at the Heartland Cafe on March 21, 2009 during a live radio broadcast hosted by SDS member and lifelong marxist Michael James. (Little did any of them know, at the time, that The Urban Coaster would have the same kind of spectacular success that the late Air America enjoyed.) It's darkly amusing to hear Ginderske insist that The Urban Coaster would be unbiased (in fact, it's had a boldly pro-socialist slant from the beginning), and to hear them promise, in Part 2, that "within a year" they would publish a Spanish version of The Urban Coaster. As noted, that has yet to happen, and with no paper version - and no advertising - there seems little chance that they their promise will be kept. Involuntarily dissolved by order of the State of Illinois one year and nine days after that promise was made, it seems like just one more broken Ginderske promise. Neighbors for a Healthy Rogers Park (NHRP) was first incorporated in December, 2006, at the height of Ginderske's 2007 aldermanic run. It was involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois on May 9, 2009. NHRP was created primarily as an attempt to make Ginderske look like a man of the people and a guy who just wanted to help the neighborhood. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that Ginderske neglected NHRP when it was no longer politically useful to him. Watch for him to try to rehabilitate the discredited NHRP, however, as he gears up for another aldermanic run in 2011. Ginderske continues to make lame attempts now and then to misrepresent NHRP as a legitimate group. As recently as September 14, 2009 (four months after losing its legal status as a corporation), Ginderske was pushing NHRP. According to the Minutes of the Public Hearings on the FY2010 Preliminary Budget, page 3, for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors, he was registered as "Jim Ginderske, Representative, Neighbors for a Healthy Rogers Park" and submitted "written testimony." We couldn't find the details of that testimony, but we bet that Ginderske did not tell the Board that the group he was representing had been involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois months earlier. Ginderske lists himself as the current "President" of NHRP on his LinkedIn page. He claims that NHRP is in the "Research industy." In July, 2008, Chicago News Bench noted that NHRP had not given a full accounting of any money that passed through its hands. Today, on June 5, 2010, we would still like to see a full accounting from NHRP. Ginderske's partner in these messes: Thomas J. Westgard was Ginderske's campaign chair in the 2007 run for alderman. Westgard has been an integral part of Ginderske's fraudulent NHRP and Urban Coaster failures. Will he be part of Ginderske's sure-to-be-fraudulent 2011 campaign? RELATED: NHRP: Odd Man Out Did NHRP Break the Law? NHRP Still "Not Good Standing" With Sec. of State NHRP: Ginderske's Sham Organization Urban Coaster: Non-Local, Non-Union Merchant Alert for Chicago's North Side Newspaper Continues To Threaten Bloggers Pillaging the Boys and Girls Clubs Ginderske: Sit Down, Shut Up Filthy Heartland Cafe Closed for Health Code Violations Heartland Cafe's Inconvenient Truths