Tag Archives: Chinatown

Officials announce $75M for Chicago train extension

(CHICAGO) Chicago Transit Authority officials have approved a capital plan that includes $75 million in funding for an extension of a major train line.

It’s the next step in the $2.3 billion expansion of the Red Line. City officials want to expand the line that includes stops in Chinatown and the home of the White Sox from 95th Street to 130th Street, including four new rail stations.

The $75 million investment means the city can move forward with initial engineering and analysis needed to apply for $1 billion in federal funds. City officials say the money will be funded by CTA bonds.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the plans Sunday.

The city is seeking public input on plans until Wednesday. Construction on the 5.3-mile extension isn’t expected to begin until 2022.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Improvements to sidewalks and streets in Chinatown is underway

(CHICAGO) Work on the Wells-Wentworth Corridor, including additional traffic signals and new sidewalks, began earlier this week in Chinatown.

The project aims to create a new roadway between the Loop and Chinatown, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced on Friday. Improvements to the area include adding a traffic signal at 18th and Wentworth streets, new sidewalks on each side of the street, a buffered bicycle lane and improve access to Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse.

The project area will span from South Wells Street between West Roosevelt Road and West 16th Street and South Wentworth Avenue between West 16th Street and West Cermak Road, CDOT said.

There will be traffic and bike restrictions on West 18th Street during the construction of the traffic signal. Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Wentworth Avenue between Ping Tom Memorial Park and 19th Street during construction. The first phase of construction is expected to be complete by June 2017, according to CDOT.

“These improvements will make Chinatown more pedestrian and bike friendly while bringing new economic opportunities to a growing and vibrant community,” said Alderman Daniel Solis.

The second phase of the project will realign Wentworth Avenue between Archer Avenue and Cermak Road in order to improve safety. A new plaza will also be built on the east side of Wentworth at 19th Street. Work has already begun with the demolition of two out of three buildings that have been acquired in order to make the improvements, said CDOT.

“This project exemplifies Chicago’s strong commitment to the economic growth of the Chinatown community,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. “By creating a direct road, transit and bicycle access to Chinatown’s thriving commercial center, we hope to strengthen the community’s identity and economy.”

Construction of the first and second phase of the project is expected to cost $16.9 million with funds coming from River South and 24th/Michigan Tax Increment Financing, according to CDOT.

Charges filed against teen shot by state trooper in Chinatown

(CHICAGO) Charges have been filed against the 15-year-old boy who was shot by a state trooper Saturday evening in Chinatown on the South Side.

The boy, whose name was not released because he is a minor, tried to run over a trooper with a stolen car, according to Illinois State Police. He faces felony counts of aggravated assault to an officer, aggravated fleeing and criminal possession of a vehicle.

The vehicle was reported stolen at gunpoint earlier in the day in Chicago, according to state police, who said a trooper spotted and tried to pull it over on the Dan Ryan Expressway around 6:50 p.m.

The driver sped off before getting caught in traffic at the northbound Chinatown ramp from the Dan Ryan at Cermak, state police said.

Troopers walked up to the stopped vehicle, and the driver tried to run one of them over, state police allege. Authorities initially said one trooper opened fire, but in a statement announcing charges Tuesday, at least two troopers opened fire “[f]earing for their safety.”

The driver took off again, and troopers gave chase to 11th Street and Wabash, where four people jumped out, police said. Three of them were arrested there, but the 15-year-old temporarily got away.

He later showed up at Stroger Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds that weren’t considered life-threatening. Investigators recovered three guns at 11th and Wabash, police said.

The boy was released from the hospital Tuesday and held at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center Tuesday night.

The other three people arrested were released from custody Tuesday, though charges against them “remain under review,” police said.

Feds went to Chinatown looking for food — and fraud

(CHICAGO) First, federal agents dined at several of celebrity chef Tony Hu’s Chinatown restaurants.

Then they returned in October with a warrant — hoping to feast on evidence of tax fraud, according to court records.

The FBI suspected Hu’s restaurants had been dodging taxes by underreporting gross receipts. And it laid out its allegations in a 110-page court record filed last fall as it sought to raid nine of Hu’s eateries around Chicago, as well as Hu’s South Michigan Avenue condominium. The raid went down Oct. 24.

But the details only came to light this week in previously sealed records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hu, also identified in the documents as Hu Xiaojun and sometimes referred to as the unofficial “Mayor of Chinatown,” has not been charged criminally in connection with the raid, records show. He could not be reached for comment Monday. Multiple people said Hu is in China and is not expected to return to Chicago until next month. 

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the “underlying investigation.”

Hu is an appointed member of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks who has owned several Chicago-area restaurants through his Tony Gourmet Group, including Lao Sze Chuan. The FBI targeted that chain’s locations in Chinatown, Uptown and Downers Grove in its raid, the records show. It also sought permission to search Chinatown-area restaurants Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao You Ju, Lao Ma La, Lao Hunan and Lao Yunnan.

Before raiding the restaurants, the feds tailed Hu in his black Mercedes-Benz as he drove to Chinatown from his South Michigan Avenue condo, according to a search warrant application. FBI agents also dined at Hu’s restaurants more than a year before the raid to get a closer look at its computer systems and standard receipts, the records show.

But agents also scoured bank records and emails documenting the restaurants’ sales, the records show. And the investigators said the numbers they found often didn’t match the amounts submitted on the restaurants’ tax forms.

For example, a manager’s spreadsheet emailed to Hu indicated Lao Sze Chuan’s Downers Grove location took in as much as $1.066 million in 2009, agents said, but the restaurant only reported $656,866 on its annual tax return for that year.

The Chicago restaurants’ average monthly bank deposits in 2013 and 2014 also tended to be higher than the receipts documented on tax forms, investigators wrote. They said the average monthly deposit for Lao Sze Chuan’s Chinatown location was $230,812, but the average monthly receipt reported to the government was $214,995. 

And the average monthly deposit for Lao You Ju in Chinatown was $94,330, agents wrote, but the average monthly receipt reported on its tax forms was $82,468.

Federal agents told a judge they wanted to search Hu’s restaurants for accounting records going back to 2011, as well as records of computer and Internet use.

Records show they walked away from at least one of his eateries with a computer and various banking records.