Local DJ fined for illegally lobbying the mayor

Staff Writer

Alan King, DJ and husband of Ald. Sophia King (4th), and Jim Abrams, chief operation officer of medical supply company Medline Industries, were found guilty on Friday afternoon, June 16, by the Chicago Board Ethics after being accused of breaking ethical rules for seeking to influence Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Hall without registering as lobbyists, as the law requires.

The Chicago Board of Ethics accused King and Abrams of illegally lobbying Emanuel through his personal email account.

King, a DJ known for organizing the Chosen Few Picnic in Jackson Park and law firm partner, emailed the mayor to have a fence removed from a Chicago park to accommodate the house music picnic, according to a Chicago Tribune report, and Abrams, an executive of a medical supply giant, emailed him and asked him to consider a friend’s pitch to receive an exemption in an ordinance that Emanuel was pursuing to increase the city’s minimum wage.

The ethics board committee made the two violations public Friday but
will not determine how much to fine Abrams and King until after its
meeting next month.

Under the ethics law, lobbyists who fail to register face a $1,000-a-day fine if they don’t register within five days of contacting city officials. That’s designed to create immediate transparency on which interests are seeking to influence potential government actions as city officials are weighing decisions.

Abrams and King would become the second and third individuals to be fined for failing to register as lobbyists this year.