• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

Facing lawsuit by white organization owner, Cook County retools grant plan for minorities, females


Mar 18, 2023

A lawsuit by a white North Side businessman has forced Cook County officials to revamp a plan that would have paid out $ten,000 grants to minority- and females-owned organizations hurt by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Announced in 2022, the Supply Develop Grant Plan was to spend out some $71 million in federal COVID relief funds as grants to “historically excluded organizations — like these owned by entrepreneurs of colour, females, veterans, LGBQT+ and persons with a disability — to close racial wealth and chance gaps.”

3 months right after the plan was launched, Edison Park chiropractor Domenic Cusano filed a lawsuit backed by the California-primarily based Pacific Legal Foundation, in search of an injunction to bar the plan from releasing any grants since the plan would “disadvantage his application in comparison to similarly situated applicants who recognize as nonwhite or Hispanic.”

The county received 22,000 applications from organization owners, but no funds had been awarded and county officials this week announced they would redesign the plan and ask applicants to resubmit.

Court records indicate Cusano’s request for an injunction was dismissed earlier this month by the judge since the county had announced the plan was “rescinded” on Feb. 27.

It was not clear from the lawsuit no matter whether Cusano, who stated he identifies as “white and Caucasian,” applied for a Develop Grant, which would have expected him to list his race on the application type and certify that the organization was at least 51% owned by a minority, lady, individual with a disability or veteran. Cusano did not return a telephone get in touch with Friday from the Chicago Sun-Occasions.

“While a motion to dismiss the suit has been filed, a determination by Cook County was created to rescind and restructure the grant,” Preckwinkle spokesman Nick Mathiowdis stated in a statement. “To that finish, and in an work to help little organizations as immediately as doable, we have selected to restructure the grant plan rather than litigate the matter in court.”

The plan would have allotted grants to two,250 applicants. Mathiowdis stated the pool of funding would be elevated in the restructured plan, and will target organizations that had been “disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and historically disinvested communities.”

Enterprises would have to resubmit applications for the grants, Mathiowdis stated.

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