Lightfoot chooses 24th Ward replacement for Michael Scott Jr.; all signs point to Scott’s sister, Monique

Sources said Lightfoot met Thursday with three finalists: Monique Scott, the former alderman’s sister; Trina Mangrum, chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin (28th); and former Chicago Bulls player Wallace “Mickey” Johnson.

SHARE Lightfoot chooses 24th Ward replacement for Michael Scott Jr.; all signs point to Scott’s sister, Monique
Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) laughs with Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a news conference at St. Agatha Catholic Church on the South Side to unveil the city’s new utility billing relief program, Friday morning, Nov. 1, 2019.

Then-Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot hare a laugh during a news conference in 2019. Scott’s sister, Monique, is said to be Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pick to succeed him.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

The City Council’s Rules Committee will meet Tuesday to confirm Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s second appointment to fill an aldermanic vacancy with all signs pointing to the sister of newly departed Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th).

Sources said Lightfoot met Thursday with three finalists recommended by a three-person screening committee: Monique Scott, the former alderman’s sister; Trina Mangrum, chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin (28th); and former Chicago Bulls player Wallace “Mickey” Johnson.

A City Hall source would only say it was “looking good” for Monique Scott after an impressive one-on-one interview.

Michael Scott Jr. said Friday he’s hopeful Lightfoot will choose his sister and not steer clear of Monique Scott simply because it would look like yet another example of Chicago political nepotism.

“If people have apprehension to that, they can always show their frustration, anger or dismay at the ballot box,” said Michael Scott Jr., who resigned from the City Council to become director of industry and community relations at Cinespace Studios.

“If she did not have the name ‘Scott’ attached to her, she would still be the best-qualified candidate in that pool. … And it should not matter that she is my sister. Punishing her because she is my sister would be equally unfair and unjust.”

Monique Scott, 50, could not be reached for comment.

Michael Scott Jr. and his sister, Monique Scott

Michael Scott Jr. and his sister, Monique Scott

Provided

She followed in her father’s and brother’s footsteps by joining the Chicago Park District, where she’s a supervisor at Ellis Park. Before that, she owned a women’s clothing boutique in Lincoln Park and served as an executive at UPS.

She also coaches the North Lawndale Eagles cheerleading team.

By resigning early and withholding his endorsement of Lightfoot’s re-election bid, Michael Scott Jr. hoped to persuade the mayor to appoint his sister and give her a leg up on what is expected to be a crowded field of candidates in the aldermanic election now just over eight months away.

Rules Committee Chair Michelle Harris (8th) has scheduled a committee meeting for 2 p.m. Tuesday to consider the mayor’s “direct introduction” of the new 24th Ward alderperson.

Harris did not return calls or text messages. The mayor’s office refused to comment.

Michael Scott Jr. was deeply disappointed when Lightfoot chose Rosa Escareno to replace fired Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly. Lightfoot had promised a nationwide search, which would have allowed Scott to pursue what he calls his “dream job.”

This time around, he’s hoping to be elated by the mayor’s choice of his sister.

“We’re vastly different. I’m more like my father, and she’s more like my mother. Very passionate. Very outspoken. She will tell you what’s wrong. But she’s a very kind and giving person. She’d give you the shirt off her back,” the retired alderperson said.

“She has a lot of love to give to the 24th Ward. It’s something we were both raised to do. We just exude it a little bit differently. Her abilities, her education, her knowledge of this community puts her in a really good position to serve.”

During Michael Scott’s nearly two terms as alderperson, the city identified a developer for the notorious Silver Shovel dump site at Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue.

Plans call for a distribution center and light manufacturing, creating at least 250 new jobs.

The Lawndale Christian Development Corp., in partnership with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, has an ambitious plan to build 1,000 homes over the next 10 years on what are now city-owned vacant lots in the eastern portion of the 24th Ward. Groundbreaking is expected this summer.

East Lake Management and Grace Memorial Development Corp. plan to build a 56-unit, all-affordable residential building in place of a police parking lot at Ogden and Homan avenues.

The West Side ward, decimated by riots after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also has been buoyed by the plan known as Lawndale Redefined. It’s a mixed-use development, complete with affordable and market-rate housing, a restaurant and a small convenience market.

The North Lawndale Employment Network got a $2.5 million grant to build a state-of-the-art workforce campus at Roosevelt and Homan.

Michael Scott Jr. argued his sister is uniquely poised to maintain that momentum.

“She wouldn’t miss a beat. I wouldn’t allow her to miss a beat. I’d stay on top of her — even if that means double-duty for me. The community is worth the double-duty,” he said.

Michael Scott Sr. was an all-purpose troubleshooter for former Mayor Richard M. Daley, serving as president of the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Park District.

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