After creating traffic jams with offer of free gas, mayoral hopeful Willie Wilson said he will do it again — this time offering $1 million worth
Wilson said he will also expand the number of stations involved in the March 24 giveaway to 50, with some of them in the suburbs as well as Chicago.
A day after creating traffic jams with his offer of free gas, businessman and mayoral candidate Willie Wilson said Friday he will do it again next week — and this time he will be giving away $1 million worth.
“When we are down at Grant Park with 100,000 people for a rock concert, people don’t seem to be concerned about that,” Wilson said Friday, in response to those who might be worried about the traffic.
Wilson said he will also expand the number of stations involved in the giveaway to 50, with some of them in the suburbs as well as Chicago. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. March 24 and last until the money runs out.
Thursday’s giveaway involved $200,000 at 10 stations in the city, tying up traffic and police for hours during the morning commute. There were scattered reports over police radio of people cutting in line and arguing, but no major confrontations were reported by police and fire officials.
However, some complained that Wilson created hazardous traffic tie-ups for a publicity stunt. Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) called the giveaway at a station in Rogers Park “irresponsible and reckless.”
The city does not require a business license or permit to host gas giveaways, despite the deployment of police to control the lines of cars. Wilson has said he would work with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Wilson said the stations participating in the giveaway on March 24 will be in the city as well as some suburbs, but no list has been released yet. The stations will also be lowering their gas prices, he said.
Volunteers will pump the free gas for motorists, and Wilson urged the “press, elected officials and clergy” to join in.
Asked why he doesn’t hand out gift cards, perhaps to avoid traffic jams, Wilson said: “Everyone has a way they like doing things. ... But I always tell people, if you want to do something your way, you put up your money and do it your way.”