Arlington Heights resident claims elected officials are being 'paid off' by Chicago Bears

Elected officials in Arlington Heights are firing back against claims of being 'paid off' by the Chicago Bears.

The accusations were made during a tense exchange at this week's village board meeting.

The Bears' redevelopment of the Arlington Park Racecourse was not on the agenda, but one resident raised a lot of criticism during public comments.

Debbie Fisher has voiced her opposition to the Bears' proposed $5 billion makeover at previous board meetings. She says the mayor initiated the NFL team's move with a letter sent in 2021 to the Bears, suggesting they consider Arlington Park as a new home.

The team closed on the property agreement last month to buy the track, but their redevelopment proposal is still pending village approval.


However, Fisher accused elected officials of trying to push the deal through without a public vote. 

"Bottom line: My family cannot afford another financial burden, whereas the Chicago Bears can afford the world, and they are paying you off with it," said Fisher

"Let me just say as calmly as I can, I can assure Ms. Fisher and all those watching tonight, that nobody is being paid off as a result of this proposal. I can assure you that is 100 percent the case. That will remain the case no matter how long this proposal remains on the table," said Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes. 

While the Bears have said they plan to privately finance the stadium, they are looking for public help to pay for the rest of the project.

Between that and some issues in their proposal, village trustees say a final approval is a long way away.