Reporting this week indicates that Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) rents his home district office space from a convicted cocaine dealer once connected to a Chicago drug crime organization.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday that Davis’s campaign has been issuing $600 checks regularly to Mario’s Butcher Shop, according to federal election records. The butcher shop is registered as a corporation with only two directors, Mariano “Mario” Lettieri and his wife.
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The corporation was directly involved in Lettieri’s drug trafficking conviction in 1990. The checks issued to Mario’s Butcher Shop are designated for “office rent.”
Lettieri has been reportedly “tied to a crime syndicate” by the Chicago Tribune over the years. He was sentenced to almost 16 years in prison after he was convicted of acting as the primary wholesale supplier of cocaine to a major Chicago crime organization operated by an ex-police officer.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleged that Lettieri moved as much as 80 pounds of cocaine while under surveillance for a six-month period. His butcher shop was used as a packing house for heroin being shipped into Chicago. Undercover agents said that the shop used “rib-eye steaks” as code for discussing prices for illegal drugs.
Davis has been a vocal advocate for toughening drug laws and enforcement during his time in Congress. In 2006, he worked to secure $4 million in emergency aid to Cook County for heroin interdiction.
The congressman announced just last year that he was heading up a group of drug abuse prevention organizations in the Chicago area to address the opioid crisis.
Davis’s chief of staff Tumia Romero refused to provide details to reporters about the “rent” payments made to Mario’s Butcher Shop. She did say that the congressman “believes in giving people second chances.”
Davis is close with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and attended the 2012 dedication of the Church of Scientology’s lobbying office in Washington.
Davis has served from Illinois’ 7th Congressional District since 1997. He faced a difficult primary challenge this year in his reelection bid. Thanks to an endorsement from Joe Biden, he won his primary contest by a close margin. He is now expected to easily win the general election in November in his overwhelmingly Democratic district.