In the last decade she has built a thriving business selling houses and condos, many of which couldn't have been built without zoning changes the developers sought from the 40th Ward alderman—her husband, Patrick O'Connor.
Barbara O'Connor has sold more than $22 million worth of houses and condos in the O'Connors' home ward after the projects first got a thumbs up from her husband. And she has sold homes worth millions of dollars in other parts of the city for developers who at one time or another have come to her husband for help.
It's a situation unique to Chicago, where neighborhood projects live or die on the word of the local alderman, and decisions made long before any public meetings are ultimately rubber-stamped by the City Council.
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