Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson spent $30,000 on personal grooming in one year: report

Chicago’s progressive mayor Brandon Johnson spent a jaw-dropping $30,000 in campaign finance funds on personal grooming since launching his bid for office, according to a report.

Johnson used the money his supporters contributed to his Friends of Brandon Johnson campaign fund to pay for makeup and hair appointments, The Chicago Sun Times reported.

Nearly all of the money went to makeup artist and “skincare enthusiast” Denise Milloy, who operates Makeup Majic from a home in the south side, according to a campaign finance report.

Between 2023 and 2024 he made more than 30 payments to the business.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson reportedly spent $30,000 on hair and makeup over the last year. AJ Styles Barber & Beauty Salon/Facebook

Before he was elected in April 2023, the payments were listed as “Candidate makeup for TV” or  “Makeup retainer” — however since becoming mayor the makeup payments were only vaguely declared as “event expenses,” according to the newspaper.

Milloy told the Sun Times she’s “not at liberty” to discuss work or the money from Johnson’s campaign.

Johnson’s campaign spokesperson had previously boasted how a majority of the mayor’s campaign contributions came from “working class people” and from labor unions, who funneled cash into his progressive campaign.

Johnson listed most of the personal grooming payments as “event expenses.” AP

“The mayor does not spend taxpayer dollars in preparation for the many public appearances and events he attends every day,” Johnson campaign adviser Bill Neidhardt said in a written statement.

“Instead, he is using his own campaign funds to pay Black- and women-owned businesses a fair wage in compensation for their work in preparing the mayor and individuals associated with the campaign for public appearances, events, media segments and other availabilities,” he said.

Neidbardt also noted that “hair and makeup services are commonplace among high-ranking public officials.”

Johnson’s campaign paid AJ Styles Barber & Beauty Salon $4,000. Google Maps

However, Johnson appears to spend an arm and a leg more than other prominent local leaders — notably his predecessor, Lori Lightfoot, who made four payments to an Evanston business of roughly $2,000 total for “event-makeup services” in her campaign fillings last year, according to the Sun Times.

Among the payments listed in the expenditure report is a $4,000 listing from Johnson’s campaign to a Palatine, Illinois beauty salon called Anthony Jones Salon on March 27 for “event expenses.”

Anthony Jones, who owns Anthony Jones Salon, told the paper he never received the money and has never worked with Johnson’s campaign.

Johnson became Mayor of Chicago in May 2023 after defeating incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Neidhardt said the report was a mistake. They provided the name of the business to a vendor who completed the campaign’s finance reports for the disclosure filing made to the Illinois State Board of Elections, “and they wrote down the wrong one,” he said.

The report should have listed AJ Styles Barber & Beauty Salon on the West Side as receiving the payment, which was for “hair and makeup” and involved “multiple events,” he said.

The filing will be fixed to say so, Neidhardt said.

Johnson, the former Cook County Commissioner, and moderate Democratic candidate Paul Vallas handedly defeated incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot in Feb. 2023, but neither received the necessary 50% of the vote. Johnson then defeated Vallas in a runoff election in April.

Lightfoot’s reelection bid faltered over surging crime during her tenure in the Windy City.

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