Staff 2024-04-15T11:30:41+00:00



Jessica Caffrey, Executive Director |

Jessica Caffrey brings more than two decades of Real Estate leadership and hands-on experience to her role at Cook County Land Bank Authority.  After holding a series of progressive leadership roles within the County Government, she became Executive Director of CCLBA with dynamism and innovative intention. Under Caffrey’s leadership, the Land Bank continues to demonstrate its mission that there is a robust market for naturally occurring affordable housing in every community.

Before leading the CCLBA, Caffrey led the Real Estate portfolio for Cook County’s Offices under the President, which included 234 unique properties that covered over 19 million square feet.  Caffrey spearheaded the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the historically significant Old Cook County Hospital which was transformed into offices and a hotel and helped bring the Cook County Board of Commissioners vision into reality.  Caffrey managed and executed real estate acquisitions and dispositions on behalf of the County, which included negotiations, procurement, and executing all aspects of transitions from valuation to long-term strategic planning.

Before joining Cook County Government in 2012, Caffrey worked for the Chicago Housing Authority where among other responsibilities, she strategically planned and coordinated the redevelopment process for the Oakwood Shores community.  During this time, she managed a $200M redevelopment program to create a mixed-income community at the former Madden Park/Ida B. Wells site, and Altgeld Gardens creating more than 11,800 housing units in the process. As a widely respected real estate leader, Caffrey has a proven track record in successfully managing complex real estate initiatives and devising and implementing comprehensive strategic plans for property development.

Having now led the CCLBA for over a year Caffrey’s diligence has made an ineffaceable mark on the County.  Under Caffrey’s leadership, CCLBA has preserved and increased home values, helped return approximately $5M annually in property tax revenue to Cook County, and induced upwards of $14M in private sector investment in tax-distressed properties.  The result is an estimated $10.02 to $15.86 in economic impact to Cook County during FY 23, for every dollar from the Land Bank’s budget.

Caffrey received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and her Master of Science in Real Estate from Roosevelt University. Caffrey is also an alumni fellow of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy’s prestigious Civic Leadership Academy. Most importantly, she is a proud mom to two and resides in the City of Chicago.




Darlene Dugo, Deputy Director |

Darlene A. Dugo joined the Cook County Land Bank Authority in July 2016. She is responsible for overseeing property acquisition and disposition, and developing new strategies to assist the CCLBA acquire new properties and ready these properties for productive use. In this role, she works with other CCLBA staff and outside developers and private and public stakeholders.  In her position, Darlene also provides strategic leadership to the organization as part of the senior management team.

Darlene comes to the Cook County Land Bank Authority from Mercy Portfolio Services, a subsidiary of Mercy Housing, Inc. where she served (2009-2016) as Vice President responsible for operations, management, and oversight of the City of Chicago’s $168 Million Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Award.

For more than a decade-and-a-half before joining Mercy Portfolio Services, Darlene served as Regional Director, Housing and Community Development for Fannie Mae. Darlene was responsible for business development activities and operations for an 18-state Central Region with 20 Community Business Centers. Working through these centers, she helped to build public and private partnerships with lenders, developers, not-for-profits, housing finance authorities and municipalities.

Darlene received a Master’s of Science in Communications from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Finance from DePaul University.  She is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Managing Broker.


Alex Simmons, Planning Analyst  |

Alex Simmons was hired as the CCLBA’s Planning Analyst and is responsible for conducting research, supporting strategic property acquisitions, and serving as the CCLBA’s liaison to planning projects and coalitions in Cook County. He is also responsible for maintaining the CCLBA’s website and providing ArcGIS and other spatial mapping analyses.

Prior to joining the CCLBA, Alex served as the Assistant Planner for the Village of Machesney Park, Illinois, where he conducted plan and building reviews, supervised the ArcGIS Department, and served as the primary zoning official for the Village. Prior to working at the Village, Alex was Planning Associate at Teska Associates, Inc., where he worked on a myriad of planning projects including but not limited to comprehensive planning, TIF, TOD, economic development, and corridor planning.

Alex received his Dual Master’s in Urban Design & Urban Planning from the University of Michigan in 2011, and his Bachelor of Arts in European History in 2008, also from the University of Michigan.

Elisha Sanders, Senior Acquisition Manager |

Elisha Sanders joined CCLBA as an Acquisitions Specialist, responsible for specializes in evaluating and acquiring property for the CCLBA.

Elisha joins us with over 16 years of banking experience in corporate and commercial (investment) banking.  Elisha has worked with major and community banks in various roles throughout the loan cycle—originations, monitoring performing and non-performing loans, foreclosures along with the acquisitions of bank owned property.

Elisha strong real estate background, interpersonal skills and knowledge of the community will be invaluable in helping CCLBA make a positive impact on ensuring the mission of CCLBA is accomplished. She also possesses a passion for providing value to the community.

Elisha holds a B.A. in Business Management from Robert Morris University, experience in Grant Writing and she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at The University of Illinois at Chicago.


Anthony Blakely, Acquisitions Specialist |

Tony joined the CCLBA in May 2017 after serving the real estate community in various positions over the last 20 years.  His most recent endeavor was the creation of a real estate company where sales volume grew to $30 M in 8 years.

Prior to entrepreneurship, Tony worked for Fannie Mae as their Middle Regional Field Specialist, covering 11 states within the National Property Disposition Center.  For over a decade, his duties included: REO vendor management, field quality control oversight, property valuation, and marketing issues.  Tony prides himself on, “improving communities one home at a time,” and sees the CCLBA as a broader platform to continue his mission driven work!

Tony holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign, and is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Managing Broker.

Daniel Taylor, Senior Finance Business Manager |

Daniel Taylor joined CCLBA as an Asset Manager in July 2018. He is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of real estate assets acquired by the Cook County Land Bank Authority. With over a decade of banking and real estate experience, his professional career includes non-profit community development, retail bank branch development, commercial lending, and REO asset management.

Daniel comes to CCLBA from Seaway Bank and Trust Company where he was a Special Assets Officer responsible for managing the financial performance and providing asset management for non-performing and REO assets in Illinois and Wisconsin. Daniel also provided revenue and expense analysis from asset dispositions and detailed forecasts for optimal sales performance. Daniel is a strategic leader with proven ability to identify operational weaknesses, restructure processes, and improve performance inefficiencies.

Daniel currently holds a Master of Science in Business Analytics from DePaul University.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from DePaul University and is a licensed Home Inspector with the State of Illinois.

Gene - Bio

Gene Kelley, Senior Asset Manager |

Gene Kelley started with Cook County Land Bank Authority in April, 2017.  As a Senior Asset Manager, Gene oversees the preservation of properties acquired by CCLBA until they are sold to an end user for revitalization.  Once sold, Gene monitors the rehabilitation construction of the properties to ensure CCLBA’s standards are being upheld.  In addition, Gene coordinates and supervises the demolition of blight structures acquired by CCLBA.

Prior to joining CCLBA, Gene spent 14 years with Standard Bank and Trust Company in various roles.  Most recently, he managed Standard Bank’s portfolio of REO properties where he was charged with preservation and disposition of the assets.  He also performed draw inspections on a number of Standard Bank’s construction loans.

Gene holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Certificate in Construction Management from Purdue University Northwest.

Alejandro Alvarado, Asset Manager |

Alejandro (Alex) Alvarado joined CCLBA as an Asset Manager in October 2019. He is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of real estate assets acquired by the Cook County Land Bank Authority. With over twenty years of banking and real estate experience, his professional career includes non-profit community outreach involvement, trust real estate asset management, and residential rehab project management.


Prior to joining CCLBA, Alex was an active real estate agent working with Chicago neighborhood non-profit organizations as a voice for community empowerment.  His main focus was educating first time home buyers and guiding them through their first real estate purchase.  Prior to his real estate license, Alex worked as an asset manager for Northern Trust Co.


Alex is also a veteran of The United States Air Force.  He joined in November 1991 and was honorably discharged on June 1995.  He continued in the Air Force Reserve until his final separation on April 2004.  His career in the Air Force was Financial Services Specialist.  He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield and Operation Restore Freedom after 9/11.


Alex holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as well as an Associate’s Degree in Construction Management from Kennedy King College-Dawson Institute. 


John Golliday III, Acquisitions Specialist |

John joined CCLBA with over 10 years of experience serving the real estate community in various positions. He began his career working with residential developers and first-time home buyers.

Prior to joining CCLBA John has experience working in corporate commercial real estate consulting and brokerage managing national corporate relationships to implement business solutions focused on real estate. He has represented one-off and Fortune 500 organizations in portfolio management including the site selection, market analysis and negotiations of acquisitions & dispositions of commercial & industrial real estate. Assisting clients as they considered options to relocate, expand, and consolidate facilities within the United States.

John holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker.

Kevin Garvey, Asset Manager |

Kevin joined CCLBA in November 2023 as an Aset Manager, responsible for overseeing a portfolio of properties owned by the Land Bank and bringing them back into productive use. He has worked in various sectors of affordable housing, real estate, and community development since 2009.

Prior to CCLBA, Kevin managed a portfolio of 350 rental properties at Green Ivy Property Management, as well as redeveloping vacant properties through the Troubled Buildings Initiative at Neighborhood Housing Services and providing foreclosure prevention counseling at Rogers Park Community Development Corporation.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Kevin holds a degree in Urban Planning from UIC and is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker.


Claudette Shivers, Closing Specialist |

Claudette Shivers joined the CCLBA as a closing specialist with 8+ years’ experience in real estate, delinquent tax properties, REO and distressed properties. She is responsible for assisting with the process of obtaining and drafting the legal documentation for the property acquisitions and dispositions.

Claudette has managed all phases of the closing process from getting transfer tax stamps to obtaining deeds for the client. Throughout her career, in real estate she has successfully closed on over a 1000 properties.

Claudette began working for the County in January of 2015 as a paralegal in the labor division of the Bureau of Human Resources Department. Claudette has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a paralegal certificate from South Suburban College, an ABA approved program.

Jennifer Hubbard-Lyles, Administrative Assistant IV |

Earnestine Cain-Hill, Executive Assistant |

Kathleen McKee, Senior Legal Counsel |