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Emil Jones: White Sox may need to pay higher rent

Fans head gates Opening Day U.S. Cellular Field Thursday April 7 2011 Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Fans head to the gates on Opening Day at U.S. Cellular Field Thursday, April 7, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 23, 2012 4:02AM



Is a battle brewing between the White Sox and the state agency that owns U.S. Cellular Field?

Emil Jones Jr., the head of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, told Crain’s Chicago Business this week that the agency is considering upping the amount the Sox pay in rent — currently $1.5 million annually.

“If you compare (lease terms) to other sports stadiums around the country, the Sox pay the lowest rent of all the facilities,” Jones told Crain’s. “It’s something we’ll be looking at.”

The White Sox had no comment Tuesday.

And a spokesman for Jones, the former Illinois Senate president, said Jones had no plans to comment beyond what he told Crain’s.

Questions about the lease payments come as the Sox prepare to open a new team store, and just a few months after the organization opened up the Bacardi at the Park restaurant — both built on state-owned land, Crain’s reported.

Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Jones chairman of the sports authority earlier this year, replacing former Gov. Jim Thompson. The sports authority was created as part of a deal in the late 1980s to build a new stadium for the Sox and to stop them from taking the team to Florida.



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