Emanuel dumps Daley nephew, 2 others, from sports stadium board
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org November 18, 2011 1:19AM
Bacardi at the Park outside U.S. Cellular Field for a story on the dumping of the entire Illinois Sports Facilites Board. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: December 19, 2011 8:24AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is dumping all three city members of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority — including former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew — in a housecleaning that could set the stage to renegotiate the White Sox lease, modify its restaurant deal and, possibly, have the state acquire and renovate Wrigley Field.
Peter Q. Thompson, the Daley nephew currently serving as CEO of Perkins Investment Management, will be swept out along with banker Alvin Boutte and attorney William Power.
Joining the seven-member board in their places will be: Jim Reynolds, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Loop Capital Markets; Norm Bobins, the former school board president and retired chairman of LaSalle Bank Corporation and Chris Melvin, chairman and CEO of Melvin & Co.
Reynolds currently serves as board chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority, where he followed Emanuel’s orders to dump CEO Lewis Jordan amid allegations that Jordan had misused a CHA credit. Emanuel is expected to find a replacement for Reynolds at the CHA.
The mayor has charged his three new appointees with reforming the stadium authority, streamlining its operations and making the agency more accountable to Chicago and Illinois taxpayers.
As a first step, none of the new members will accept the perks that come with the job: discounted tickets; free food and beverages; special parking privileges and access to skyboxes for non-charity events.
“ISFA plays an important role in supporting Chicago’s sports teams and fans across the city, but they should be driven by a commitment to serve taxpayers and be accountable to their best interests,” the mayor said in a statement.
“Throughout their careers, these three appointees have established a proven track record of managing finances of large and small organizations with integrity. I am confident they will help bring needed reform to ISFA.”
Despite Emanuel’s ouster of Thompson, the two men both attended Thursday’s wedding of Elizabeth “Lally” Daley, the former mayor’s daughter, at Spiaggia.
Thompson could not be reached for comment. He helped his uncle raise more than $7 million in less than three months on Daley’s way to a sixth term landslide that would turn out to be Daley’s last.
A few months later, Daley rewarded Thompson with an appointment to the authority that built U.S. Cellular Field. Thompson, a die-hard Sox fan, was reappointed in 2009 for a term due to expire next July. Power, whose term was to expire in July 2013, resigned. Boutte’s term had already expired.
Emanuel has been sharply critical of the lucrative restaurant deal that paved the way for taxpayers to spend $7 million to build Bacardi in the Park across the street from the Cell without sharing in the proceeds. Instead, the gravy goes to Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and his investors.
The mayor has also hinted that he might support stadium authority chairman Emil Jones in his desire to renegotiate a lease that requires the Sox to pay just $1.5 million in annual rent — with additional payments tied to ticket sales — and gives taxpayers no share of concessions, parking or other stadium receipts.
The stadium authority built U.S. Cellular Field to stave off a threatened Sox move to St. Petersburg, Fla. Although the state owns the stadium, no events can be held there without the team’s consent.
Once Emanuel makes his mark on a stadium authority controlled by four gubernatorial appointees, there’s another possibility.
His board members could attempt to revive a failed 2008 plan to have the state acquire and renovate Wrigley Field. Emanuel wants to find a way to save 97-year-old Wrigley without forfeiting 35 years’ worth of amusement tax growth. The mayor has called that Cubs’ plan a “non-starter.”