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SNEED: Rosemont mayor wants a piece of the McCormick Place arena

Gropening new Rivers Casino DesPlaines brought thousands be part  history making day.  Mayor Brad Stephens Rosemont was attendence.

Grand opening of the new Rivers Casino in DesPlaines brought thousands to be part of the history making day. Mayor Brad Stephens of Rosemont was in attendence. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: June 18, 2013 8:31AM



Sneed exclusive . . .

The Rosemont ruckus . . .

Mayor Brad Stephens of Rosemont wants to play piggyback.

The savvy wheeler-dealer who says his village generates truckloads of state tax money that’s shipped down I-55 to Springfield each year, tells Sneed he wants “to piggyback” on the new legislative action involving massive redevelopment plans for McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

“We want meat off the bone,” Stephens told Sneed. “If the legislative bone contains $500 million for McCormick Place, then there should be $100 million for us!”

The affable but persistent Stephens, who is known for getting his phone calls returned by Springfield’s top pols with whom he power lunches, also wants to be “invited to the legislative table” chewing the fat off the bone.

“We are a big generator of tax money and tax revenue and should be on an equal playing field,” he said. “A sales tax backstop on the $5 million incentive money to attract convention business we receive from the state might be in order. Let’s talk.”

The loss of the DePaul University Blue Demons basketball team at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena now that plans are to build a $173 million basketball arena at McCormick Place “did not shatter me,” said Stephens.

“DePaul was always upfront with us,” he said. “Things come to an end. They were a great tenant, but not a great moneymaker. And if they think this is right, than they should go. I will be one of the first people to attend their first game at their new stadium,” he said.

“But new legislation dealing with expansion of convention business at McCormick Place will impact us and something should be provided to benefit our convention center in Rosemont,” he told Sneed.

◆ The flipshot: Stephens wanted Sneed to know the reason the largest DePaul graduation is taking place at McCormick Place this year — instead of its usual location at the Allstate Arena — has nothing to do with the rumor of him having a “snitfit” due to the DePaul loss reported in Sneed’s column Wednesday. “My son graduates from DePaul this year. It was a total problem caused by a DePaul scheduler. And when they discovered their mistake, it was too late for us to cancel our WWE booking. There were no sour grapes.”

State of the union . . .

Stop & shop: While President Obama was fending off foes blasting him for snooping into the phone records of AP reporters and playing politics with the IRS, his senior advisor/best friend Valerie Jarrett was spotted lunching Tuesday at Fred’s eatery inside the Barney’s New York shop — before alerting her Secret Service protectors she’d be making a “stop on two” to get a little designer shopping in before she left.

The Tiger file . . .

What’s in a word? Plenty. Golfing legend Tiger Woods, who used to hang out on his private yacht called “Privacy” with ex-wife Elin Nordegren, was spotted hanging out with girlfriend/skiing star Lindsey Vonn on a yacht named “Solitude” near his home in Palm Beach, Fla., this week.

The Sanford file . . .

Ah, coincidence: Newly elected Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina was sworn in Wednesday in Washington, D.C., with new fiancee Maria Belen Chapur at his side.

◆ Meanwhile, a gala in Washington, D.C., also was held Wednesday for the Conservancy of the Appalachian Trail, the place Sanford said he was — when he was actually visiting Chapur, his secret mistress, in Argentina. These kinds of things tend to make Sneed’s day.

Rahm ’em . . .

Mr. Itch & twitch: Sneed City Hall sources claim someone needs to tell Mayor Rahm Emanuel to settle down. Rahm reportedly has a severe case of the shpilkes ever since a recent newspaper poll showed him on the downswing in the popularity department.

Sneedlings . . .

Stork talk: Congrats to Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur and husband Jesus Rosales on the birth of their first child: a son who has yet to be named. . . Friday’s birthdays: Bob Saget, 57; Sugar Ray Leonard, 57, and Nikki Reed, 25.



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