THE WATCHDOGS: A wealthy North Shore family with deep ties to Mayor Rahm Emanuel stands to make a fortune over former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s failed Olympic dream. It’s a financial nightmare, though, for Chicago taxpayers, who now owe the Mills family more than $111 million for a 37-acre site along Lake Michigan that was home to Michael Reese Hospital at 29th and Ellis before the city bought it as part of Daley’s plan to lure the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.
The Cubs got the go-ahead Wednesday to schedule 35 night games per season at Wrigley Field — and add eight more, including three Saturday nights, to accommodate national television — in exchange for added security and free remote parking. But the City Council’s License Committee put off a vote that would allow the team to sell beer and wine from kiosks at an open-air plaza adjacent to a renovated Wrigley. f
After an exhaustive forensic audit, consultants have concluded that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s indicted former City Comptroller Amer Ahmad did not defraud Chicago taxpayers like he is accused of doing in Ohio. The 47-page report was jointly prepared by the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and the Grant Thornton accounting firm.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has blamed his predecessor — without mentioning Richard M. Daley by name — for everything from the financial crisis and lopsided parking meter deal he inherited to the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals that cost the city millions. But when it comes to eradicating the plague of domestic violence, Emanuel is following in Daley’s footsteps.
Gov. Pat Quinn Monday championed a landmark pension-reform deal and vouched for its constitutionality as he and legislative leaders frantically prepared for what the governor called “the most important fiscal vote” lawmakers will ever make.
Calling himself a “scapegoat” for a political hiring system that continues to this day, Chicago’s convicted former Streets and Sanitation commissioner Al Sanchez filed nominating petitions Monday for a seat on the Cook County Board.
Joseph Meier isn’t a magician, but he says he managed to squeeze $40 in CTA fare credit out of a single $10 bill at a Ventra vending machine this month. Meier says the same $10 bill was rejected three times before the Ventra machine accepted the bill. But when he checked the card’s balance, it was $40.
Medical marijuana dispensaries and growing centers would be confined to Chicago’s planned manufacturing districts and require special-use permits and a minimum number of parking spaces under legislation proposed Tuesday. On Jan. 1, Illinois will become the 20th U.S. state to allow medical use of marijuana. Patients with a doctor’s prescription will be allowed to purchase and possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana during a two-week period.
The Cubs would be allowed to sell beer and wine from kiosks at an open-air plaza adjacent to a renovated Wrigley Field — and fans would be allowed to bring drinks in plastic cups to the plaza — in the latest in a string of concessions to the team.
Chicago will have the nation’s highest state and local tax on cigarettes — and use $75 million in police overtime to mask a manpower shortage — thanks to a $7 billion 2014 budget that sailed through the City Council Tuesday on a 45-5 vote. “No” votes were cast by Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nick Sposato (36th) and John Arena (45th).
Two months ago, the Illinois Medical District Commission picked Jack Higgins, a developer with close ties to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, to develop a $175 million project on the West Side. On Friday, Higgins abruptly walked away from the deal over questions about his personal finances — including $2.5 million he and his wife owe the Internal Revenue Service.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday shaved a quarter off his 75-cents-a-pack cigarette tax hike to appease black aldermen concerned about street corner sales of loose cigarettes, but buried a $25 million plan to hire hundreds of additional police officers instead of relying so heavily on overtime.
SPRINGFIELD — Last summer, in a little-publicized $311,000 consulting deal with the Illinois State Board of Education, former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas offered a financial blueprint to turn around the nearly bankrupt North Chicago school district. Teachers weren’t happy. To avert insolvency in North Chicago Community Unit District 187 by 2015, he recommended closing four schools and laying off 39 percent of the district’s workforce.
Chicago would ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited and snuff out the sale of menthol and flavored tobacco products in a wider area around schools, under a mayoral crackdown timed to coincide with a 75 percent cigarette tax hike.
Chicago taxpayers will spend $7.6 million — maybe more — to bankroll a new four-year contract with police sergeants, thanks to an arbitrator’s award advanced Friday that’s almost certain to be reopened.
The Cubs got the go-ahead Thursday to take another ten feet of street and sidewalk — and sell advertising on a “branding arch” over Clark Street — over the objections of residents who live around 99-year-old Wrigley Field.