LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Actress Drew Barrymore attends the Marni at H&M Collection Launch at Lloyd Wrightâs Sowden House on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Marni and H&M) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\139236811.jpg
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:51AM
Sneed exclusive . . .
Is Armageddon at hand at Chicago State University?
Sneed hears trouble is brewing at the South Side university, which was pockmarked for years by fiscal mismanagement and inept leadership.
◆ At issue: A battle between University President Wayne Watson, the highly respected former chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, and several university board members who reportedly want a new person at the helm.
◆ The buckshot: Watson, who was hired in 2009 to install top-to-bottom management at the fiscally unsound school, was reportedly accused by several board members of violating school policy by being less than candid about a relationship he has with a school employee — even though both of them are single.
◆ The flipshot: Sneed is told pressure was put on Gov. Pat Quinn to get rid of Watson, who, according to two top sources, was getting pushback for trying to instill a culture change at the struggling school by instituting heavier faculty workloads.
◆ The backshot: “There are board members who either want to control Watson or want their own person at the helm and have heavy backers who are major donors to Gov. Quinn,” said a Watson supporter. “It’s as simple as that.”
The Ryan report . . .
Former Gov. George Ryan, who is still adjusting from prison life to being back in Kankakee, is celebrating his 79th birthday this weekend at home with his large family — and a large banana cream pie.
The McCarthy file . . .
Tick. Tock. Shock! The clock may be ticking on Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s tenure at the helm of the Chicago Police Department due to frustrated black aldermen whose wards have become shooting targets — but one of them shocked Sneed with this off-the-wall comment:
“At least Mayor Daley would just get rid of a police superintendent if we wanted him to.”
Ya gotta be kidding.
The Peterson file . . .
The Drew stew: Sneed is told convicted wife-murderer Drew Peterson once indicated that as an ex-cop who dealt with narcotics, he’d like to counsel former drug addicts in prison.
◆ Now there’s an idea that likely won’t happen at Peterson’s new home, the hardcore Pontiac Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison that houses street gangs who get “juice” (respect) in da joint for making life miserable for ex-cops.
Oscarmania . . .
Random thoughts and observations before Oscarmania takes place Sunday night.
◆ Oscar dog? Will the stuffed dog purse carried by the youngest Oscar nominee, 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis — star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” — take the place once occupied by Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who starred in last year’s best picture winner, “The Artist”?
◆ “Silver Linings” feedback? Will “Silver Linings Playbook” co-stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence choose their red carpet entrance to confirm they are dating?
◆ Will two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman, who is presenting at the awards this year, still down his usual shots of tequila in the limo on his way to the Oscars?
Downton blabby . . .
Now comes word quirky actress Shirley MacLaine is not replying to an entreaty by “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes to reprise her role on the hit PBS series. In case you forgot, she’s the American heiress mother who funded the Downton digs.
$$$$: Rahm is rakin’ it in!
◆ Translation: At last peek Friday, the spearheading effort begun on Tuesday (at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s request) by basketball legend Isiah Thomas to fund a year-round basketball program for kids at risk operated by the Chicago Park District raised $31,600 from online small-dollar donations.
◆ Rahm’s private-sector challenge to expand at-risk programs for kids raised $100,000 from the Gary and Denise Gardner Foundation on Wednesday — and $240,000 from the Sammons Financial Group by Friday.