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Taxpayers' millions lure conventions to McCormick Place, Rosemont

THE WATCHDOGS: When conventions and trade shows threaten to leave McCormick Place or Rosemont for Orlando, Las Vegas or elsewhere, convention center officials sweeten the pot, tapping a pool of taxpayer money they guard so tightly they’ve tried to keep secret how it’s spent, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

The Watchdogs: Rauner splashing cash around to help fellow Republicans

THE WATCHDOGS: Even as he has poured $9.6 million of his own money into his campaign, Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, also has been dippping more heavily into his personal wealth to help finance GOP candidates and groups, records show.

The Watchdogs: Chicago Board of Ed President David Vitale’s bank would benefit from charter-school deal

THE WATCHDOGS: David Vitale, the president of the Chicago Board of Education, runs a bank that stands to benefit from a proposal for a new charter school on the South Side that’s set to come before the school board for approval later this month.

Cop fired over 2009 death sues to get his job back

A Chicago police sergeant fired this month over the 2009 death of a woman he says shot herself with his gun while the two drank together sued the city Monday to try to get his job back. Steven E. Lesner, 48, said the Chicago Police Board’s July 17 decision to fire him was “clearly erroneous.”

Legislative I.G. has financial ties to Madigan, other lawmakers

THE WATCHDOGS: J. William Roberts' mix of political and prosecutorial experience was key to getting the job of legislative inspector general. But it could raise questions about his ability to impartially investigate lawmakers, including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Daley will not be called to testify in Park Grill trial

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley won't have to testify in City Hall’s lawsuit to break a contract the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park was awarded under Daley.

City Hall fighting cop ex-Supt. Cline refused to punish

THE WATCHDOGS: In one of his last acts before retiring from the Chicago Police Department, Supt. Phil Cline refused to discipline a detective who had submitted fraudulent documents to City Hall so he could operate a valet company, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Police Board: Fired cop’s ‘reprehensible’ conduct led to woman’s death

Calling his conduct “reprehensible,” the Chicago Police Board fired Sgt. Steven Lesner because his failure to secure his gun “led directly” to the death of a Northwest Side woman, the board said in a ruling Friday. Read More

The Watchdogs: West Side liquor-license flap a study in clout

The new Pete’s Fresh Market on the West Side sells liquor — even though it’s next door to a church, and state law bans liquor sales within 100 feet of churches and schools. So how can Pete’s sell beer, wine and spirits? With a little help from influential friends including Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who’s gotten tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the grocer in the past two years.

Insider in Park Grill deal didn’t reveal baby’s father

Laura Foxgrover, a Chicago Park District official who oversaw concessions, testified Thursday that “I never put it in writing that I was having a baby with Matthew O’Malley,” who was then negotiating the biggest concession deal in park district history, the Park Grill restaurant’s 30-year lease at Millennium Park.

Judge to Daley lawyers: Show me why former mayor shouldn’t testify in Park Grill case

A Cook County judge told lawyers for former Mayor Richard M. Daley on Tuesday they need to show a medical reason why Daley shouldn’t be required to testify in the city’s case that seeks to break a sweetheart deal the Park Grill restaurant got under the former mayor to operate at Millennium Park.

Exclusive: City Hall’s financial time bomb

Already facing a host of financial worries, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration could be stuck with a nearly $200 million tab as a result of betting heavily on risky interest-rate “swaps” under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

FBI raids on Concept Schools included Rogers Park school, Des Plaines offices

FBI raids targeting Concept Schools included the national charter-school operator’s Des Plaines headquarters and a school in Rogers Park.

Sun-Times takes top honors in 2 news contests

Chicago Sun-Times staffers have taken top honors in two statewide journalism competitions.

Chicago police sergeant says ‘I feel terrible’ about woman’s death involving his gun

A Chicago police sergeant facing a suspension or firing testified Friday he feels “terrible” about the death of a Northwest Side woman he said used his gun to shoot herself in the head while he was in her bathroom. “I feel terrible for my mistake,” Sgt. Steven Lesner told a Chicago Police Board hearing officer reviewing his conduct regarding the 2009 death of Catherine Weiland. “I feel terrible that her life was ended.”

28 percent of IHSA staff getting $110,000-plus in salary, benefits

THE WATCHDOGS: More than one of every four employees of the Illinois High School Association — the governing body for high school sports in Illinois — gets more than $110,000 a year in pay and benefits, according to Internal Revenue Service records. It’s an issue that’s expected to come up as state legislators convene a hearing Tuesday in Springfield on how the IHSA is run.

UNO charter schools paid fired teacher $150K to settle case, records show

THE WATCHDOGS: The taxpayer-funded charter-school network run by the clout-heavy United Neighborhood Organization paid a fired physical education teacher $150,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed he was wrongly fired for reporting the assault of a student at UNO’s Major Hector P. Garcia M.D. High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.