Updated: June 4, 2013 6:41AM
The Pritzker prize. . .
It finally happened.
Billionairess Penny Pritzker finally got a birthday present she really wanted: the job of U.S. Commerce Secretary -- an appointment Sneed first tipped in January.
So what was the hold-up?
“Nothing really,” said a top Dem White House source. “They just didn’t want to do her alone. Her vetting was done a month ago, but the White House likes to do such announcements in pairs -- and they were waiting for the vetting to be completed on Michael Froman as the new U.S. Trade Representative.”
◆ The stunner: The absence at Pritzker’s appointment of Marty Nesbitt,President Barack Obama’s best buddy, who introduced Penny to Obama. Back in 1998, Nesbitt pitched a business idea to Pritzker -- an airport parking company called The Parking Spot. She bit. He got rich. However, the breakup of the Pritzker fortune brought the sale of the company Nesbitt built. He stepped down last December.
◆ Former White House strategist David Axelrod, who was in attendance at the Pritzker appointment, told Sneed: “It was nice. We and her family gathered in the Roosevelt Room before the announcement.”
Pitching for pennies?
Dealing for dollars? Pritzker, a Hyatt hotel heiress who raised scads of cash for Obama, scaled back her role as national co-chair of the 2012 Obama campaign after dealing with animosity from major donors she recruited who were upset with Obama’s performance -- and personal attacks from union leaders based on how Hyatt treated their workers.
◆ The bankshot: Sneed hears Obama, who was worried about Pritzker’s financial commitment, offered her more than a ride on Air Force One last July from San Francisco to Portland, Ore. Word is Pritzker was given a carrot: the cabinet spot?
Sneed hears rumbles an internal audit ordered by CTA chief Forrest Claypool has shown the transit authority -- under previous administrators -- failed to deactivate nearly 200 old cell phones left behind in a drawer, costing the city $36,000 in fees.
◆ The big question: Wonder how many drawers are like that at City Hall?
Downton blabby. . .
Memo to the humongous horde of fans of the PBS Masterpiece Theatre soap opera “Downton Abbey”. . .
◆ To wit: The show’s first black character has been added to the script for the upcoming season of the period drama. English actor Gary Carr is joining the cast as a jazz singer named Jack Ross. The show’s producers, who were dealing with criticism of a lack of diversity amongst the characters, felt it the only believable way to do so during that era was to make it historically correct.
The Quinn bin. . .
A yelping Yorkie has been missing from the Springfield governor’s mansion since the death two years ago of Gov. Pat Quinn’s beloved pooch Bailey.
◆ The upshot: Sneed is told a new pup priority has been added to Quinn’s agenda now that pension reform and a gambling bill appear headed for passage.
“The governor and his old family dog, Bailey, were great buddies and now that some of the state’s major concerns are heading to conclusion -- the guv will now reserve time to find a new pup,” said a Quinn source. . . but only once the legislature is out of session.
I spy. . .
Long, tall and lanky Kris Humphries, finally divorced from reality diva Kim Kardashian, was spotted strolling down Michigan Avenue Wednesday evening -- followed by an entourage significantly smaller than himself. . . Hoop poop: Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo at Chicago Cut Steakhouse Wednesday, followed at lunch Thursday by our eternal Chicago Cubbie, Ernie Banks.
Sneedlings. . .
Calendar date: The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s annual Run to Remember is this Saturday at Gold Star Families Memorial and Park. . . Friday’s birthdays: Christina Hendricks, 38; Frankie Valli, 79, and Pete Seeger, 94.