Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Is Wallenda’s high-wire act legal without a net? ]]> Lead story image

Getting wired: Adrenaline junkies eager to watch high-wire daredevil Nik Wallenda navigate two Chicago skyscrapers without a net will now get their chance on Nov. 2. Or will they? ]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:16:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Vote could show Scots feel some pigs more equal than others ]]> Lead story image

The Scottish secession . . . Queen Elizabeth wants to stay out of it. Actor Sean Connery wants it to happen. And the British royal family is fretting about whether they’ll lose the use of Balmoral Castle as their Scottish hideaway from duty during parts of the year. So here’s a few wee words about the gloman or gloom being felt by the citizens of Scotland who face a vote next week on whether to break away from the British union. Those that want to stay are primarily concerned about their country’s economy, which is rich in whiskey and oil … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:27:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Lawyer in Bali to advise teen whose mom’s body was stuffed in suitcase ]]> Lead story image

Mack attack! Heather Mack, the pregnant Chicago teen incarcerated in Indonesia since she was declared a suspect in the murder of her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, is now being advised by a Chicago area lawyer on how to protect her unborn baby’s future. Attorney Vanessa Favia, who practices in Oakbrook Terrace, arrived in Bali this week to talk to Mack, whose baby is due in the spring. She was accompanied by Mack’s family attorney, Michael Elkin, who is based in Chicago. “My wife was due home this weekend, but I’m not sure now,” Favia’s husband, Nicholas, told Sneed. A photo … ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 02:16:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed exclusive: Almost $100M in unpaid sales taxes on gas recovered ]]> Lead story image

Beep! It’s a fraud sweep! Attorney General Lisa Madigan is putting metal to the gas pedal. ◆ Translation: Sneed is told an ongoing joint investigation and enforcement effort between Madigan’s office and the Department of Revenue has resulted in the recovery of almost $100 million in unpaid state sales taxes from gas station owners and operators throughout Illinois. ◆ Backshot: The tandem criminal enforcement operations were launched in 2010 to recoup tax losses from gas stations that underreported revenues, and it hit the $85 million benchmark last December. Here’s a rundown: Since 2010 . . . ◆ Fifty individuals have … ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:36:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Diana Ditka says Ray Rice’s wife wrong to blame press ]]> Lead story image

A knockout punch . . . The indomitable Diana Ditka, wife of legendary Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, is known for her kindness — and her candor. So Sneed — appalled by the way kid gloves were used by the NFL on the K.O. punch dealt by Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice on his soon-to-be-wife Janay Palmer last February — sought the opinion of the gutsy football frau married to her adored but gruff Grabowski. “Look, Mike, I’ve never understood why men hit women.” she said. “It’s tragic, but it happens. But Rice’s wife blaming the press Tuesday for … ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:16:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Pfleger says he’s getting hate calls after gun shop protest ]]> Lead story image

Pfleger is flummoxed! The Rev. Michael Pfleger, the South Side pastor who led an anti-violence gun protest against Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale on Saturday, says the ugliness hasn’t stopped. Still flummoxed over being compared to the murderous ISIS group — which recently beheaded two American journalists — by the Illinois chapter of the NRA, Pfleger told Sneed: “I’ve been getting hate calls at the church since Friday night and I’m sure I am going to get some more tonight.” Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church — one of the city’s largest African-American churches, said: “Sen. Dick Durbin was … ]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:05:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Illinois chapter of NRA sets sights on Rev. Pfleger ]]> Lead story image

Sneed hears that the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has been trying to get guns off the streets for years, has now got a powerful gunsight trained on him. ◆ To wit: The Illinois State Rifle Association, the Illinois chapter of the NRA, is now comparing the firebrand priest, pastor of one of the largest African-American Catholic congregations in Chicago — to the international terrorist group ISIS! “These guys are nuts,” said Pfleger, who claims a “hate email” was dispatched by the gun group following news that he is hosting a press conference and rally at Chuck’s Gun Shop in south … ]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:39:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: The flip side of billionaire’s divorce drama ]]> Lead story image

The Griffin divorce . . . It’s the latest chapter in a Chicago billionaire’s divorce drama. An explosive response Tuesday by Anne Dias Griffin to the abrupt divorce filing by her billionaire hubby Ken Griffin last month — alleging her premarital agreement was signed under duress and that he left the home when she was pregnant in 2012 — was met with this flip side from a source within the Ken Griffin camp. The marital prenup, which reportedly was not revisited or revised during their marriage — paid Anne Dias Griffin millions of dollars while the marriage lasted, and he … ]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 02:18:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hedge-fund billionaire’s wife says she was coerced into signing pre-nup ]]> Lead story image

MICHAEL SNEED: In an explosive response to the divorce filing from her husband, billionaire investor Ken Griffin, Anne Dias Griffin filed a petition demanding the couple’s premarital agreement be dissolved because it was signed under duress. ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:45:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: How Mayor Byrne helped Emerald Society start pipe band ]]> Lead story image

The forgotten mayor . . . The bagpipes are on board. Though a date has yet to be set to officially rename the Old Water Tower Park after the city’s only woman mayor — Jane Byrne — she says she will be there, and the Emerald Society of Illinois is prepared to pipe the music. In the wake of this column’s attempt to honor the forgotten legacy of Byrne, who served from 1979 to 1983 — and the City Council’s decision to do so — Sneed received the following letter from Thomas J. Cody, a founding member and band manager … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:52:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Will Karen Lewis button down campaign with some history? ]]> Lead story image

The blue button . . . The blue button is back! Could the resurrection of the late Mayor Harold Washington’s 1983 mayoral blue campaign button . . . turn Mayor Rahm Emanuel red? Could the legendary blue button, which became an inspiration for Barack Obama’s first campaign logo — a blue sun coming up over a red horizon — give Rahm a case of the jitters? Sneed is told a cache of blue buttons was delivered as a gift to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has yet to decide whether she will run for mayor. The buttons are … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:27:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Will Rauner’s shoe rules follow him to Springfield mansion? ]]> Lead story image

The Quinn bin . . . A million-dollar endorsement? Bet Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a neck-and-neck race with his GOP opponent Bruce Rauner, leapt for joy when Jackie Robinson West manager Darold Butler described him as his “new best friend.” “Thank you Governor, we have gotten so close. You are one of my buddies. He is my new best friend,” said Butler at the Millennium Park rally Wednesday. Lose the shoes? Hmmm. News GOP gubernatorial gazillionaire Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana — who own nine homes — plan to actually reside in the governor’s mansion in Springfield … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:20:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Emanuel plans funding for city youth baseball, including JRW team ]]> Lead story image

Dugout scoop! Play ball! Watch for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make a major announcement soon on government funding to finance city youth baseball — including the city’s Jackie Robinson West Little League Team. Sneed hears it could be part of a broader strategy for keeping inner-city kids out of street gangs and giving them the chance to experience all the life lessons taught when participating in our country’s national pastime. ◆ A history note: Baseball diamonds sprung up at the Cabrini-Green housing project in 1981 when then-Mayor Jane Byrne’s husband, Jay McMullen, turned garbage-strewn fields into sports courts. ◆ The … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:39:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Blago pours out heart to wife in love letter from prison ]]> Lead story image

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, Patti, posted a wedding anniversary letter from her imprisoned hubby on her Facebook page. “Today is my 24th wedding anniversary,” she said. “I am sharing this message from Rod because I think it applies to everyone.” ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:46:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed scoop: Daley nephew (and grandson) to run for City Council ]]> Lead story image

Sneed Exclusive … Psst! The Daley dynasty is not dead yet. Sneed has learned attorney Patrick Thompson , who now lives in the 11th Ward home of his famous grandfather — the late Mayor Richard J. Daley — plans to run for alderman of the bastion of Daleydom. Sneed hears 11th Ward Ald. James Balcer has been told his retirement would be welcome and will announce he will be leaving office in April. ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:50:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Karen Lewis’ union members can’t keep facts straight ]]> Lead story image

The desk set . . . Attention! Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, a former chemistry teacher, needs an eraser. Last week, Lewis, who is eyeing a mayoral bid, told the Chicago Sun-Times she would make no “rookie mistakes” about campaign finance law. It seems the same can’t be said of her facts. ◆ To wit: At her Tuesday night rally in Beverly, the event program was filled with glaring errors — prompting Sneed to wonder if Lewis needed to hire a campaign proofreader. ◆ Error No. 1: The event’s program claims Lewis was elected to her second term with … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:31:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Gov helps Jackie Robinson West team’s coach cover his bases ]]> Lead story image

Covering all bases . . . Play ball! Sneed hears that Gov. Pat Quinn, who was awed by Little League coach Darold Butler volunteering his time to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team, called Butler’s boss to make sure his job was safe because he had to take time off from work. ◆Backshot: Quinn first met Butler in 2013, when Butler’s JRW team fell just one game short of reaching the World Series. Butler, who volunteers for the team, also works as a locomotive engineer for the Union Pacific railroad. “The governor feels Butler is an impressive, inspiring man who works … ]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:16:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sneed: Rahm pulls plug on city parking perk ]]> Lead story image

The park shark . . . Rahm’s running with scissors! Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cutting down on free downtown parking for city employees that has been around for more than a decade. ◆ Snip snip: Emanuel recently ordered his staff to draft a proposal to sell three parking lots and a one-story parking garage in River North currently used by 80 city employees at various city agencies. ◆ Backshot: This isn’t the first time Emanuel has cut paid parking: Since taking office, Emanuel has eliminated more than 40 paid downtown parking spots. A real rail tragedy . . … ]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:45:21 -0500