Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) Newspapers http://www.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/suntimes.gif Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Well-connected D.C. lawyer to speak in Waukegan hometown: Sneed ]]> Lead story image

The Waukegan Warrior is heading home! What about Bob? He’s a master of the book deal. He’s one of the nation’s most powerful lawyers. He’s Waukegan bred with Washington cred, who hangs out with the world’s powerful elite. And he just may become Waukegan’s new favorite son; emerging from the shadow of the late, great Jack Benny, whose hometown became an integral part of the legendary comedian’s 1950s radio showbiz schtick. “I did help raise funds to build a statue to Jack Benny in Waukegan,” said uber-powerful D.C. attorney Robert “Bob” Barnett, who is the publishing guru to former Secretary … ]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:30:19 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26903569-452/well-connected-dc-lawyer-to-speak-in-waukegan-hometown-sneed.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26903569-452/well-connected-dc-lawyer-to-speak-in-waukegan-hometown-sneed.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Cardinal George may preside over his last Easter Mass on Sunday ]]> Lead story image

Battling cancer and awaiting a successor, George is now nearing the end of his tenure presiding over the Chicago archdiocese’s 2.2 million Catholics. ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:25:03 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26908648-452/sneed-cardinal-george-may-preside-over-his-last-easter-mass-on-sunday.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26908648-452/sneed-cardinal-george-may-preside-over-his-last-easter-mass-on-sunday.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: N’DIGO mag chief backing Rauner says, ‘I am not a paid mouthpiece’ ]]> Lead story image

Nice work if you can get it! It’s no secret that Hermene Hartman, publisher of N’DIGO magazine, has been pitching GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner big-time in the black community. It’s no secret Hartman announced via her magazine that she has switched to the Republican Party because “it is about the man and his plan,” and was proud to cast her vote for Rauner. But what Hartman did not shout from the rafters was that her publishing company, Hartman Publishing, was paid a cool $51,000 by Citizens for Rauner to run four events for the candidate in February and March. … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:22:40 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26889635-452/sneed-ndigo-mag-chief-backing-rauner-says-i-am-not-a-paid-mouthpiece.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26889635-452/sneed-ndigo-mag-chief-backing-rauner-says-i-am-not-a-paid-mouthpiece.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Almost 1000 gay couples have filed for Cook County marriage licenses ]]> Lead story image

The marriage map . . . Sneed is told the number of applications for Cook County gay marriage licenses is about to hit 1,000 — and 20 percent of them are from 23 states outside Illinois. “We’ve had 950 license applications thus far and expect 1,000 by Friday,” said Courtney Greve, a spokeswoman for Cook County Clerk David Orr. “We also expect the numbers to go up because of planned summer weddings and the 60-day period it takes to get a license,” she added. The stats: ◆ The femme factor: More female than male couples applied for licenses, although the … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:19:08 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26870374-452/sneed-almost-1000-gay-couples-have-filed-for-cook-county-marriage-licenses.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26870374-452/sneed-almost-1000-gay-couples-have-filed-for-cook-county-marriage-licenses.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Will Nik Wallenda’s high-wire walk involve safety net? ]]> Lead story image

Getting wired . . . Attention! Adrenaline junkies anxious to see famous high-wire artist Nik Wallenda navigate two Chicago skyscrapers in Chicago this fall — while insisting against using a safety net — just might be in for a letdown. ◆ Translation: Has anyone broken the news to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the state Aerial Exhibitors Safety Act requires a safety net for any aerial act over 20 feet high? Sneed contacted the mayor’s office Monday to see if there was already a plan in the works to undo the net knot. Knowing the power of the Rahmster to get … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:16:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26850012-452/sneed-will-nik-wallendas-high-wire-walk-involve-safety-net.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26850012-452/sneed-will-nik-wallendas-high-wire-walk-involve-safety-net.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: The Edwards Memorial ]]> Lead story image

A grave visitor . . . Dateline: The heart line . . . Former Dem presidential hopeful John Edwards is still a frequent visitor to his wife’s grave. “He was here within the week,” said sculptor Robert Mihaly, who is finally nearing completion on a marble monument to John’s wife, Elizabeth Edwards, who famously endured cancer, her husband’s infidelity and his child out of wedlock. Begun shortly after the 2010 death of Edwards, who became a beacon of courage to readers of her books, the 8-foot memorial greets thousands of visitors each year to her unmarked grave in a Raleigh, … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:29:07 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26784364-452/sneed-the-edwards-memorial.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26784364-452/sneed-the-edwards-memorial.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Is Toni testing the waters? ]]> Lead story image

The big buzz . . . Is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle dodging — or doing? Sneed hears speculation that Preckwinkle is considering a run for mayor may be growing legs. Barring being drafted by the African-American community to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel — which she ostensibly would find hard to refuse — Sneed is told Preckwinkle, 67, who assured Emanuel months ago she wasn’t running, is now being encouraged to rethink her political future. ◆ To wit: “She is being urged by some of her political advisers to run, but finding the campaign financing to go against … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:16:32 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26746976-452/sneed-is-toni-testing-the-waters.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26746976-452/sneed-is-toni-testing-the-waters.html <![CDATA[ Sneed exclusive: Unpopular tax plan may reappear ]]> Lead story image

The tax ax . . . Sneed hears rumbles that a City Council proposal to levy a lease tax on office buildings may be in the mix of suggestions to restore two of the city’s pension funds to fiscal health. Oy! “Former Mayor Jane Byrne tried to get the City Council to levy a lease tax on the city’s office buildings during her term in office, which raised holy hell because it would be over and above the property tax they already pay,” a City Hall source said. “The downtown real estate interests lobbied long and hard against it and … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:56:52 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26723828-452/sneed-exclusive-unpopular-tax-plan-may-reappear.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26723828-452/sneed-exclusive-unpopular-tax-plan-may-reappear.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Quinn torpedoes Emanuel ]]> Lead story image

Rahm may be a tough cookie, but he got bitten in the butt by Quinn’s refusal Monday to back Rahm’s plan to solve the city’s pension crisis on the back of Chicago’s property tax payers. ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:12:44 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26704874-452/sneed-quinn-torpedoes-emanuel.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26704874-452/sneed-quinn-torpedoes-emanuel.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: People rush to get in on ground floor of loan program ]]> Lead story image

Home hustle . . . Sneed hears the run for Gov. Pat Quinn’s subsidized mortgage program has already become a sprint. ◆ Translation: Since Sneed exclusively tipped the Welcome Home Illinois Loan Program’s launch last Sunday, $5.2 million has already been reserved to finance applicants’ homes. Some interested parties have even walked into the governor’s office to ask about applying! ◆ Back shot: The Illinois Housing Development Authority has $130 million earmarked for these mortgages and new home construction — and now there’s a few million less for eligible homebuyers. The bling thing . . . Puck luck run amok? … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:26:10 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26640135-452/sneed-people-rush-to-get-in-on-ground-floor-of-loan-program.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26640135-452/sneed-people-rush-to-get-in-on-ground-floor-of-loan-program.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: For Patti Blagojevich, ‘this year is especially heartbreaking’ ]]> Lead story image

The good wife . . . About two weeks ago, Patti Blagojevich marked an anniversary without a celebration; the completion of her husband’s second year in a federal prison outside of Denver. Since former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s incarceration on corruption charges in 2012, his wife has done everything she can to keep her family together by packing up their two daughters and heading to Colorado every few months. “But this year is especially heartbreaking,” according to a family friend. “He will miss the high school graduation of his eldest daughter, Amy, who graduates May 24 from Loyola Academy,” the source … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 02:17:10 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26619900-452/sneed-for-patti-blagojevich-this-year-is-especially-heartbreaking.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26619900-452/sneed-for-patti-blagojevich-this-year-is-especially-heartbreaking.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Behind the scenes of Obama’s visit to Chicago ]]> Lead story image

O on the go! . . . Running in real time . . . . . . with President Barack Obama in Chicago on Wednesday. ◆ About 4 p.m.: Gov. Pat Quinn, leaving behind his omnipresent sidekick “Betsy the briefcase,” to greet Obama on the tarmac at O’Hare International Airport — and then helicopter with him to a parking lot near Chicago’s Soldier Field via Marine One. ◆ 4:10 p.m.: Quinn and Obama discussed the White Sox; compared notes on the minimum wage and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s Voting Rights Amendment designed to protect voters from suppression tactics in … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 00:58:00 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26594323-452/sneed-behind-the-scenes-of-obamas-visit-to-chicago.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26594323-452/sneed-behind-the-scenes-of-obamas-visit-to-chicago.html <![CDATA[ Exclusive: Obama to dine with Emanuel, Axelrod between DNC fundraisers Wednesday ]]> Lead story image

Forks up! Consider President Barack Obama’s meal deal Wednesday at a private dinner for three in the backroom confines of the popular Chicago Cut steakhouse: ◆ The president will drink only water brought into the restaurant by his staff. ◆ The president’s food can be cooked and served only by a naval steward. ◆ The president’s menu, which will consist of USDA prime filet mignon or Chilean sea bass with a miso glaze, will be brought in by the naval steward — “unless the restaurant’s produce is pre-approved at some mysterious time before the dinner,” said a top Sneed source. … ]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 02:18:23 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26575317-452/exclusive-obama-to-dine-with-emanuel-axelrod-between-dnc-fundraisers-wednesday.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26575317-452/exclusive-obama-to-dine-with-emanuel-axelrod-between-dnc-fundraisers-wednesday.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Quinn to launch state mortgage program for first-time home buyers ]]> Lead story image

Sneed exclusive . . . Gov. Pat Quinn is throwing out the welcome mat! Sneed has learned Quinn plans to announce a new state-subsidized mortgage loan program Monday for first-time Illinois home buyers. “This program is not for millionaires,” Quinn told Sneed. “This is for everyday people, living check to check, who once didn’t have a shot at becoming a homeowner because of the economic downturn.” “Now they will have that chance,” said Quinn, who has titled the mortgage plan the Welcome Home Illinois Loan Program. “There is a pent-up demand by young people who weren’t able to buy a … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:26:38 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26502691-452/sneed-quinn-to-launch-state-mortgage-program-for-first-time-home-buyers.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26502691-452/sneed-quinn-to-launch-state-mortgage-program-for-first-time-home-buyers.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: A papal White House Visit? ]]> Lead story image

Although President Obama hasn’t issued the pope a formal White House invitation, he did suggest such a visit with the pontiff, who has yet to visit the U.S., when he gave him a box of seeds. ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 02:16:04 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26483738-452/sneed-a-papal-white-house-visit.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26483738-452/sneed-a-papal-white-house-visit.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: GOP pols, black ministers fight for Rauner money ]]> Lead story image

Follow the money . . . Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! Hmmm. Does Sneed smell a whiff of napalm? ◆ Translation: A big-bucks brouhaha is brewing between South and West Side Republican committeemen and powerful black ministers being courted by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. ◆ At stake: Money . . . er, financial backing to get out the South and West Side vote for uber-rich Rauner, who is trolling for Cook County support in Gov. Pat Quinn’s heavily Democratic backyard. ◆ Backshot: Rauner, whose campaign has formulated a black voter strategy in Cook County, has already lined … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 02:17:47 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26462980-452/sneed-gop-pols-black-ministers-fight-for-rauner-money.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26462980-452/sneed-gop-pols-black-ministers-fight-for-rauner-money.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Rauner backs incumbent in battle over Cook County GOP leadership ]]> Lead story image

County heat! Bruce’s next battle! The Grand Old Party has got a grand old fight on its hands. ◆ Translation: Sneed hears a tug-of-war is being waged over leadership of the Republican Party in the Democratic bastion of Cook County. ◆ GOP gubernatorial primary winner Bruce Rauner is backing the re-election of Cook County’s present GOP chairman, Aaron Del Mar, Republican committeeman from Palatine township. ◆ Conservatives are backing Chris Cleveland, a hard-charging 43rd Ward GOP committeeman, to steer the Rauner ticket to victory on Gov. Pat Quinn’s homefront. ◆ Quite simply, Del Mar backed Rauner in his primary battle … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:35:55 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26420677-452/sneed-rauner-backs-incumbent-in-battle-over-cook-county-gop-leadership.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26420677-452/sneed-rauner-backs-incumbent-in-battle-over-cook-county-gop-leadership.html <![CDATA[ Sneed: Judge Evans finds job for court official dubbed ‘worst’ by ex-underling ]]> Lead story image

Out of Order! Overruled, undermanned, and bench-pressed! The big question still remains! Why does Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans continue to employ Jesus Reyes, the man he appointed in 2005 to run the probation nightmare on 26th Street? In an unprecedented move Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed an administrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County to overhaul the bollixed pre-trial services and adult probation department run by Reyes, who was abruptly dismissed Monday. Despite Reyes’ dismissal from that job, Evans is now keeping Reyes on as a court policy advisor. Reyes’ removal came days before … ]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:28:18 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26364235-452/sneed-judge-evans-finds-job-for-court-official-dubbed-worst-by-ex-underling.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/26364235-452/sneed-judge-evans-finds-job-for-court-official-dubbed-worst-by-ex-underling.html