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[19 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

James Thompson, governor of Illinois from 1977 to 1991, and his wife, Jayne, last week sold a condo not only for less than they paid for it in 2008, but for less than the prior owners paid for it in May 2000.

“It’s a different market now,” the former governor told Crain’s. He added that the finishes in the condo have not been updated since the building was new, in 2000. Together, the slow current real estate market and the need for updating “account for the price,” he said.

Read more in …

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[13 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

Consider Illinois marijuana producers’ campaign for government aid. As my colleague Brigid Sweeney reported in this week’s issue of Crain’s, companies holding 21 licenses to produce medicinal marijuana want legislation legalizing recreational use to include a moratorium on new state licenses for commercial-scale production.

In other words, they want a government-mandated oligopoly on a recreational-use market worth an estimated $1.6 billion annually. The moratorium likely would last a year or more, plenty of time for incumbents to build the brand recognition, commercial relationships and scale economies to ward off new competitors.
They’ve apparently found …

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[12 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

A bill introduced in Springfield last week takes the concept of opening up Illinois to rent control to a new level, laying out not only repeal of the state’s ban but the establishment of rent control boards statewide, tax incentives for landlords to improve rental property and other measures.

“We tried to make something that would work for everyone including landlords, not only the renters,” said Illinois State Rep. Mary Flowers (31st), who introduced HB 2192 on Feb. 7. “People are ready to try something new because it’s unconscionable the way rents are …

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[17 Sep 2018 | No Comment | ]

Two fresh hires at City Hall will help steer Chicago through the most momentous legal issue the city has faced in decades: reforming the Chicago Police Department.

Tyeesha Dixon and Katie Hill this summer joined Chicago’s 280-attorney Law Department. Hill, 39, who most recently was policy director for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, will hold the department’s No. 2 job and report directly to Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel.
Hill, who oversees all 15 of the department’s divisions, has dealt with criminal justice issues for much of her career, including as a …

Chicago, Featured, Headline »

[8 Jan 2018 | One Comment | ]

Barack Obama may be the pride of University of Chicago, but a lot of heavy hitters there are strongly opposing current plans for his library.

More than 100 U of C faculty members who say they support the location of an Obama Center near the campus nevertheless are opposing plans for it on economic and preservation grounds.
They say the center’s proposed location lacks room to jump-start economic development, and its footprint will consume parts of historic Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance. “Not only are public lands being given to a …

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[20 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

With no public attention, “implicit racial bias” training for Illinois teachers became state law on July 1. Be concerned. The issue is whether the training, which is mandatory and unfunded, will be another self-defeating chapter in identity politics, dominated by those who inflame racial division in the name of “equity.”

Public Act 100-0014 provides that “each school board shall require in-service training for school personnel to include training to develop cultural competency, including understanding and reducing implicit racial bias.” “Implicit racial bias,” according to the statute, “means a preference, positive or negative, …

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[9 Jun 2016 | No Comment | ]

For years, Illinois has found the municipal-bond market open whenever it needs to raise money, despite budget deficits, worst-in-the-nation pension shortfalls and a political paralysis so severe it’s headed for a second year without even a blueprint for what it should be spending.

It’s about time to shut the doors on Illinois, says BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager.
“We as municipal market participants should really be penalizing in some way, by almost not giving them any access to the market,” Peter Hayes, who oversees $119 billion as head of munis …

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[4 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

The family financing the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago has effectively pulled the plug on the $700 million facility.

In a statement released late today, Mellody Hobson, wife of famed movie director and museum patron George Lucas, talked in the past tense about the museum’s prospects here, and cast bitter blame on Friends of the Parks, the civic group which earlier in the day said it would oppose any plan to locate the project on the lakefront, as Lucas wants.
“My husband and I have worked in earnest for …

Chicago »

[19 Mar 2016 | No Comment | ]

The agency that runs McCormick Place today sued Uber and Lyft over a tax the convention center center owner says it is owed from the ride-booking services for rides departing from Chicago airports.
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier) alleges that the companies have failed to collect and remit a $4 fee for every pickup made at O’Hare and Midway airports since December.

The TNPs, however, have balked at paying the tax. They point to an ordinance the city passed in November requiring a $5 fee for every pick-up and drop-off …

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[26 Jan 2016 | No Comment | ]

Seaway Bank & Trust, Chicago’s largest black-owned bank, sued Urban Partnership Bank last week in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging bad-faith dealings over the mortgage portfolio, originally held by failed South Side community lender ShoreBank. The loans have a face value of $154 million and were held on UPB’s books at $82 million as of Sept. 30.
UPB, formed in 2010 to succeed ShoreBank after its high-profile failure, assumed more than $1 billion in loans and has endured tens of millions in losses on that portfolio ever since. Since then, it’s …