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[15 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]

A deal involving the federal government’s most expensive lease in Chicago produced millions of dollars in profits for a development group that included Penny Pritzker, a top campaign fund-raiser for President Barack Obama who is now his commerce secretary.
The developers also included Jack Higgins, a friend and political backer of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Over the 14-year term of the lease, the government will pay $280 million in rent and operating expenses for the Near West Side property, which houses the FBI’s Chicago headquarters.
That’s more than double what it cost …

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[7 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]

Turns out Rep. Mike Quigley D-Ill. has a GOP opponent, Chicago business executive and major GOP donor Vince Kolber, who kicked off his campaign on Wednesday, jumping in after he noticed no Republican bothered to file in the heavily Democratic 5th congressional district contest.

Local Republican leaders were able to fill the vacant ballot spot this summer for the 5th Congressional District seat. The district is anchored in North Side Chicago Democratic territory with some GOP turf in the DuPage County portion of the district.
“I go into this race with my …

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[1 Sep 2014 | One Comment | ]

The race to defeat one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation is narrowing — with incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin just seven percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, according to a new Early & Often Poll.

In a year that’s expected to tilt toward Republicans across the nation, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, is leading Oberweis, who is making his third run for the Senate, 47.8 percent to 40.5 percent, the survey commissioned by the Sun-Times’ political portal shows.

Read more in the Sun …

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[12 Aug 2014 | One Comment | ]

When conventions and trade shows threaten to leave McCormick Place or Rosemont for Orlando, Las Vegas or elsewhere, officials at the lakefront and suburban convention centers have a carrot to offer to keep those shows here:
A pot of taxpayer money they guard so tightly they’ve tried to keep secret how it’s spent, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

Over the past three years, $26.5 million from Illinois taxpayers has been spent to lure the International Housewares Association’s trade show, the Radiological Society of North America convention and 79 other shows to McCormick …

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[1 Jul 2014 | No Comment | ]

Thee head of the Illinois Department of Transportation resigned Monday following questions about patronage hiring at the agency.

Ann Schneider’s resignation comes after longtime anti-patronage crusader Michael Shakman called for a federal judge to order an investigation into government hiring following a Better Government Association investigation that revealed Schneider’s stepdaughter had been put on the payroll and promoted at the agency.
Read more in the Sun Times
image coin struck of Julius Nepos, last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, and son and nephew of Roman Leaders

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[23 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

Choose Chicago — the city’s convention and tourism bureau — gets half of its money from government agencies, but it won’t tell the public how it spends it.

Half of Choose Chicago’s funding comes from the city of Chicago and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the government agency known as McPier that also leases office space to the tourism group.
Read more in the Sun Times
image Various Graft Techniques not currently in use by the Metropolitan Pier Authority

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[13 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

Republicans scouring the November ballot for GOP candidates for Cook County’s top elected offices will be out of luck.
The deadline for mounting opposition against entrenched Democrats holding countywide office has passed for the Cook County Republican Party.

The final day for party officials to submit candidate petitions was Monday, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office.
Though no Republican stepped forward to run for the top countywide offices during the March primary, the party still had the opportunity to put its preferred candidates on the ballot if Republicans gathered at least 2,710 …

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[6 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

From the Chicago Sun-Times
A businessman with ties to former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for engaging in a check-kiting scheme in order to keep his family’s struggling Boston Blackies restaurant chain operating.
Chris Giannis, 41, hugged a half-dozen weeping relatives before he was led away by Cook County sheriff’s deputies.
“This is a sad end to the story,” Giannis’ attorney, Terry Gillespie, said outside of Judge James Linn’s courtroom after his client was sentenced for theft.

At the time, Giannoulias pledged to give to charity all …

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[2 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

Renovating the historic Uptown Theatre is the “missing piece” to creating an entertainment district in the North Side neighborhood, proponents say. And that effort just got a $10 million boost.

A House Bill which included the appropriation for the theater — pushed by Senate President John Cullerton (D) — passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature last week. It’s the first major investment in the theater since it was purchased by JAM Productions in 2008.
“We’re happy to help jumpstart that project. Of course we know it’s just upward of $70 million …

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[26 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

Gov. Quinn’s administration chose a well-known West Side social-service provider to distribute millions of dollars in anti-violence money across crime-ravaged Chicago neighborhoods in 2010, even though state audits just months before said the group couldn’t substantiate more than $200,000 in bills involving a summer-jobs program.

The problems involving the Chicago Area Project were significant enough to draw attention from federal investigators. They opened a criminal probe into the $7.8 million summer-jobs program, started under ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The problems were also serious enough to spur the state to ask the Chicago Area …