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Behind the moves, and odds and ends

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013

* The governor’s move

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is taking on a new role as a University of Illinois trustee.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced Friday that he appointed Chicago’s former top federal prosecutor and corruption buster to the university’s board that oversees the three-campus university system.

* Behind the move, however, was the reappointment of Trustee James Montgomery, who defied Quinn in 2009 by refusing to resign from the board after the university’s “admissions scandal.” From the Mikva Commission Report, which investigated the affair


In an email to (UIUC Chancellor Richard) Herman dated April 16, 2009, Trustee James Montgomery advocated for a rejected applicant. Montgomery explained that he emailed Herman at the behest of his daughter, who was dating a relative of the applicant. Montgomery stated that he emailed Herman because he wanted to determine if it was “too late” for the applicant, whom he acknowledged had been rejected, to be accepted by the University….

An April 1, 2009 email to (Chancellor Richard Herman’s secretary Phyllis) Mischo, (Associate Provost Keith) Marshall indicated the University will admit a substandard student sponsored by Trustee Carroll as late as possible because she has terrible credentials at a “good school.”

* Montgomery adamantly refused to step down back then. From Chicago Tonight

I think what has happened here is that both the governor and the commission has painted all the trustees with one broad brush of taint and that isn’t fair. And I don’t intend of course to submit a resignation under the assumption that I have done something inappropriate on a personal basis. ..(If I am fired I will) fight like hell. whatever is necessary to defend any action that they seek to take to prove me in any way guilty of malfeasance of office or any other alleged offense I don’t think they have a prayer…. There is no legal basis for me to be fired. I don’t want to put anybody down but I was appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate and Governor Quinn is a governor largely by happenstance, not a governor who’s been elected by the people. And to be very candid with you I’m not inclined to agree with his notion that he should follow the so-called public opinion as he reads it in the Tribune and other media

Montgomery was close to former Senate President Emil Jones. Quinn eventually backed off, and then reappointed Montgomery last week while burying it under the Fitzgerald move.

* The Ricketts family has made a new move on renovating Wrigley Field

Taxpayers haven’t warmed to the idea of helping to pay for the improvements, though. The Ricketts family, which bought the team in 2009, now says it is prepared to pay for the renovations — if the city will get out of the way.

To make the investment work, the owners say they need some flexibility on zoning and landmark restrictions. They want to be able to close streets on game days and to have more night games, including some on Saturdays. They’d like to hold more concerts and special events at the stadium. And they want to install more and bigger signs in the outfield.

“Just give us some relief on some of these restrictions and then we’ll take care of Wrigley Field,” owner Tom Ricketts said.

The project includes a structural overhaul of the 99-year-old stadium, including new restaurants, expanded concourses and a left field fan deck. Players would get a new clubhouse and underground batting cages. The owners also plan to build a boutique hotel across the street, where a McDonald’s now stands.

* Behind the move

The team’s only requirement is that the city lift restrictions on outfield signs and night games and open Sheffield for street fairs on game days. […]

[Ald. Tom Tunney] said he’s willing to help the Cubs with additional night games “sooner than required,” noting that an agreement that caps the number of night games at 30-per-season expires in 2016. He refused to offer a specific number.

But, he said, “I’m not a supporter of putting up signs that block the view of rooftops into the ballpark.” […]

Tunney drew the line on the illuminated Toyota sign in left field that obscured the view of a Horseshoe Casino sign on the rooftop of a building owned by Tom Gramatis.

Tunney initially argued that the see-through sign was “not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood or the spirit of the landmarks” designation, then agreed to it in exchange for a four-year moratorium on additional outfield signs that expires in 2014.

Opposition from Tunney and area merchants also blocked the Cubs’ plan to close down a blocklong stretch of Sheffield for nine days to make way for street fairs during sold-out series against the Yankees, Cardinals and White Sox.

It’s always about those rooftop guys. Always.

* Odds and ends…

* Illinois sets $500 mln bond sale for Jan. 30

* Clerk Dorothy Brown chaired fund-raiser cited in Nagin corruption case

* BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings: Rahm Emanuel Physically Assaulted Me

* VIDEO: Illinois Inaugural Gala with Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn

* VIDEO: Amtrak ‘Chicago Style’ Parody

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jeff Markland, RIP - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    You mean Quinn reappointed Montgomery, not Marshall.

    Montgomery is the same trustee who voted against the new football coach because he felt that enough wasn’t done to hire a non-Caucasian coach. Montgomery also was hyping Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, to be the new men’s basketball coach…never mind his poor record at Oregon State so….

  2. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    So if IL 10 yr yields will be 135 basis points or so higher than current 10 yr US Treasuries, that means IL will be issuing a half billion debt paying about 3.15%?

    In the current market — if I figured it correctly — that’s not bad for the holder. Let’s see who gets first dibbs at grabbing those rates & how much they have to put down to get it.

    Wish I could take my pittance to the local bank and get over 3% interest.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    ===You mean Quinn reappointed Montgomery, not Marshall.===

    Right. Typo. Fixed.

  4. - Stones - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    The Cubs have always marketed those rooftops during their WGN broadcasts. I don’t know how many times I saw a shot of people having a great time while Harry said “You can’t beat fun at the old ballpark”. Now that Wrigley has established it’s charm ownership will do whatever is necessary to cut those building / rooftop owners out of the equation. It seems to me that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  5. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    I am somewhat surprised that this is the first time that someone in the media has been so specific in detailing Rahm’s aggressive behavior that borders upon assault and battery.

    How many restaurants want a patron he uses the cutlery to stab the table?

  6. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    I see those IL Bonds are not for 10 years, 25 years. They’ll probably yield over 4.5% .

    Anyone here have something more precise?

  7. - shore - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    An alderman and rooftops running the renovations, theo jason mcleod, and jed must think they’re back at the nuthouse on yawkey way.

  8. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    Clerk Dorothy Brown chaired fund-raiser cited in Nagin corruption case

    Just when I thought Louisiana might prove itself more corrupt than Illinois…

    – MrJM

  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    Does Hastings always stutter like that? He sounded very nervous in the interview.

  10. - siriusly - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    The rooftop owners are also cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Those Sheffield street parties would be huge business for those guys. They should “play ball,” sorry.

    If the owners want to pay for these improvements, which will help all those businesses, the City should get out of the way and let them.

    It’s a better deal than us paying for the stadiums that we had no say in their designs at all:
    New Comiskey before the cut down
    Soldier field space ship thing

  11. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    Blocking the view of the Cub’s play on the field might be viewed as a public service.

    This coming from a Cub fan. Lord forgive me.

  12. - Deep South - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    As long as management sells Wrigley as its product, instead of quality on the field, which could then lead them into post-season play, the Cubs are doomed to retain their second division status for years to come.

  13. - Rail Sitter - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 4:08 pm:

    There’s plenty of parking in Iowa and that’s where most cub fans are from anyway. Seems like a no brainer. If you want a quaint ballpark how could you beat that Field of Dreams cornfield?

  14. - John Parnell - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    Don’t the rooftop people pay a percentage of their take to the Cubs? It has always baffeled me as to why these owners have a right to keep Wrigley Field hostage to their aldermanic imposed restrictions.

  15. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    Dorothy Brown chaired a fundraiser for Mayor Nagin in Chicago? I see the article says they knew the same “guy” and she’s originally from LA but of all the influential and nationally known pols in Chicago nobody thought it was strange for inconsequential Dorothy of all people to be chairing the function? (Maybe it didn’t look as strange in real time as it does now with the power of hindsight and more years of insight into Dorothy.)

  16. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 5:04 pm:

    Any idea how those students sponsored by Carroll and Montgomery have done at UI? Breezed through Mikva, but didn’t see any stats on outcomes for other sponsored students.

  17. - Dirty Red - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 8:24 pm:

    Wouldn’t your constituents be able to make more money if the Cubs could generate more revenue and win more games, Alderman?

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