* The Tribune had a story the other day about Rahm Emanuel’s ties to Bruce Rauner. It skipped some important bones of contention, particularly those Rauner robocalls slamming Rahm’s pension reform plan. But, anyway, from the story…
Just a few months before announcing plans to become Chicago’s next Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel strolled down the gravel path to a Montana resort restaurant with Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, both men smiling as they carried bottles of wine.
In his hand, Emanuel carried a bottle of Napa Valley Reserve. The wine — which a spokeswoman says was not Emanuel’s — is so exclusive it is available only through a private vineyard whose members pay six figures to join the club. […]
[Emanuel’s spokeswoman] said the bottle did not belong to Emanuel. Officials from Rauner’s campaign declined to comment.
* The Sun-Times followed up…
Q: Do you belong to a wine club that costs $100,000 to be a member of?
RAUNER: (Laughs) I have many investments and I am a member of many clubs.
REPORTER: So that is a yes?
* And the Quinn campaign pounced…
Quinn for Illinois spokesman Izabela Miltko issued the below statement regarding Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner’s comments today confirming that he belongs to an invitation-only wine club that requires a more than $140,000 initiation fee, a fact he hid from the Chicago Tribune over the weekend.
According to the wine club, the membership structure is similar to most fine private clubs. Membership is non-equity and by invitation only. There is a membership deposit with two levels of membership: Estate Vineyard Program and Designated Vineyard Program, both requiring an initiation fee of more than $140,000.
“You just can’t get more out-of-touch than Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner.
“While enjoying a luxury $140,000 wine club membership, Republican Bruce Rauner actually proposed to cut the minimum wage, taking $2,000 a year out of the pockets of hard-working Illinois families.
“Mr. Rauner’s proposal to cut the minimum wage was heartless on its own merits. The fact that when he made it, he was wining and dining himself on the best wine money can buy is even more callous.
“Bruce Rauner may not like the minimum wage, but he sure loves his vino.”
*** UPDATE *** From what I know of Rauner (spend big bucks on things that appreciate, like land and mansions, don’t spend money on stuff like watches and cars, which often lose value), I wouldn’t have guessed he would get suckered into spending that much money to join a wine club. WaPo has another possible explanation that makes more sense to me…
While Rauner said he belongs to the club, it’s not clear if it’s NVR — or what he might have paid for that membership. As Worth dot com notes, Rauner was also a silent partner in Harlan’s first investment in vineyard property in Napa Valley. Perhaps his investment in land that Worth (the site) says could have been worth (the noun) somewhere in the neighborhood of nine figures meant he was grandfathered in.