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Mayor Emanuel agrees to release e-mails from private account

Thursday, Dec 22, 2016


As a result of a BGA investigation and legal action, The City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have agreed to release all of Emanuel’s private emails related to city business—subject to any applicable legal exemptions—and institute a new policy that will ban city employees and officials from using their private email accounts to conduct city business.

The city’s change in practices comes in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits filed by the BGA, and separately by the Chicago Tribune, and follows more than a year of hard-fought litigation and rulings by two Cook County judges that public officials’ emails are not outside the scope of FOIA simply because they are on a private account.

The e-mails are here.

* From a Mayor Emanuel e-mail to Bruce Rauner…

Aww. So cute.

* I told subscribers about this e-mail chain today, so I’ll just leave it at that for now…

* Sun-Times

The newly released emails show the mayor and his advisers’ reactions in some stressful moments. On the first day of the 2012 teachers’ strike, Frank Clark — now Emanuel’s school board president — wrote to the mayor offering support and advice.

“This unfortunate situation does however provide a window of opportunity to focus the media and the general public in another direction. Namely, toward more charter schools,” Clark wrote on Sept. 10, 2012.

Before he became governor, Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, often wrote to Emanuel about education issues. In one email in June 2012, Diana Rauner told Emanuel, “Congratulations on the $ for the web portal. But what are you doing about proposed cuts in [Chicago Public Schools] funding.”

* Tribune

That included an exchange of emails between hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin – a longtime donor to Emanuel – and the mayor about the lakefront bike trail, a conversation apparently touched off in part by Griffin damaging his car on a speed bump.

“Lake front bike path is a disaster. How can this be after they just refinished much of the path?” Griffin wrote Emanuel in April of this year. “Why doesn’t the city paint the speed bumps on the road white – my damage bill is over $10k from going over one at dusk.”

Emanuel wrote back that paint was a good idea, “I will look into it,” and explained how the plan was to separate biking and running lanes.

“Can they accept private funding.. this is a mess,” wrote Griffin.

“Yes why don’t I come with the commissioner present our plans and we can do a lot with you,” the mayor wrote. Griffin just this week pledged $12 million for a project to help separate uses on the path.

* Related…

* Personal Rahm Emanuel Emails Reveal Much About Business, Little About Scandals

* Emanuel emails reveal he promoted city to heavy hitters during Cubs playoff game

* Feder: Emails reveal how Emanuel works the media — and vice versa

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - flippy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:04 am:

    So were the “handful of messages between Emanuel and Dold last year, when Dold was the Tribune’s editorial page editor” what tipped off the Tribune to the messages on a private e-mail, or did they sit on it until BGA acted? Surely Dold would’ve noticed the non-govt. e-mail address?

  2. - Albany Park Patriot - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:07 am:

    Well as long as Ken Griffin’s $10,000 bike isn’t damaged, Chicago will be a wonderful, hollowed-out city. And if you don’t see the racial component going on here, you are blind.

  3. - My New Handle - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:07 am:

    10k to fix damage from a speed hump? How high is that hump and how fast was he going?!

  4. - Juice - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    If the damage to the bike was 10 grand, how much did that bike cost?

  5. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:11 am:

    Oh the concerns of the uber rich… smh

  6. - PublicServant - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    Yep 231-232 as Biss says, pretty much shows Bruce doesn’t believe in compromise. It’s his way, or no way.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    – “Why doesn’t the city paint the speed bumps on the road white – my damage bill is over $10k from going over one at dusk.–

    Yeah, well, you’re supposed to slow down for those, Evil Knievel, not hit them like you’re jumping the fountain at Caesar’s.

    $10K, though? I take it Griff doesn’t drive a Yugo.

  8. - cdog - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    This is either #fakenews or a Russian hack.

    Regardless, it’s meaningless. /s

  9. - Arsenal - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    It cracks me up that the e-mails between Rahm and Ken are pretty similar to when I e-mail my alderman to ream him out.

  10. - cdog - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    Pages 230-231renid me of the old joke–How many union laborers does it take to change a light bulb?

    The last paragraphs are insightful as to Brucie’s Brain. Perfect execution of his expected outcomes, or nothing. He’s a mess. /s

  11. - Rocky Rosi - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:34 am:

    This is why he is called Rham Father. He will win his 3rd term as Chicago mayor.

  12. - Sigh - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    Wonder what Diana thinks about the status of education today? Yes, I know her group has been vocal, but she is the First Lady. What do you think about a little Governor’s Office consolidation (we know they are all about local government consolidation)… The First Lady could actually take over Beth’s job as Secretary of Education (or whatever her title is). That would free up some DHS money, which could go to the homeless shelter in Chicago that needs $100,000 to stay open.

  13. - walker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    Ok so the goo-goos insist that no political discussions take place on public devices or premises, and that no government business can be discussed on private devices without public disclosure. What does one do when a political donor calls with a constituent beef?

    So this FOIA uncovered what great scandal or route to better government exactly?

    Be nice if BGA focused on what would actually have impact.

  14. - LizPhairTax - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:10 am:

    Here’s hoping that Ken Griffin’s magic bicycle hits some universities and social service agencies next.

    Also, Howard Brookins, he stole your schtick.

  15. - Jocko - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    ==…decisive, unilateral action that demonstrates unions don’t have their old clout is the only way - (to maximize profit for the trade show industry)- giving up even small pieces of legislation fails to make that clear statement.==

    Like he said back on February 25th, “nothing good comes from communicating that way.”

  16. - Dee Lay - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    For context - 2011 was when Rauner was the Chairman of Choose Chicago so the hotel tax cut did actually help the tourism bureau.

  17. - Centenial - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    I’m confused. Rauner writes, “We have to start communicating better than this. Not sure how you can hike the hotel tax and not tell me - makes us all look bad.”

    Why did the Mayor have to tell Rauner he planned to hike a hotel tax? No snark. Just honestly curious how deeply involved in the administration Rauner was. Am I missing something obvious here?

  18. - Roman - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:40 am:

    Combine this with Hillary’s email problems and you have to wonder why any elected official would ever use e-mail.

  19. - truthteller - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    These are the emails they released voluntarily. Was the Mayor required to sign a verification that all the government related emails were produced? I mean he is now a proven liar.

    From prior Tribune article at the time of the lawsuit:
    But Mayor Emanuel said he has done nothing wrong:

    “We always comply and work through all of the Freedom of Information (requests) in the most responsive way possible. I have a practice that my political and personal stays on my private email, and city business is on the government, and that’s the way I operate.”

  20. - Payback - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    From the BGA news release: “We hope the City will take the lessons of this case, the Laquan McDonald case, and many others to heart and continue to seriously reform its transparency policies in a fundamental way without the need for future litigation,”

    Kudos to the BGA! This type of ruling is very significant in order to expose police criminality among other governmental bodies all over the state, at the city and county level.

    Most city councils, village boards, and county boards turn into mutes when it comes to discussing police criminals within their own jurisdictions. These citizen legislators will debate a sewer project to death, but when it comes to looking at the police they turn into weak-kneed little six year old girls. Bravo!

  21. - Slippin' Jimmy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    This guy is whinin’ about $10K? That’s pretty rich!

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