Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 - Durkin reponds - Madigan responds *** Rauner slams House’s Thompson Center sale legislation
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*** UPDATED x2 - Durkin reponds - Madigan responds *** Rauner slams House’s Thompson Center sale legislation

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller


The House on Monday did advance two other “reforms” desired by Rauner. A House committee advanced a plan (Senate Bill 886) to allow Rauner to begin the process of selling the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, and the full House passed changes to the state’s procurement code (Senate Bill 8) .

However, the Rauner spokesperson says House Speaker Michael Madigan “hijacked” the Thompson Center measure “to steer $50 million to the city of Chicago while putting the interests of a close friend and lobbyist ahead of Illinois taxpayers.”

* Mary Ann Ahern

One of the building’s retail tenants is represented by Madigan ally, attorney Mike Kasper.

The governor has predicted the Thompson Center will sell for $300 million dollars. The sale would take a zoning change from the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has expressed concern about the cost of relocating the CTA Lake Street station located inside the Thompson.

A spokesperson for Madigan said the comments from the governor’s office “make no sense,” noting the bill was approved in a House committee Monday night.

“There were extensive negotiations,” Steve Brown said in a statement. “And there were some of the ‘blank check’ ideas from the governor that are not part of the legislation. The state will get their loophole in the Surplus Property Act so they can proceed with the sale.”

The guy cannot ever seem to take a win.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Press release…

Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday after the House voted to pass Senate Bill 886, which would advance Gov. Bruce Rauner’s requested sale of the Thompson Center:

“Governor Rauner has prioritized the sale of the Thompson Center and today’s action moves us toward that sale. House Democrats have again demonstrated our willingness to work with the governor to achieve his goals, while ensuring—as is our duty—that these goals are achieved in the best interest of the people we represent. No negotiation can be one sided, and I urge the governor to now join House Democrats in resolving the most important issue facing our state, which is passing a state budget.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** House Republican Leader Jim Durkin…

“The Democratic bill to sell the James R. Thompson Center is another attempted money grab by the City of Chicago and a bad deal for the taxpayers of Illinois. The James R. Thompson Center was built with state taxpayer money and is owned by the State of Illinois – not the City of Chicago. Our first obligation should be to negotiate a deal that maximizes proceeds to benefit the State of Illinois. The bill that passed the House tonight takes care of Chicago at the expense of all other Illinois taxpayers.”


  1. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    Perhaps the only “win” Rauner wants is to destroy Madigan. Everything else is merely collateral damage.

  2. - Mr. K - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    I assume any acknowledgement of a “win” or a “deal” makes Rauner look weak. Like he caved.

    So, no, he’ll never take a win. It’s never a win.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:05 pm:


    ===The guy cannot ever seem to take a win.===


    “I want the win, sure, but I need it framed, sold, and discussed as a win exactly as I want it, without a hint of compromises, or no deal.”

    The politics of governing is lost on this Administratuon.

  4. - Annonin' - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    It is refreshin’ to see DopeyDuct negotiatin’ style on full display. He wants a blank check to build or put whatever he wanted on the currently tax exempt. He wants to cancel the retailers leases. This is a stunnin’ display. He should hope the city or the city council does not unload on him over this…
    BTW who is the “friend”

  5. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    Bruce the good news is that you can sell the Thompson Center. The bad news, at least from your perspective, is that we’re spelling out what you can do with the money.

  6. - NW-IL - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:25 pm:

    Why would selling the building require a train station to be moved? That seems unnecessary and costly. Can’t have a station in a private building?

    Didn’t see reason in article.

  7. - Galena Guy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Anyone want to explain to NW? I gotta get back to work.

  8. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    “…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

    “Call me Ishmael”

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===Why would selling the building require a train station to be moved?===

    Because they’re not gonna keep the building. They’re gonna knock it down.

    Try to keep up.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===Why would selling the building require a train station to be moved? That seems unnecessary and costly. Can’t have a station in a private building?

    Didn’t see reason in article===

    “Didn’t see it in the article”

    I just checked, Google is up and working…

  11. - ILPundit - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    He doesn’t know how to take a win because he doesn’t WANT the win on the issue. He moves the goalposts constantly on every conceivable issue.

    Starving the beast and breaking government IS the strategy. This should be obvious by now to everyone.

  12. - Illinois O'Malley - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    Wonder if the owner of high yield Illinois bonds will also get the sweet leases for displaced Thompson center state workers.

  13. - Lech W - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job”

  14. - phocion - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    I believe the train station is underground; you access it from the ground floor of the Thompson center. A developer won’t have to “move” the train station. In fact, it would be a huge selling point to have an el stop right there. Build over it and perhaps move access to it from Lake/Clark/Randolph/LaSalle. There, just saved you $50 million.

  15. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    ===I believe the train station is underground; you access it from the ground floor of the Thompson center.===

    It’s both. There is access to the subway (ie, underground) as well as to the el (as in, elevated). But there is also access from the building acorss Lake Street, 203 N. LaSalle.

    Tearing down the JRTC then re-building on site will be tricky as to ensure the safety of the passengers and trains, but the site was always going to be adjacent to the elevated tracks, making it a tricky project. The right design and construction firm can probably pull it off without huge additional costs.

    And yes, to those who say the CTA station is a boon to a new owner, I agree. It will be, assuming they can figure out how to build it into the new plans and construct it safely.

  16. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Didn’t MJM agree to the Guv’s request to privatize DCEO, he just put a 2 year sunset on it? But the Guv whined that wasn’t good enough, so he went and did it on his own via EO (and private dollars). Boy, with all the jobs Intersect has been growin’, he really showed MJM.

    It seems like the same thing is playing out here.

    When you spend 99% of your time saying that MJM is the problem with everything in state government, how would it look if you ever reached agreement with such a guy?

    The goal for the Guv is to take away MJM’s power. Making the state a better place doesn’t do that. Making the state a worse place, and blaming MJM for it is what he is hoping will do it.

  17. - Dee Lay - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    ” while putting the interests of a close friend and lobbyist ahead of Illinois taxpayers.”

    So the argument is about the lawyer of one (1) of the 37 commercial tenants.

    That’s some good prioritizing there Gov’nr.

  18. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:22 pm:


    Just stop - half the Thompson Center cta station (and more than half the passenger volume) is above ground and connects to the brown, orange, purple, and pink lines. I checked just today. It’s still there.

    Not even Speaker Madigan and Governor Rauner can disagree that half that station is above ground. Bough God knows they’d probably try.

  19. - Skeptic - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    “Not even Speaker Madigan and Governor Rauner can disagree that half that station is above ground.” But then they might argue about what color “brown” is.

  20. - phocion - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Chicago Bars - just stop. Take another look next time you’re there. It’s an relatively straight forward build around. This is not a $50 million problem. Except Rahm and Madigan are shaking down the state to make it one.

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Just so long as the governor is focusin’ on the big issues.

    Obviously, the fate of one square block in the Loop is the biggest thing on his plate at the moment.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    ===It’s an relatively straight forward build around. This is not a $50 million problem.===

    If you are an engineer, preferably a architectural engineer with an emphasis on transportation, I’d take your word on the “straight-forward” nature of this.

    ===Except Rahm and Madigan are shaking down the state to make it one===

    Like the $215 million veto… a shake down for pension reform, purposely hurting Chicago students, vetoed “emotionally”?

  23. - Just Me - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:36 pm:

    Complaints about the CTA station are fake. One of the reasons the Thompson Center is so valuable is because it has its own station that a developer will surely want to upgrade as a PPP.

    It is also noteworthy that the station is not below the Thompson Center, it is below Lake Street.

  24. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    There’s a lot of bad governors out there–Sam Brownback, Dan Malloy, Mary Fallin come to mind–yet somehow Rauner takes the cake by miles!

  25. - Juice - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    Just me, if the complaints are so fake, then a private developer shouldn’t have a problem with paying for the costs, which is what the changes to the bill would require.

  26. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    In attempting to simply point out a commenter was literally stating there was no above ground train station at he Thompson Center forgot the big takeaway…

    Pass this bill and sell that unloved and unlovely building to a developer and get it back on the property tax rolls. Archdiocese just got $105,000,000 for a block size parking lot by Chicago el stop. Surely Governor, Mayor Emanuel, and company can get even more for Thompson Center.

  27. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    OW, I grew up with that building. Almost hurt me bad once.

    Doing the above-ground CTA station is a relatively straightforward workaround. Unequivocally. As we’ve talked here before, if you want to keep the Station open 100% of the time during demo, up goes the cost. The Station across the street (203 N. LaSalle) can and will have to serve as a reliever for some periods of time if the CTA wants close to 100% uptime.

  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:14 am:

    Some days it feels like instead of watching Governor Rauner, I am just watching Blagojevich reruns:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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