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But his e-mails…

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Deadspin

In the few years after the Ricketts Family Trust purchased the Cubs, they repeatedly sought to use taxpayer money and subsidies to fund the development of Wrigley and its surrounding areas: They proposed using $200 million of public funds to develop the Triangle Building near Wrigley Field, sought the use of local amusement tax funds that might otherwise be spent on public services, and attempted to use a hefty federal subsidy to pay for renovations of the field. Though the negotiations, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel remained unimpressed: “I will not put my money in their field so they can take their money, and invest around the field, and get a greater economic value,” the mayor told ABC towards the end of negotiations, in 2012. “If it’s important, they should invest there.”

The angst over Emanuel’s public position apparently lasted even after the Ricketts family offered to put $300 million of their own money into the field, as well as an additional $200 million into surrounding businesses. Having received a final proposal for the Ricketts investment in the Cubs, Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune:

    When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said no. Then they said we’d like $150 million, and I said no. Then they asked whether they could have $100 million in taxpayer subsidies, and I said no. Then they asked about $55 million in taxpayer subsidies. I said no. The good news is, after 15 months they heard the word ‘No.’”

* Todd Ricketts then sent two e-mails

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Date: January 23, 2013

Subject: mayor emmanuel

Mr Mayor, would you like for the Cubs to stay in the city of Chicago… “No”

“When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted 200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said, `No.’ Then, they said we’d like 150 million taxpayer dollars and I said, `No.’ Then, they asked if they could have 100 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and I said ‘No.’ Then, they asked about 55 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies. I said ‘No’. The good news is after 15 months, they’ve heard the word, `No,’ “ Emanuel said.

I think we should contemplate moving, or at least recognize that we are maybe not the right organization to own the Cubs.

And

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Date: January 23, 2013

Subject: RE: mayor emmanuel

I just hate the thought of Tom having to grovel to this guy to put money into a building we already own.

A response

From: Joe Ricketts

To: Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Yes Todd, it makes me sad, it hurts my feelings to see Tom treated this way. He is way superior to the Mayor in every way.

I have been brought up to deplore the type of value system adopted by the Mayor of Chicago. This is stating it mildly.

So, Todd resents his brother having to grovel to get taxpayer money and the father deplores the mayor’s value system.

…Adding… From comments…

This excerpt omits that there was far more than saying no to the Cubs request (to be treated like every other pro sports team in Chicago - heck, Rahm even built a new arena for DePaul). The City put up repeated roadblocks to the Cubs using their own money. That is a reference to having to grovel to put money “into a building we already own.” He is referencing having to grovel to put *his own* money into renovations.

       

42 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:38 am:

    “Small government conservatives”


  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:38 am:

    What value system is Joe Ricketts referring to exactly? I thought the old man despised taxpayer handouts to connected businessmen. Didn’t he star in a video saying just that?

    Or does he mean something else? I’m confused.


  3. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:41 am:

    The Ricketts Family has little to complain about on their ROI for the Cubs. “Welfare” from Chicago was hardly needed.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/194605/mlb-franchise-value-of-the-chicago-cubs-since-2006/


  4. - Tom Threat - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    These guys. Sheesh.

    I mean they made Rahm Emanuel look like a friend and protector of the taxpayer.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    The Ricketts, in this instance, are like Bruce and Diana Rauner, in so far as…

    …”it’s ok to get funding for me or my passions and businesses, but no way does anyone deserve what our money gives us, which is access and the ability to say one thing, and try and want to do the exact opposite.”…

    I love Yuengling beer, I love the Cubs.

    Both have policies and thoughts I can strongly disagree with, and still like their product(s)

    These emails show us behind the curtain where money, power, and leverage is the game, the Cubs (maybe not the right group to lead it?) are just an asset in those dynamics.


  6. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:46 am:

    NIU Grad - This excerpt omits that there was far more than saying no to the Cubs request (to be treated like every other pro sports team in Chicago - heck, Rahm even built a new arena for DePaul). The City put up repeated roadblocks to the Cubs using their own money. That is a reference to having to grovel to put money “into a building we already own.” He is referencing having to grovel to put *his own* money into renovations.


  7. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:54 am:

    === Rahm even built a new arena for DePaul===

    First, that’s not true. Second, the triangle building is on a city street that was vacated and given to the Cubs. But that wasn’t enough. They want Sheffield closed on game days so they can charge admission to their own private little street festival. Finally, they sent Crane Kenney to do their negotiations. A more smug and patrician character you could not find.

    The arrogance of these billionaires and their retainers is astounding.


  8. - JoanP - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:54 am:

    I loathe the fact that taxpayer money is used to support *any* sports team. The use of TIF funds to build an arena for DePaul was a travesty.

    I have no sympathy for the Ricketts’.


  9. - view from the cheap seats - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    the most fascinating part of this whole story is who is leaking these emails. That circle is pretty close on those emails.


  10. - Montrose - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    Combine these emails with the fact that the Cubs are still here and the Ricketts still own them, and you can see they recognized they could still make a boat load of money without public funding.


  11. - Dozer - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    I have questions.

    I want to preface it by saying that I’m not defending nor do I condone or support the attitudes, belief systems or political positions taken in these emails.

    Questions: Are we certain that these are authentic emails? Are we certain that the emails were actually drafted by members of the Ricketts family? What’s the comfort level with the source(s) and the methods used to obtain these alleged messages? I wouldn’t expect the Ricketts to confirm or deny the authenticity of the emails, so how do we actually confirm authenticity?

    Last night I read through many of the alleged emails and my first impression is that the language used in the emails isn’t how actual human family members speak to each other. Language seem stilted, overly formal, as if someone else crafted them or some of them. I have no evidence at all to suggest that something’s up. All I have is my initial reaction based on my read on the language used to craft the emails.


  12. - Not It - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    The City really did make it difficult for the Cubs to control their own destiny. The City wanted zero public money, but a long list of public demands.

    Still, the Ricketts and the Cubs seem to doing just fine.


  13. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    I loathe the fact that taxpayer money is used to support *any* sports team. The use of TIF funds to build an arena for DePaul was a travesty.

    I have no sympathy for the Ricketts.

    Part of the Lincoln Yards $800,000,000* TIF scheme is building a new professional soccer stadium for Tom Ricketts.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/ct-biz-tom-ricketts-soccer-team-ryan-ori-20180508-story.html

    – MrJM

    *Not a typo. Eight-hundred million dollars.


  14. - buck'n'irish - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    ==Yes Todd, it makes me sad, it hurts my feelings to see Tom treated this way. He is way superior to the Mayor in every way.==

    First off weird to see family members talk this way to each other. Second, Rahm has been head of the DCCC, Chief of staff to the president, and mayor of Chicago. Pretty hard to say he is superior in every way. Even if it is your son.


  15. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    The unfortunate, aggrieved Ricketts clan paid $700M for the team in 2009.

    Just 9 years later, the team is valued at $2.9B. That is a 300% increase in just 9 years.

    And then factor in the annual net profits from the Cubs ventures (rooftops, new sponsorships).

    But despite all that, Todd is still trying to play the victim.

    “I think we should contemplate moving, or at least recognize that we are maybe not the right organization to own the Cubs.”

    Ok Toddy. Move. Or sell. Or quit your whining.


  16. - Pundent - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    =I wouldn’t expect the Ricketts to confirm or deny the authenticity of the emails, so how do we actually confirm authenticity?=

    Really? If this was all fabricated you would expect the Ricketts to sit by idly and allow themselves to be dragged through the mud? What purpose would that serve?


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    ==Man Rich and JB are already scared of Ricketts for Governor===

    I never saw the appeal of this guy before, and now I see even less. Who thought this guy would make a good governor? A few Cubs fans and the remaining Raunerites? Sounds like someone wants to recapture the lighting in the bottle that was Rauner’s first election. Good luck with that.


  18. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    ===The use of TIF funds to build an arena for DePaul was a travesty.===

    Not that facts matter anymore but Wintrust Arena received approximately zero TIF dollars from the city. And let’s also remember, the arena is publicly owned. It’s not like a private entity was subsidized, as would be the case with the Ricketts/Cubs deal. Apples and oranges.

    It’s awful when the truth ruins a perfectly good rant, but it happens occasionally.


  19. - Dozer - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:27 am:

    Prudent….point taken: Ricketts et.al. may have come to conclusion that commenting throws fuel on fire and not commenting lets story die from lack of oxygen. Again my Qs stem from the language used in the alleged emails.


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    “Not that facts matter anymore but Wintrust Arena received approximately zero TIF dollars from the city.”
    Wintrust Arena maybe didn’t use TIF dollars but it used taxpayer dollars, 82.5 million. The deal was made when Chicago closed 50 schools because we couldn’t afford them.


  21. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Ricketts would just be another Rauner if he ever became Governor.


  22. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    ===maybe didn’t use TIF dollars but it used taxpayer dollars, 82.5 million===

    The public owns it. Why shouldn’t the public pay for it? In this case, MPEA got DePaul to pay the other $82.5 million and yet you people are still complaining that somehow this was a gift to a private university. If anything, the opposite is true.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:11 am:

    I’m thinking Todd isn’t the brains out the outfit.

    Dude, the team’s value has increased $2.2 billion in nine years, and you’re whining?

    Where are you going to move to where it will hold that value, drawing 3 million every year who spend like crazy inside the park?


  24. - Pundent - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    =Ricketts et.al. may have come to conclusion that commenting throws fuel on fire and not commenting lets story die from lack of oxygen.=

    And if someone had the means and motivation to fabricate this why expect the story to stop here?

    Maybe the “writing style” isn’t up to your standards but if you’ve followed the history of the Ricketts family this does seems to fit a prior narrative.


  25. - Stumpy's bunker - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    So the Cubs are disposable, you want public dollars to substitute for your own to grow your already-successful business, public-sector working stiffs have it too good, you might take your ball and move away, and the principles of Scott Walker are all that is good and holy.

    Got it.


  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    Todd seems fully prepared to take up the position of Entitled Whiny Rich Dude soon to vacated in the Illinois GOP.


  27. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    ===Todd seems fully prepared to take up the position of Entitled Whiny Rich Dude soon to vacated in the Illinois GOP.===

    He seems overqualified.


  28. - Colin O'Scopey - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    Dear Cubs,

    Please move.

    Signed

    A White Sox Fan


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    I have no illusions that the McCaskeys, Reinsdorfs, and Wirtzes have more altruistic views of Chicagoans, but they’ve have the sense not to share them like this. It takes some doing to make Rahm Emanuel look like the guardian of working people against moneyed interests. Perhaps if the values of Chicagoans are not to their liking, they can sell the team to a local like John Rogers or one of the Pritzkers. Alternately, I hear there’s a friendly governor in Nebraska, so good luck keeping the gravy train going for the Omaha Cubs.


  30. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    These Rickett’s guys sure do whine a lot.


  31. - The Way I See It - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    Best way to fix attitudes like that is through repeated City inspections of Wrigley Field.


  32. - Oof - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    [Dear Cubs,
    Please move.
    Signed
    A White Sox Fan ]

    Yeah this is funny and all but if the Cubs ever left, one of the few economic hot spots of the city would go bust. I’m not even a Cubs fan and while it’s humorous to view the owners’ emails complaining but Rahm demands everything and contributes nothing.


  33. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    The City needs to stick to fundamentals: educating kids, fighting crime, streets and garbage pick up. Not hairbrained schemes. Even if the City recoups some of the ticket money from Wintrust Arena it is a loser. The Wintrust Arena is a dud. Lincoln Yards is going to be a dud. We dodged bullets not getting Amazon or Foxconn or the Olyimpics. Good thing the Ricketts are so unlikeable or we would be paying for the Cubs too.

    https://www.illinoispolicy.org/taxpayer-funded-wintrust-arena-falls-short-of-attendance-projections/


  34. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    =This excerpt omits =

    You also are omitting the fact that the Cubs/Ricketts wanted public dollars for their private enterprise. Real tough guy capitalists this clan.


  35. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    = I’m thinking Todd isn’t the brains out the outfit.=

    Todd and Crane get to share the same custodial space. Crane at least has a decent idea from time to time and knows not to write them down.


  36. - DarkHorse - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    Ricketts seems even less appealing than Ives. I’m rooting for a Ricketts-Ives gov primary in 2022.


  37. - A 400lb. Guy on a bed - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    I’ll bet the Tribune will be all over this story.


  38. - so.... - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 1:02 pm:

    the Ricketts inquired about a deal for public money like the other franchises got under the IL Sports Facilities Authority, and we’re shocked - offended - hurt even


  39. - Pundent - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    Not at all shocked by this. But I can appreciate the irony of being opposed to the ACA while expecting a subsidy for a private business.


  40. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    “the Ricketts inquired about a deal for public money like the other franchises got under the IL Sports Facilities Authority, and we’re shocked - offended - hurt even”

    Yeah I guess we’re finally learning. Better late than never.


  41. - Albany Park Patriot - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    These emails are proof that, oftentimes, rich people are just dumb.


  42. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==But I can appreciate the irony of being opposed to the ACA while expecting a subsidy for a private business.==

    And if you caught yesterday’s little e-mail nuggets on here you would have also seen the irony of opposing the ACA while stating he wanted to move to New Zealand, a country with a national healthcare system and extremely high taxes.


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