Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pritzker leaving Chicago. Who's complaining?

What we miss or lose out on on a local level we more than gain because of her involvement on a national level,” says Marty Nesbitt, who co-founded the Parking Spot airport parking management company with Ms. Pritzker. -- Crain's
Pritzker (Bloomberg pic)
It seems Obama is about to appoint Hyatt's union-bashing billionaire, Penny Pritzker, as his next Commerce Secretary. It's clearly a patronage appointment, the usual payback to Chicago corporate and political leadership for their support in last year's election. Pritzker was Obama's chief fund raiser. That's also the obvious reason why Pritzker was appointed by the mayor to sit on the school board. It's not like she had any other qualifications. Last week she left her position on the  board in preparation for her departure to D.C.

While some are jumping for joy and shouting "good riddance" -- Chicago teachers and Hyatt Regency Hotel workers to name but a few -- others who have benefited more directly from Pritzker patronage are crying the blues.
John Canning Jr., founder and chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners, agrees. If she was unable to give because of a conflict of interest, “we'd certainly miss that,” he says. “She's been extremely generous to a lot of causes. That's important.”
But more realistic Chicago corporate types know that they will ultimately profit on the Pritzker appointment.

Pritzker, now ranked 255th on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, was reportedly in the hunt for that job in 2008. But she withdrew her name apparently because of toxic subprime loans involving a failed bank partially owned by her family. There were also concerns that her $1.8 billion net worth included offshore accounts.Aside from Hyatt,

Pritzker is also the co-founder of PSP Capital Partners LLC and Pritzker Realty Group in Chicago and Artemis Real Estate Partners LLC in Chevy Chase, Md., just outside the capital.

It's unclear if the export of school privatization companies and charter operators to other countries, will be included in her Commerce Dept. portfolio.

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