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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rahm's Midway privatization deal crashes and burns. Where are the feds?

I don't think so...
As if we needed another reason to dump mayoral control of the schools, look no further than the collapse of another corrupt City Hall boondoggle -- the privatization of Midway Airport.

In my August 22nd post, I showed how Rahm Emanuel's proposed privatization of Midway, part of the Mayor's so-called Infrastructure Trust, was a continuation of his and the previous mayor's ongoing efforts to privatize nearly all remaining public space in the city, including public schools. The plan, which targets unions and funnels billions into the pockets of foreign corporations represented by political cronies like lobbyist and former 12th Ward Alderman Mark Fary (husband of city Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino), has now fallen through. All but one of the bidders has reportedly pulled out of the deal in the face of ongoing City Hall corruption investigations.

According to the Tribune:
The privatization process has played out behind closed doors, and the Emanuel administration and the bidders have declined to discuss much in the way of specifics, making it difficult to immediately sort out what happened. What is clear, however, is that the stalled Midway effort is the latest hitch in Emanuel's attempt to privatize public assets to raise money and help the city dig out from under a mountain of red ink. The mayor's Chicago Infrastructure Trust also has gotten off to a slow start.
Fran Spielman writes in yesterday's Sun-Times:
Emanuel was facing mounting opposition from a City Council still suffering from the political after-effects of the widely-despised, 75-year deal that privatized Chicago parking meters.
Cronies: Ahmad, Emanuel & Scott (Heather Charles/Tribune)
But the real reason the mayor was forced to junk the Midway deal  probably had more to do with the recent indictment in Ohio of Rahm's former comptroller, Amer Ahmad, and his connection to the city's CFO Lois Scott. Scott who would have been the mayor’s point-person in selling the Midway deal to the City Council, has been implicated in the Ahmad scandal. She's one who recommended Ahmad to Rahm. It turns out that Scott's private financial firm worked on some $200 million in state highway construction bonds in Ohio and that Scott Balice Strategies LLC, co-owned by Scott, served as "financial adviser to the treasurer" on those Ohio deals. After Scott came aboard as Emanuel's chief financial officer in May 2011, she selected a firm that employed Ahmad's onetime boss, former Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce, for hundreds of thousands of dollars in city bond work.When Boyce was a public official, Scott's firm profited, and when Scott became a public official under Emanuel, Boyce's firm profited. And Ahmad was at the center of it all.

Ahmad was also placed on the  boards of all four of the City's largest pension funds. All this on top of the mayor's efforts to remove or hamstring Chicago's IG, Joe Ferguson, just made the deal too big a load for Rahm's PR department.

A previous Midway deal fell apart four years ago, leaving Chicago taxpayers with a $126 million down payment but no apparent way to shore up underfunded city pensions.

Where are the feds?

Also see: 
Ald. Waguespack: Emanuel camp skilled at shifting facts, changing stories
Pinstripe patronage at city hall should be taken ‘out of the hands of one person’: alderman

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