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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Chicago money man behind Rahm

Michael Sacks, far right, then-Deputy Mayor Mark Angel. 
I call Rahm the "Little Emperor" because of his bullying approach to management. But the emperor doesn't say boo without getting the nod from his big-money patrons in the Civic Committee. Chief among those is behind-the-scenes operator Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, one of the world's largest hedge funds.

Sacks has known the Little Emperor since Rahm left the Clinton White House in the late 1990s to become an investment banker.

Word is, he's the link between Mr. Emanuel and the Daley camp, "alert to potential friction when the mayor, while not mentioning predecessor Richard M. Daley by name", shifts blame for problems he inherited, from the “rotten” meter contract to underfunded pensions. Sean Conroy, Mr. Daley's son-in-law, is a director at Grosvenor, where he has worked since 2004.

Sacks, who actually brokered Rahm's latest parking meter deal, is featured in a recent Chicago Tribune piece.
When Chicago aldermen wanted answers on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new parking meter deal, they heard the details not only from a City Hall lawyer and administrator but from a rich and influential businessman who has no official city job at all. 
People tied to Sacks' Grosvenor Capital Management firm donated nearly $450,000 to help get Emanuel elected, including $100,000 from Sacks personally. He has paid for sports tickets, meals and transportation for his friend since then, though neither man will detail the gifts.
Sacks is the Vice-Chairman of World Business Chicago board  and is also a big player in managing the $39 billion teachers pension fund. Grosvenor has provided investment management services for Illinois teacher pension funds as well as Los Angeles County public employee retirement funds. Grosvenor's fund of funds is second in size only to New York-based Blackstone Group L.P.'s. It routinely vies with the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for the business of big pension funds and other institutional investors.

There's also a revolving door between city and county government and Grosvenor. When Kurt Summers left his job as Cook County Board Pres. Tony Preckwinkle's chief of staff last November, he was immediately hired by Grosvenor as senior vice-president.

Sacks is a big promoter of charter schools and serves as a mayoral adviser on the topic. He also sits on the board of After School Matters, Mayor and Maggie Daley's cash-cow after-school program which was used as back entrance to the old City Hall patronage system.

According to the Tribune:
He is vociferous in his praise of Emanuel's leadership, but always vague when asked to describe his own role in city affairs.

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