Chicago is known for politicians in jail, and politicians that lie their way out of jail! This was evident last week. First the back story:
10 years ago, our last mayor (Richard M. Daley) pushed through a plan to build a park in downtown Chicago called Millenium Park. It became one of his legacies. He commissioned Anish Kapoor, a sculptor who designed and produced a hugh silver bean called Cloudgate, and hired famous designer Frank Geahry to build an amazing bandshell, funded by the Pritzker family, and aptly named Jay Pritzker Pavillion in Millenium Park. There is a huge fountain with video images of kids faces that change throughout the day. All in all a great place to hang out, and a lasting legacy to our last mayor, who spent way to much money for the park, but got it completed.
Included in the park is a restaurant called the Park Grill. It has a very interesting Chicago political history. After the building was built, the park district put out a call for bids to lease the building and run the restaurant. The winning bid was won by two guys who owned a bar on the near south side. He was backed by a bunch of Mayor Daley’s personal, well connected friends. They got an amazing deal from the park district. Free water and natural gas for 20 years, including having the city dig a trench from the gas main, at the city’s cost. They also got free garbage pickup for 20 years! What a deal!!! After the deal was finalized, it was determined that a high ranking employee of the park district was the girl friend (now the husband) of one of the two guys-AND she was pregnant with his child. They were married last year by a prominent Chicago judge who’s husband is the most powerful alderman in the city council.
Wonder how they got that great deal? The park district employee said she recused herself from the negotiations. YEAH,RIGHT!
So this week, our currant mayor is trying to break the lease and lease the restaurant to someone who will pay all the bills. This week, Mayor Daley was deposed (swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth). Seems that he doesn’t remember anything about planning Millenium Park- just woke up one morning and the bean was being installed in the park!!!
Then came the greatest headline in the last ten years on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times:
Mayor Daley testifies: I DON’T KNOW WHAT I KNEW.
YIKES! 6 small words and history is made. You can’t make this stuff up!