If you haven’t heard already, DePaul University and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are collaborating in a plan to build a home for the DePaul Blue Demons at McCormick Place Convention Center. This plan will be, of course, funded by taxpayer dollars. DePaul will have to cough up 70 million, but the City of Chicago will be on the hook for roughly 100 million. The city claims this will all be magically covered via bonds backed by heavily-taxed McPier business and slush, err, I mean TIF funds.
I find it interesting that Mayor Emanuel could on one hand complain that the City of Chicago is in bad financial shape, while on the other hand attempt to compel the taxpayers in Chicago to cover over half of the costs for a stadium that would serve a school owned by the Catholic Church, one of the country’s wealthiest tax-exempt 501©3 organizations.
It pains me to know that $100 million deals are being handed out like popcorn to certain people when sizable numbers of Chicago City employees and their families have been nearly ruined by a recent epidemic of layoffs. Money is supposedly so tight that large numbers of Chicago Public Schools have closed or are scheduled to close, 87% tax hikes in water/sewer services have been made, Chicago Police stations are closing. We’ve been cursed with an ever-growing swarm of revenue-generating and accident-causing red light cameras and a plague of costly parking meters in the name of raising revenue, and a new stadium is how we’re going to spend our hard-earned money?
Some would say that DePaul has finally come out of the closet as a Catholic-clout-heavy operative serving the Chicago Machine. The backdoor dealings of DePaul University’s political power brokers have been a subject of quiet controversy for some years.
One cannot deny the sheer number of political heavyweights that have DePaul as their alma mater. Former Chicago Mayor Michael A. Bilandic, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, former Illinois Appellate Judge Joseph Burke and former Chief Federal Prosecutor Samuel Skinner (who also served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Chief of Staff to President George H. W. Bush) are all DePaul alums. There’s also Chicago Outfit associates like McCormick Place Convention Center contractor William Daddono III. Then there are Chicago Mayors Richard J. and M. Daley, both of whom graduated from DePaul University Law School. Richard M. purportedly received special “assistance” from the now late Cecil Partee (former Treasurer of the City of Chicago, Cook County State’s Attorney and Illinois State Senate President) in passing his bar exams.