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Chicago 2016's About-Face Increases Financial Risk For Taxpayers
Published June 18, 2009
|Daley's Pledge To Limit Potential
Taxpayer Exposure In Jeopardy
SIGN, SEALED, DELIVERED? Heard said that with the new "layer of insurance protection," Daley intends to sign the host city contract "without returning to the City Council for authorization." Several Chicago Aldermen "strongly disagreed," arguing that Daley has "'no authority' to sign the host-city contract without Council approval" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/18). The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Bergen & Hersh note it is unclear "just how the city would reconcile the difference between the size of its limited guarantees and the potential price tag for putting on the Games." Chicago 2016 President Lori Healey said that the additional insurance policy "brings the bid's aggregate safety net to a point where the likelihood of any further liability [is] extremely remote," and it "should provide the necessary assurance" the IOC has asked for (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/18). CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS' Greg Hinz noted Chicago 2016 officials and Daley "continue to insist that the risk to taxpayers is theoretical," but for an event with a projected $3.3B operations budget, that is a "lot of theoreticals." Olympic Games "traditionally make money on operation." But there is "no guarantee it's true," and the "only guarantee will come from taxpayers." Before Chicago 2016 signs the contract, the City Council "needs to fully explore every aspect of just who's liable for what." Hinz: "I've been a backer of the Chicago 2016 Olympics bid. But it's getting hard to remain one. It's time for Mr. Daley to disclose everything, answer all the questions, and for the City Council to do its job" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 6/17). A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial states Daley's decision to sign the host city contract "removes a big IOC question about Chicago's bid -- but at what potential cost to Chicago taxpayers?" Did Daley "just commit his citizens to write a blank check?" Before Chicago 2016 signs the contract ahead of the IOC meetings in October, Daley has "plenty of time to come home and explain to taxpayers ... just how they're still protected" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/18).
Writer Says Rio Looking Like Favorite
Following Yesterday's Presentations