SBD/May 25, 2012/Franchises

Chicago Mayor Says Joe Ricketts' Conservative Politics Won't Stand In The Way Of Wrigley Deal

Emanuel (r) said he "made his point" with Tom Ricketts and won't "prolong the dispute"
It appears controversy over Joe Ricketts' conservative politics "will not stand in the way" of a $300M deal to renovate Wrigley Field, "but it could pave the way for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to play hardball with the Cubs," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Emanuel said Thursday that he has "made his point with Tom Ricketts about how divisive and destructive the mayor believes it would have been for family patriarch Joe Ricketts to attack President Barack Obama." Emanuel said that he "sees no need to prolong the dispute, nor will he allow the controversy to sabotage Wrigley negotiations." He said, "At the appropriate time, [the Cubs will] represent their interests, and I'll represent the taxpayers." City Hall sources have said that they "still expect a Wrigley deal to get done because it’s a job creator and because Emanuel is all about 'putting points on the board.'" But the sources said that the controversy "could slow down the team’s accelerated construction timetable and empower the mayor to drive a harder bargain" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/25). In Illinois, Barry Rozner writes, "This is a bit of [a] problem for the Cubs, though probably a temporary one. It’s politics. It’s rhetoric. It’s about saving face now." If Emanuel thinks that helping the Cubs "was the right move before, if there was a framework for a deal already in place, Emanuel isn’t going to scuttle it because of the Joe Ricketts super PAC story." Emanuel is "not someone to cross and the mayor will get his pound of flesh, which means making the Cubs wait and wonder for many more months whether he's going to help them get a stadium deal done." Now it is "going to take more time, more campaign contributions to the right people and lots and lots of groveling" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 5/25).

In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti noted Emanuel earlier this week reached out to the White Sox, but “not the Cubs, to hold a tribute for the Chicago Police Dept. for its work during the NATO Summit.” Asked Wednesday if he considered asking the Cubs to take part, Emanuel would only say, “They did their event.” Ginnetti noted the Cubs' event was a tribute held Wednesday at the 19th District HQ near Wrigley Field. White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said that he was “happy to oblige the request that came from the mayor’s office” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/24).
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