With my old pals aldermen Danny Solis and Nick Sposato calling for an investigation into Lori Lightfoot, it’s time for me to cut one of my famous deals.
All right, fellas, you want an independent investigation into why Lightfoot didn’t tell Rahm she intended to run against him for mayor when he reappointed her to the Police Board?
Knock yourself out.
But in that case, let’s launch some meaty what-did-he-know-and-when-did-he-know-it investigations into stuff people really want to get to the bottom of. Such as . . .
The mayor’s handling of the video showing Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald.
Mayor Rahm swears up and down he never saw the video until November 2015—months after he was safely reelected.
I don’t think anyone believes him. So let’s call the mayor and his lawyers to the City Council and ask them to get more specific.
I don’t believe the state’s attorney would be prosecuting Van Dyke for murder had a circuit court judge not forced the mayor to release the tape of the shooting. So evidence of an alleged murder would have been buried forever.
Well, let’s get the mayor under oath and ask him if when he saw the tape—if only to watch him try to duck and dodge his way out of this one.
While we’re at it, let’s launch a City Council investigation into how $50 million in property tax dollars earmarked for a Marriott Hotel in the
South Loop wound up being spent on Navy Pier.
Let’s ask the mayor to reveal the legally mandated eligibility studies he put together to demonstrate that Navy Pier—which isn’t even in a TIF district—warranted $50 million in TIF dollars.
Then ask him to show us the reports he sent to his appointees at the Chicago Public Schools explaining why the $50 million was better spent on Navy Pier than on hiring special education teachers.
For that matter, how about a City Council investigation into CPS’s handling of special education, which the state recently appointed a monitor to oversee.
Then let’s hold an investigation into the never-ending scandal of the city’s parking meter deal. The latest audit shows investors reaped $134.2 million last year from the meters, according to the Sun-Times.
Let’s call in police superintendent Eddie Johnson to ask how many police officers he could hire for $134 million a year.
If you recall, the investors lent the city $1.15 billion in exchange for all the parking meter proceeds for 75 years.
The meters are bringing in so much money, the investors should make back that $1.15 billion by 2021. After that, it’s all gravy for the next 62 years.
Rahm likes to blame his predecessor—you know, Mayor Whatshisname—for this boondoggle.
And, yes, it’s true, Mayor Daley cut the original deal back in 2008. But in 2013, Mayor Rahm reworked the deal (free parking on Sundays, yeah!) and strong-armed the City Council into reaffirming it.
By doing that, the mayor effectively undercut a lawsuit intended to terminate the deal.
So let’s ask the mayor to reveal the documents he prepared to prove it was a good deal to reaffirm a deal that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to annual borrowing fees until the year 2083.
That ought to make for some creative accounting.
But why limit our investigations to bad deals from the past when there are so many new boondoggles on the horizon?
Let’s hold a City Council investigation into what the mayor’s offered Amazon to bring its second headquarters to Chicago.
He still hasn’t told us. He won’t even tell us what locations Amazon’s site-selection team visited when they recently came to town.
The mayor claims this is proprietary information. Apparently, he won’t share the details until after he and Amazon have reached some kind of accord—which, by then, would probably be too late to stop.
While we’re at it, let’s hold an investigation into the amount of property tax dollars the mayor plans to spend on the new soccer stadium Tom Ricketts and Sterling Bay want to build on the banks of the Chicago River.
Or how much it will cost us for the entertainment venues Live Nation wants to build in the same general area.
So far the mayor’s lips have been sealed on this info—as relevant as it may be to our pocketbooks.
The person with the answers to these questions is Rahm Emanuel—not Lori Lightfoot.
Yes, sir—let the investigations begin.