Crowds gather at Navy Pier in 2016. Credit: Lou Foglia/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Monday, July 24, 2017.

  • Report: Emanuel administration “diverted” millions of TIF dollars to Navy Pier renovations

City officials in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration “signed off on an elaborate financial shell game that obscured payment of $55 million for renovations at Navy Pier with tax dollars reserved to fight urban blight, records show,” according to an investigation by Crain’s Chicago Business and the Better Government Association. In 2014 Emanuel’s administration started filtering money from tax increment financing (TIF) funds “through a hotel project at McCormick Place, capitalizing on its Near South Side location as a rationale for tapping funds reserved for struggling communities.” The investigators obtained e-mails and internal documents showing officials discussing the funding through Freedom of Information Act requests. The situation “vividly illustrates a frequent complaint that the purpose of TIF districts has been distorted by Emanuel, and Mayor Richard Daley before him, to bankroll vanity projects at the expense of schools and other neighborhood services.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]

  • Chris Kennedy discusses Kennedy family history with gun violence

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy opened up about his family’s history with gun violence while introducing policy proposals Saturday. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who were both tragically assassinated by gunmen in the 1960s. One of the Kennedy’s proposals is to add 2,000 new Chicago police officers, and he says the increased safety is worth a tax increase. “Tell that to the thousands of people who were shot last year,” he said. “Tell that to the people of the families that lost a loved one. Tell that to the children who will be unproductive adults because they can’t process the trauma. Tell that to the taxpayer who’s going to have the burden of those families for their entire lives because we didn’t pay for a few extra police officers today.” [Tribune]

  • Tom Dart: Trump administration should help Chicago fight gun violence instead of sending more immigration agents

President Donald Trump’s administration should be helping Chicago fight gun violence instead of sending more immigration agents, according to Cook County sheriff Tom Dart. He has sent the federal government “numerous letters” asking for help to stop the shootings. “I would really love for them to respond to that and help us in those areas,” Dart said. “I don’t understand how [assigning more ICE agents to Chicago] would help stem this violence. If the federal government wants to be helpful in that area, we need it.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Eyewitness describes John Dillinger’s fatal shooting in vintage video

Saturday was the 83rd anniversary of notorious gangster John Dillinger’s shooting death outside the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. DNAinfo Chicago uncovered a vintage video of Edgar Allemand, a mechanic who saw the shooting while working at Billy Bart’s Garage across the street from the Biograph, describing what he saw. “It was a gruesome sight. He just dropped as cattle would in a slaughter house . . . ” he said. “His shirt was bloody on both parts, back and front, with blood oozing on the streets. Dillinger had no chance ever. Just as his victims were gone before so he had found his own fate at last.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Vic Mensa talks gun violence, drug overdoses, and growing up on the south side

Rapper Vic Mensa is living a dream. He’s a rising star signed to Jay Z’s record label Roc Nation, but his life hasn’t always been as easy as it might seem. The Hyde Park native, who addresses his struggles in his new album The Autobiography, discussed his upbringing on the south side in an interview with the Tribune. “We have a society right now where you can count on two things to continue—opioid ODs and Chicago violence—and I found myself in the middle of both,” he said. “I fell deeply into self-medication. It numbed me. I’d be on stage in Ireland performing for thousands of people and just not believing in what I’m doing at all. And it hurt, it hurt badly. I knew every day that I couldn’t continue this way. I was depressed and suicidal. I knew this was wrong for me, but I didn’t see a way out.” [Tribune]

  • Hundreds gather for funeral of True Blood star in Harvey

About 500 people gathered at Holy Temple Cathedral in Harvey Saturday for the funeral of True Blood and Elementary star Nelsan Ellis. Fellow actors Viola Davis, Anna Paquin, Tika Sumpter and Carrie Preston were among the mourners. “He was like my baby,” Davis said in a speech. “When I saw that he was sick, I begged him to get better because I didn’t want to let him go. I still don’t want to let him go.” The 39-year-old Harvey native attended Thornridge High School, Illinois State University, and the Juilliard School. [Sun-Times]