The City Council’s Finance Committee today set the stage to remove the single-biggest impediment to Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid — by authorizing Mayor Daley to sign a host-city contract that amounts to an open-ended guarantee from Chicago taxpayers.
Chicago’s reluctance to match the blank-check promise to cover Olympic losses made by Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro was the major criticism cited by the International Olympic Committee in an evaulation report issued last week.
Today’s Finance Committee vote signals the removal of that road-block. If, as expected, the full Council signs off on Wednesday, the about-face will be communicated directly to IOC members — through letters, phone calls and in-person — before the IOC’s Oct. 2 vote.
The ordinance guarantees that aldermen will have, what Corporation Counsel Mara Georges called “tremendous oversight” over Olympic spending and operations, as the Civic Federation has recommended.
Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) and Budget Committee Chairman Carrie Austin (34th) will be ex-officio members of the Olympic Organizing Committee set to replace Chicago 2016 if the IOC chooses Chicago.
This is all going according to the Mayor’s wishes. Alderman Burke will keep a sure eye on the taxpayer’s money, so not to worry! Say wasn’t he busted today for spending our money to enhance his private property?