Surprising no one, the Chicago City Council voted this afternoon (Wednesday, September 9) unanimously to approve Mayor Daley’s blank check for the 2016 Olympics.
Mayor Daley wanted this bid and to have a competitive Olympic bid you have to sign a blank check. The Mayor knew this. The 2016 Committee knew this. No Games Chicago knew this. The Aldermen should’ve known it.
What the Mayor wants, he gets.
People of Chicago – you have been totally abandoned. No one is looking out for you. Not the Aldermen – who heaped praise on the Mayor for his vision and courage. Not the local cheer leading media and not the business community. Not the nonprofit groups who collect donations supposedly to protect the common good.
Only No Games Chicago has been telling you the truth about the Olympic scam. We have been the only voice offering unbiased academic research on our web site, news from other host cities and asking tough questions at every opportunity. We have no support from any downtown organization, no funding and we are all volunteers. The 2016 Committee has raised $75 million to sell the bid.
We’d like to remind Chicago or a few important points:
(1) Tax money HAS been spent and committed for the games. Over $200 million is committed for the purchase, demolition and clean-up for the Olympic Village site. The Chicago Park District has committed $35 million for the construction of two venues. The 2016 Committee is guilty of Enron accounting – keeping real expenses off the books in order to make the project look like a winner.
(2) The Civic Federation’s report on the bid was hailed by virtually all the Aldermen as giving them “comfort” and “confidence” in supporting the bid. The Civic Federation and the firm they hired, L.E.K. Consulting, are so compromised by conflict of interest entanglements that should’ve been disqualified before they started their work. Pat Ryan is a significant contributor to the Civic Federation and was given their top citizen’s award in 2007. Almost half of their board members work for companies who are major contributors to the 2016 Committee. L.E.K. did consulting work on privatization for the city and has a large contract for services for the city in review right now. In addition, two thirds of the “experts” consulted for the report work for companies who are major donors to the 2016 Committee. The fix was in from the start and the resulting report is toothless and should be taken for it is – a white wash designed to cover the Aldermen’s backsides. Read our analysis of this whitewash.
(3) The City Council voted to give oversight of the City’s Olympic commitments to Alderman Ed Burke, chairman of the Finance Committee. This is the final cruel joke played by the Council on the taxpayers of Chicago. Mr. Burke has become a millionaire doing deals with firms who have business with the city and has collected millions in campaign contributions from firms doing business with the city. Pat Ryan, the chair of the 2016 effort contributed $3,000 to Mr. Burke. The white haired senior statesman of the Council quoted Aristotle and wondered what future historians would say if we, today, shirked our tremendous Olympic opportunity. He didn’t mention the fact that he has ten clients who are major donors to the 2016 Committee, giving a total of at least $1 million in cash and services, and likely much, much more. Read our press release on this.
These are only a few of the relevant facts not mentioned in the City Council’s deliberations today.
The 2016 bid has been the wrong project for the wrong city at the wrong time.
Chicago, if you want to derail this freight train of financial and environmental disaster, there’s only one group to turn to, and that’s No Games Chicago. Please visit our web site at www.nogameschicago.com and become a No Games Champion.
We have a few actions left to carry out as we race to the October 2 decision in Copenhagen. Will you help us stand up to Mayor Daley and all who have so thoroughly let you down?