News in brief 5/23/17

Sarahy Lopez and Robin Bridges

Mayor Emanuel to borrow $389 million to finish school year

Mayor Rahm Emanuel brings a $389 million plan to the Chicago Board of Education in order to finish the school year and pay out pensions.

The board will vote to pass the proposed loan next Wednesday. State payments have been held back due to the state budget crisis. Currently, the CPS pension fund is owed $721 million, with the majority of the new loan expected to be used for it.

With the possibility of an approval of a state budget coming to an end, Emanuel plans to rely on a short-term loan in the meantime. If it is successful, the mayor will propose another loan for the next school year.

Billionaire donates $20 million to Rauner’s campaign

Governor Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign received $20 million dollars from hedge fund founder and donor, Ken Griffin.

Griffin is the owner of Citadel, a global investment firm. He has made the largest donation to Rauner’s campaign. “Gov. Rauner cares deeply about the future of our state and making it a better place to live and work,” Griffin said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. “He has the winning plan to create jobs, improve our schools and put Illinois on the right path forward.”

Northwest Side and 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar opposes the donation and said that Rauner and Griffin are creating a “Trump-aligned” agenda. “The billionaire class wants to buy Illinois for themselves. Don’t think for a moment these wealthy people have anyone’s interests but their own at heart,” Pawar said in a press release.

Pritzker announced $1 million deposit to Chicago’s last local black-owned bank

Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker announces a $1 million deposit to the only black-owned, Chicago-based bank left in Illinois. After the closure of Seaway Bank and Trust, Illinois Service Federal Savings became the last of its kind.  A spokeswoman for incumbent candidate Bruce Rauner, called the deposit, “a drop in the bucket to the hundreds of millions Pritzker made peddling loans to minority communities, while costing the taxpayers $300 million and ordinary depositors their savings.”

As reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, Illinois Service President, Robert Klamp, said, “Any focus on community investments and small business growth should be a priority for the state.”  After some back and forth exchange, it has been noted that Pritzker’s deposit at Illinois Service is similar to the deposit Rauner made during his campaign for governor in 2014.

According to Bloomberg reports, the Illinois gubernatorial race is shaping up to be the most expensive campaign of 2018. Large investments have been made – from several candidate’s own contributions and outside campaign donations- on both the democratic and republican sides.

Upcoming election dates are as follows:

Consolidated Primary Election February 28, 2017
Consolidated General Election April 4, 2017
Gubernatorial Primary Election March 20, 2018
Gubernatorial General Election November 6, 2018

Recorder of Deeds in Lake Geneva

Karen Yarbrough, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, spent $12,303.09 of taxpayer money on a weekend leadership retreat at Lake Geneva for her and top staffers, as reported by the Sun Times.

Yarbrough told the Sun Times that the reason for trip was because office morale was low after voters decided last November to get rid of her office come 2020. The group stayed at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa with Yarbrough dorming in the “premier suite.” Yarbrough told the Sun Times that she believes the retreat was a good use of taxpayer money.

The theme for the retreat was “Finding Joy In Leading Despite Difficult Circumstances and Difficult People,” and Yarbrough says it’s a “small, strategic investment” to improve office efficiency, according to the Sun Times.

The Sun Times asked the Cook County inspector general Patrick Blanchard if he was aware of the retreat and he said that he is and an investigation is underway.