Mayor Daley: 'Hatred' prompted fire

Letter writer upset about cougar's death
May 17, 2008 5:41:50 PM PDT
Mayor Daley responded Saturday to the fire investigation under way near his summer home in Michigan. Investigators say the fire that burned two neighboring homes was arson. The mayor's home was not damaged.

The blaze broke out in Grand Beach, Michigan.

"You wonder how people are so [hateful]. Hatred, that's what it is," Mayor Daley said.

For the first time since investigators admitted the mayor was the apparent target of arson, Mayor Daley expressed his thoughts about the fire that could have destroyed his Michigan summer home, but he refused to discuss details of the threatening letter he received that preceded the blaze.

"I can't say that. It's really personal, and very, very vicious," the mayor said.

Sources close to the ongoing investigation say the threatening note was blunt and to the point, singling out the mayor's wife and their children. According the authorities, it arrived at the mayor's city hall office just two days before someone is suspected of setting fire to the grassy dunes adjacent to the backyard of Daley's Grand Beach home.

The fire did not reach the mayor's house, but when winds shifted, fire officials say flames did burn the multi-million-dollar homes of two of his neighbors, including the $2 million house of Chicago Board of Options Vice Chairman Brad Griffith and his wife, fashion designer Tiffani Kim.

It is believed the writer of the letter sent to Daley was not only angry over the killing of a cougar by Chicago police on the city's North Side April 14, but also by the mayor's response to suggestions that the animal should have been tranquillized instead of killed.

Daley said the incident was unfortunate, but that as mayor, dealing with such issues is a part of his job.

"I'm a public person. I think people respect that. Like anything else, you want to safeguard your family, I don't care who you are," said Mayor Daley.


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