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Emanuel, Quinn continue to clash over state sports authority

October 9, 2012 8:34:37 PM PDT
Mayor Emanuel fires back after Gov. Quinn accuses the mayor of smearing his choice to lead the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.

The governor and mayor insist they are fighting each other to protect the taxpayers. The flashpoint is the nomination of an aide to the governor to lead the state agency that runs Chicago's publicly owned stadiums.

"She's honest, she's strong. She happens to be a woman and we're not gonna let anybody run her over," said Quinn.

The governor made it clear again that he would stand behind his communications chief Kelly Kraft to become the new director at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), the agency that runs U.S. Cellular Field and helps finance Soldier Field. Quinn has accused operatives of Emanuel with running a character assassination campaign against Kraft in an attempt to get a director more to the mayor's liking.

"Everybody knows what's going on. They've been doing that. They know," said Quinn.

"Not true," said Emanuel. "This is all about protecting the taxpayers."

The mayor denied the Quinn charge that he wants his own director who will arrange a "backroom" deal for the authority to finance the rehabilitation of Wrigley Field.

"I frankly am very skeptical of using any public money to repair a private sports stadium," said Quinn.

"That's never been discussed. It's ridiculous. It's not even been on the table," said Emanuel.

Emanuel on Tuesday called for a national search to find the best possible director:

"Let's have a real search for the person with the best talent," said Emanuel.

"Funny, he didn't say that back last spring. He called me up and he wanted a certain person appointed right away," said Quinn.

The governor's office has confirmed that in 2009, shortly before Kraft joined the administration as assistant budget director, she filed a personal bankruptcy. Quinn said the matter is resolved as he inferred again the bankruptcy information was leaked by the mayor's operatives.

"Running her down by anybody is just plain wrong," said Quinn.

The mayor he worries about the state law that says any deficit incurred by the ISFA has to be made up by Chicago taxpayers.

"If you have bad management at a place where the taxpayers of the city of Chicago are at risk and on the hook, that's what I'm worried about," said Emanuel.

The seven-member ISFA board will elect the executive director next month. Quinn appointed four of the board members; the mayor appointed three.

City Hall sources say that last spring, the mayor pushed for the appointment of Judy Martinez, a former Daley administration bureaucrat. The governor refused and nominated his own choice, Kelly Kraft.


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