Former rivals Emanuel, Braun headline event

April 21, 2011 9:41:19 PM PDT
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel attended what was called a unity celebration Thursday night with African-American leaders in Chicago.

Among the guests: former political rival Carol Moseley Braun.

Besides promoting unity, the purpose of the event was to help Braun retire her campaign debt.

The guest of honor was the man she had scolded during the campaign for, among other things, being too good at raising money.

African-American leaders from around the city showed up at the Greektown restaurant where the function was held.

There were lots of politicians and businesspeople in attendance.

It is believed that tickets to the event cost between $500 and $1,000.

"We're calling it a unity celebration," said Braun. "Mayor Emanuel has offered to work with me in terms of closing the books on my campaign."

Braun was asked about the size of that campaign debt, and she replied that she did not know.

ABC7 has been told there was another purpose to the event: to allow black leaders to patch things up with the mayor-elect.

During the campaign, many of them had criticized Emanuel. Some said he hadn't been a friend to the black community.

Others accused him of voting against the Congressional Black Caucus when he was a congressman.

The opposition did not seem to work, as Emanuel won all of the city's predominantly black wards.

"My voters spoke and the voters of the City of Chicago spoke, so we can't continue to hold objections to Rahm Emanuel when our voters have embraced him," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL). "They've embraced him, so we gotta fall in line with our voters."

After the bitterness of the campaign, Braun offered her support to the mayor-elect. Emanuel is to be sworn in as mayor Monday, May 16th.

He has a host of inaugural events planned for the weekend leading up to that day.