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Money Managers Funded Emanuel's Inaugural

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Money Managers Funded Emanuel's Inaugural
Money Managers Funded Emanuel's Inaugural

It’s not surprising to learn that the biggest contributors to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $1.1 million inauguration are money managers. Emanuel made an $18.5 million fortune in the financial services industry, so he has a lot of friends there.

And financiers were the only people who could afford the most expensive tickets: a $50,000 “co-chairman” that included four tickets to the concert, reception, dinner and inauguration. Or a $25,000 deal that purchased four tickets to the concert, the inauguration and the Venue 1 reception, as well as two tickets to the dinner.

Among the contributors was Grosvenor Capital Management CEO Michael Sacks, whom Emanuel recently named as vice chairman of World Business Chicago. Emanuel expanded the board as part of his effort to attract new businesses and create jobs. Sacks and his wife, Cari, each contributed $25,000 to the inaugural fund.   

Other Grosvenor employees and spouses contributed another $22,500 to the inaugural effort, the records show. The firm’s employees also gave more than $400,000 to Emanuel’s mayoral campaign fund.

Nearly half of the inaugural money raised came from money managers. Emanuel has longstanding ties to that industry, where he built his personal wealth as an investment banker prior to his 2002 run for Congress.

The complete list of donors is here.

Maybe I’m naïve, but what makes money managers so valuable to society? They don’t create wealth, they just move cash from one place to another and grab as much as they can get their hands on as it flies past. It’s a parasitical, not a productive, occupation. If the chairmen of Kraft, Boeing and Ford all contributed $25,000 to Emanuel, I could understand where that money was coming from: the manufacture of cheese, airplanes and cars.

Since I like to play the horses, I suppose the best analogy for a money manager is a racetrack tout. Touts recommend horses to bettors, and take a cut of the winnings. Mr. Sacks manages $25 billion in assets for such clients as the Illinois State Board of Investment and the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, getting returns of up to 10 percent. If you can find a guy who picks horses that well, by all means, listen to him. Sacks donated $160,000 to Emanuel’s campaign, and is said to be a good friend of the mayor, based on their mutual insomnia.

If you are investing with Grosvenor Capital, I hope you are getting a good return, because Mr. Sacks is obviously taking a big fee off the top. But let me offer investors the same advice I offer to gamblers: make all your own picks. Then you don’t need to share your winnings with a tout.

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