Chalk up a victory for Gov. Pat Quinn.
Quinn succeeded in his bid for Kelly Kraft to lead the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, after the board voted Thursday to appoint her to the executive director position. The organization operates U.S. Cellular Field.
"We have a world-class stadium out there at The Cell. A lot of fans go out there but we need more fans to be coming out there. I want to take a look at everything, sit down with everyone and say, 'What creative strategies can we come up with to get more people out here; concerts [and] other events that we can have out there at the ballpark. It's a great stadium. ... We can do a lot more with the stadium to generate more money for the state," Kraft said after earning the board's approval.
Throughout the process, Quinn had accused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel of character assassination for questioning Kraft's qualifications.
Emanuel suggested the board start over in its search after reports that Kraft -- Quinn's former assistant budget director-- filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
The snafu led to speculation that the battle was really about Quinn's opposition to a Chicago casino, a charge Emanuel denied.
Quinn claimed the mayor and his staffers were working on a "backroom deal" to renovate Wrigley Field and use the Sports Facilities Authority to help the Cubs.
"I've never had a conversation with the mayor, but who I have had a conversation with is Gov. Pat Quinn. For the last three years of my life I've worked very closely with him. I've earned the governor's respect. ... I hope to do the same with Mayor Rahm Emanuel," said Kraft.