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Billionaire Asked Emanuel to Close Downtown Street for Daughter's Wedding

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    Billionaire Asked Emanuel to Close Downtown Street for Daughter's Wedding
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    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (L) looks on during a discussion at the Brookings Institution December 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.

    In August of 2015, Billionaire J. Christopher Reyes emailed Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an attempt to shut down a major downtown street for his daughter’s wedding ceremony.

    “The VIP company (transportation company) has been working with the city on our behalf to get Monroe closed for our guests’ passage from the Art Institute of Chicago to the reception across Monroe on Saturday, September 12th,” Reyes said in the email that was ultimately forwarded to Emanuel.

    In the email, Reyes explained that he hoped to shut down Monroe St. for a total of two and a half hours during the wedding, but the request had been denied by the city.

    Reyes, who manages a major food and beverage holding company, was ranked the 246th richest American by Forbes. He has a reported net worth of $2.9 billion. The mogul has donated to both Republican and Democratic causes, including some substantial contributions to Emanuel’s campaign committee, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

    Although he lives in Florida full-time, the billionaire owns a house in Lake Forest and sits on the boards of a variety Chicago institutions, like the Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Lyric Opera.

    Reyes' message is part of a cache of emails released last week by the Emanuel administration in accordance with a recent settlement with the Better Government Association, a government watchdog group.

    The settlement followed a years-long battle with City Hall, which initially claimed the emails did not need to be made public. Still, the BGA and Chicago Tribune sued, arguing that public business done on private devices should be released.

    The list of emails doesn't include a response to Reyes' request. Adam Collins, the mayor’s spokesman, told the Tribune there was “no action taken regarding the street closure.”

    “Just because someone makes a request that doesn’t mean anything comes of it,” Collins added.

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