Olympic Bill Now In Your Name

If you're surprised, you're a chump

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Mayor Daley and his Chicago 2016 team practice sticking their hands in your pocket.

    No matter how city officials try to spin it, Chicago taxpayers were always going to be on the hook for the Olympics if they indeed come to our fair city.

    Think about it.

    It's January 2016 and the Games are a half-year away. Most venues are over-budget and behind schedule. This is Chicago.

    The well has run dry and someone has to pump some money into it.

    You think the mayor - presumably still named Daley but it doesn't really matter - is going to say, Oh well, we couldn't get it done. It's all yours, Rio! 

    Sure, the Pritzkers and Bryans can be tapped to save our bacon, but for how much more? And by that point the public till will have subsidized plenty, from planning and development to public safety to the enormous chunks of time city workers and their bosses will be diverted from other duties.

    Legal and consulting fees will be a huge honeypot.

    And that's just beforehand. When the bills come in after the Olympics, which almost never make money, someone will have to pay. That - not the current budget crisis - is Daley's rainy day.

    And it's not just then. It's now. It's already happening. The public has already been paying. After all, the mayor is in Switzerland instead of tending to his nephew's profiteering from city pension funds.

    The game for Richard M. Daley has always been to string the public along for as long as possible. That's not to say that he and his Chicago 2016 pals weren't going to try to persuade the IOC that a full guarantee against losses wasn't necessary. I'm sure they tried. But they always knew they could fall back on the standard IOC contract at the minute; being out of the country when that would happen would be all the better.

    Of course, that's not what the public signed up for, and it's not what the city council agreed to.

    An abuse of power? Of course.

    But a bully who is allowed to bully will keep on bullying. Why should this time be any different?

    According to a Tribune poll, most Chicagoans don't want the Olympics here if it will cost them money out of their own pockets.

    But they've been paying all along.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.