After suggesting last week that he was still negotiating with the International Olympic Committee, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said that in fact the negotiating he was referring to was here at home, to make certain that the agreement had sufficient safeguards to protect taxpayers.
But back to work Monday, Daley was out to clarify his position.
"Nothing has been signed. We have to go through the process," Daley said. "There's a negotiation going on with the taxpayers of Chicago to make sure they feel comfortable there's enough protection for them. We're gonna come up with a backup system to protect the taxpayers."
The IOC said that negotiating the host city contract was not possible; it includes standard language that all cities must sign if they want to be awarded the Games.
The mayor said he didn't blame some citizens (and aldermen) for being nervous about a blank check handed over to the IOC.
"This is a recession," he said. "People are concerned."
But at the same time, he noted that all recent Olympic Games in the United States had reported surpluses, and said he fully expected Chicago Games to do the same.
It comes as Chicago prepares to put down real money on the first significant financial risk associated with hosting the 2016 Olympic Games: buying the property where the athletes village would be built, and as City Hall's top internal investigator urged more openness and public hearings in the bid.