Finance Committee Clears Leasing of Midway

City council likely to approve deal Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Mayor Richard Daley's $2.5 billion plan to privatize Midway Airport was cleared for take-off by a City Council committee Tuesday as City Hall races to complete the historic transaction before the change of administrations in Washington.

The City Council Finance Committee signed off on the deal, despite concerns about parking and concession prices, the city's decision to assume the $10 million-a-year cost of police and fire protection and questions about how the $1 billion in profits would be spent.

At one point, Ald. Leslie Hairston threatened to hold up the deal to protest the absence of minority investors.

"Chicago is not an all-white city. In a city as racially and culturally diverse as Chicago, before we go selling off the city's assets, we want to know that the purchasers are sensitive to that diversity. And we are not seeing that," Hairston said.

But, in the end, the deal went through and appears to be headed for full Council approval Wednesday.

"I am disappointed that we did not hold out, to tell you to truth," said Ald. Willie Cochran.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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