Parking Meter Insiders

The Reader names names

The best reporting on the parking meter fiasco by far has been done by Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky at the Reader, and they continue their hot hand this week by looking at who is actually benefiting from the deal.

You know, the insiders.

Or as Dumke and Joravsky put it, "the battery of well-connected, highly paid financial and legal consultants who executed the deal on the city's behalf - and who are immune from the regulations that govern most contractors doing business with the city."


- Willam Blair & Company. "Not only did William Blair advise the city on the deal - it came up with the idea in the first place," the Reader reports. William Blair made about $4.3 million on the deal's payout, the Reader says. William Blair has donated more than $100,000 to Maggie Daley's After School Matters charity.

- Gardner Rich received about $720,000. The firm's Christopher Gardner was once appointed by Daley to the School Finance Authority; Gardner has worked on more than $1 million in bond issues for the city.

- Katten Muchin Rosenman performed some of the legal work; partner Terry Newman is one of Mayor Daley's best friends.

- Morgan Stanley was also in on the deal; they employ William Daley Jr.

In all, the Reader reports, attorneys and financial advisers made more than $7 million in the deal.

"Together the lawyers and financial advisers - not anyone in city government - determined who would control the parking meter system for the next several generations and how much money they’d make off it," the Reader says. "But as private entities, none of these firms are required by law to disclose to the public how they arrived at their plan. And none would talk to us for this story."

It's a public-private partnership, done the Chicago Way.

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

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