Mayor Moneybags

Looks like Daley doled out $365.5 million to his buddies

Time to throw a hissy TIF.

Da Mayor just spent hundreds of millions in TIF Funds, but looks like the only Chicagoans who benefited were Daley's pals.

Da city has $1.4 billion in TIF funds you know, just sort of laying around. Da mayor spent $365.5 million from one fund. And now Ben Joravsky, who penned this week's Reader cover story, "Mr. Big Spender," breaks down the favors that came out of that Central Loop TIF fund, which, by law, ended its 24-year active status.

So who got a piece of that action?

The list includes such needy supplicants as some of the area's most successful and connected construction firms. G.F. Structures, owned by Daley family friends and best known for getting paid millions of dollars to install wrought iron fences around the city, received $1.1 million.

Another big city contractor owned by friends of the Daleys, Walsh Construction, got $7.9 million. Aldridge Electric and construction firm F.H. Paschen, which have both received tens of millions of dollars in city deals, got $13 million and $5 million respectively. The Central Loop TIF report says all this money went toward 'public improvement' but doesn't specify what that means.

The city didn't respond to requests for details.

 About $100 million of last year's expenditures went to close the books on TIF deals approved before 2008, including grants to at least eight corporate giants rebuilding their offices. Among them were CNA Financial, which got $13.7 million; United Airlines, which got $5.7 million; and Careerbuilder, which got $2.5 million. A consortium led by John Buck, one of the city's most prominent developers, received $7 million for a piece of property they're turning into a park on Randolph."

Daley defended his deal with United this week - the TIF money was just part of a larger city subsidy to the airlines - but unconvincingly so,  Crain's reported..

Mayor Richard M. Daley says the city’s proposed $24-million subsidy to help bring 2,800 United Airlines employees downtown is warranted because of the recession and the importance of the airline and air traffic to the city’s future.

UAL CEO Glenn Tilton told reporters that the subsidy package was 'key,' and that other municipalities also offered incentives.

Tilton apparently did not name those other municipalities; would he really have passed up the move without being, um, incentivized? We'll never know! 

 And don't forget the taxpayer subsidy to help Willis Holdings renovate their new offices.

 For a guy with a hollowed-out budget, the mayor sure seems to have a lot of money in his pockets.

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

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