A local investment group is acquiring the media company that includes the Chicago Sun-Times, taking over from owners who purchased it out of bankruptcy under the direction of the late James Tyree.
The buyers include Michael Ferro Jr., chairman of Merrick Ventures LLC, a private equity firm that deals with technology companies. Ferro, who will serve as chairman, is bringing in media executive Timothy Knight to run the company as chief executive and as an investor.
Knight is a former publisher of Newsday, the newspaper that serves Long Island. Jeremy Halbreich, who was part of the Sun-Times investment group and was the company’s chairman and chief executive, is stepping down.
Sun-Times Sold! Chicago-Based Investment Group Purchases Sun-Times Media
ABC 7 Video: Nun challenges mayor on charity’s water bill
A nun used humor to publicly scold Mayor Rahm Emanuel for ending free water for charities — and using the "s" word.
Sister Rosemary Connelly criticized the mayor’s decision to cut off charities while the two were at a breakfast fundraiser for the non-profit Misericordia, which Emanuel proposed charging for water to help plug the city’s budget gap. Connelly is Misericordia’s executive director.
Chicago’s first Jewish mayor found out what it’s like to be dressed down in public by a Catholic nun. But instead of a ruler, Sister Rosemary spanked the mayor with humor.
Rocky Horror Robbers: 2 Transvestites Charged In Lincoln Park Attacks
Had to write this one up.
The two dudes on the right are, well, dudes, arrested by police and charged after they allegedly threatened people with pepper spray to get them to give up their goods.
Brandon Arnold, 24, and Michael Burns, 21, appeared Saturday in weekend Bond Court — where defendants don’t always look their best — sporting well-groomed, luxurious hair. Burns had his tight shirt unbuttoned almost to his navel.
“They were both dressed as women” when they accosted two people in two separate cases Friday afternoon in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, a Cook County prosecutor said.
“They approached the victims, demanded property, and threatened [them] with Mace.”
Well, at least they looked fabulous for their close-ups — allegedly.
The Carol Moseley Braun Theater
I really don’t care for Chicago politics. Let me start with that disclaimer.
I don’t understand how there are churches in the Chicagoland area that can be so overtly political, while others work overtime to keep the pols out of the pulpit.
I don’t understand how Carol Moseley Braun can vanish so completely from the public eye affter leaving office, and then return only to be christened in a church as the leading black candidate for mayor in Chicago.
Don’t get me wrong. I supported Moseley Braun when she ran for the United States Senate. Even joined her and Senator Durbin for a morning gathering of coffee and rolls with others from Illinois.
That was more theater than substance.
And that is pretty much my impression of Carol Moseley Braun: more theater than substance.
I will watch the mayoral drama unfold from 30-and-some-odd miles south of the Loop.
No desire to be a part of it.
Would You Protest If Bill Clinton Offered To Campaign For You?
I don’t care if you’re in the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Coffee Party, Tea Party or any other party. If former president Bill Clinton offered to campaign for you, you’d let him.
Come on, now. Of course you would. Bill is an excellent, excellent campaigner.
Which is why it appears the sanctimony runneth over in Chicago these days as former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun (where, exactly, has she been these past several years, only to rise from the dust and run for mayor of Chicago?) and Rep. Danny Davis decry Bill Clinton’s offer to campaign for Rahm Emanuel.
Carol. Danny. Come on.
If Bill Clinton offered to campaign for you, would you really turn him down?
Joe Berrios Continues To Give Taxpayer-Paid Jobs To Family Members Like Candy
From the Chicago Sun-Times (sporting a clean, new look today):
Criticized repeatedly for stacking the public payroll with family members, Joe Berrios has hired his son and sister to work for him as he takes the reins of the Cook County assessor’s office.
Berrios, who was sworn in as assessor Monday after winning a rough-and-tumble election, hired son Joseph “Joey” Berrios as a $48,000-a-year residential analyst and sister Carmen Cruz as director of taxpayer services at a salary of $86,000. Their salaries will remain unchanged from when they both worked for Berrios when he served on the Cook County Board of Review, which hears property tax appeals.
“They’ve got experience, and I’m hiring people with experience,” Berrios told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday.
Berrios said he wants competent people he can trust working in his administration.
“I trust them,” he said. “It is what it is.”
Yes, Joe. It is what it is.
Plain as day.
Prepare for the Summer of Blagojevich, Part Deux
He’ll be back.
The Blagojevich retrial is scheduled to start April 20, 2011, the Sun-Times reports.
Retire From Chicago Politics in Style
Retire from Chicago politics in style.
Keep your campaign contributions.
Mayor Daley isn’t the only elected official who could retire from Chicago city government and take a pile of money in campaign cash with him.
Twenty-two of the city’s 50 aldermen also would be eligible, when they retire, to keep some or all of their campaign funds, a Chicago Sun-Times review finds. The amounts they could walk away from office with range from as little as $629 to $2.4 million.
When he retires next year, Daley can keep nearly $1.5 million or, if he chooses, do whatever he wants with the money, the Sun-Times has reported.
The amount of campaign money that the aldermen could keep is largely a matter of whether they took office — and took in campaign contributions — before June 30, 1998.
An Illinois law enacted that year barred state and local officials from converting campaign funds to personal use but also left an exception: Anyone who had money in their campaign accounts as of the 1998 date could keep the amount they had in the bank then whenever they eventually might retire.
Like Daley, four aldermen have announced they won’t run for re-election next year.
Too bad for those of us who contributed before 1998.
The numbers are incredible.
Mark Kirk Bumbles Again: Exaggerates Role in Berman Bill
Yes, Mark Kirk did it again.
He claimed credit for something he did not do at all. Claimed credit for a bill the Democrats passed.
Mark Kirk claimed credit for a Democratic initiative.
Yet another Democratic wannabe.
Rep. Mark Kirk claims credit for being a driving force behind a bill signed into law this year that requires the president to crack down on companies doing business with Iran.
But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Howard Berman, says Kirk is guilty of "exaggeration" when he says the "Kirk bill" became the "Berman bill" so it could pass the Democratic Congress.
"We didn’t even look at his legislation at the time," Berman said. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."
Kirk told the Sun-Times editorial board last month, "The Iran Sanctions Bill, it was originally Kirk-Andrews, but if you were going to move it, that means you need to adjust to the power of the House. This legislation eventually became Howard Berman’s legislation, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He had my full approval in moving that forward under his badge."
For years, Kirk has been an apostle of trying to hold Iran’s feet to the fire by choking off its supply of gasoline. He passed a resolution this year to do that — H.R. 3081. (His staff had inadvertently listed the resolution as 3801 — a bill dealing with mortgages — on his campaign website but corrected it Monday morning after a Sun-Times story was published.) Kirk is listed as a co-sponsor of Berman’s bill.
"There is no doubt that Mark was a committed person on this idea, which wasn’t his idea, it was out there in the press," Berman said. "He introduced legislation in the previous Congress on refined petroleum products. He did chair a group I occasionally went to, the Iran Working Group.
"The bill that I was involved with, we didn’t even look at his legislation at the time. It was a much broader bill than his bill and, in fact, we were persuaded that while the refined petroleum sanctions were valuable and useful, Iran has a way of reducing its reliance on imported petroleum."
Illinois, you need to get it. Mark Kirk is not your man.
Alexi Giannoulias is the only coherent vote for United States Senate.
NYTimes Explosive Report: Sam Zell’s Culture of Stupidity at the Tribune Company
I heard Sam Zell speak a couple of years ago at the Inland Press Association’s Annual Meeting. He was funny. Seemed full of energy, off the cuff, eccentric.
An article in today’s New York Times reveals so much more, reporting on the bizarre culture Zell and those he has brought in have created at the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere at the Tribune Company.
Clearly, Zell is steering company into the ground.
In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.
Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.
After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.
“Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present, who declined to be identified because he had left the company and did not want to be quoted criticizing a former employer. “I have never seen anything like it.”
The report goes downhill from there, where sexual harassment is justified as path to creative thinking, with disclaimers like this in the Tribune’s revised employee handbook:
“Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use,” the new handbook warned. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process.” It then added, “This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.”
My jaw dropped several times reading this article. So sad. I don’t see how the Tribune can be taken seriously any more.
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