Five months ago, store rx while his White Sox were in full June swoon, Jerry Reinsdorf was celebrating victory. Unreported and unnoticed, with the silent efficiency of a mob hit, the lawsuit against the White Sox chairman brought by an ex-government employee was weighted down and left for dead in a river of motions, minutes, and memorandums.\n\nIn April 2013, Perri Irmer filed an impassioned claim with a local district court arguing that her individual rights had been violated in a wrongful firing, but the case was a larger indictment on behalf of taxpayers against the enigmatic Reinsdorf, his goose, and his golden egg.\n\nThe goose is the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. In her lawsuit, former ISFA CEO Irmer affirmed what those of us who have been paying attention have long suspected: that the ISFA—the government agency created by the state of Illinois allegedly to promote jobs and economic development through investment in sports stadiums—is in practice an entity that mobilizes public funds in the interest of Reinsdorf and his White Sox ownership partners.\n\nReinsdorf’s golden egg is US Cellular Field. The White Sox home ballpark was built, renovated, and is maintained with public money. Taxes pay for upwards of fifty million in bond debt and stadium upkeep annually while the White Sox pay one or two million dollars in “rent” or “ticket fees,” or whatever they happen to be calling the pittance in any given year.\n\nIrmer was in charge of ISFA operations from 2004 to 2011. Early in her tenure she recognized that the White Sox stadium agreement with the ISFA and state of Illinois was “abusive to taxpayers.” And so Irmer sought to reduce costs of ballpark management, earn more revenue for the state at US Cellular Field from events such as concerts, develop public land around the park, and make White Sox games more accessible to members of surrounding south side communities.\n\nAccording to Irmer, Reinsdorf didn’t like her proposals because they cut into his bottom line. US Cellular as a music venue would compete with the United Center, which is owned by Reinsdorf (and incidentally, way undertaxed). More businesses near the ballpark would mean less revenue for White Sox ownership inside the facility. And Reinsdorf opposed lower-class people of color at US Cellular Field because they undermined the White Sox “brand.”\n\nIrmer also fought against additional public funds being diverted to Reinsdorf and the White Sox. She opposed the Bacardi at the Park agreement in 2010, in which Reinsdorf received both state money to build a restaurant outside of US Cellular Field and all the revenues generated from the bibulous White Sox fans therein. And when Reinsdorf asked for $7 to $10 million additional tax dollars for renovations in 2011, Irmer balked again. Despite Irmer’s protests however, Reinsdorf got his (extra) millions in both cases.\n\nBy Irmer’s account, insiders knew that she wanted to make people in power aware of the ISFA’s wastefulness to taxpayers and Reinsdorf’s undue influence over ISFA decision makers. But few were willing to listen. In late-2010 and early-2011 Irmer attempted to meet with Governor Pat Quinn but was rebuffed by his staff. She had a meeting scheduled with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on April 28, 2011. However, four days before the meeting date, Irmer arrived at work to find herself locked out of her office. She was terminated by the ISFA Board two days after that.\n\nNone of these facts or events were disputed in the judge’s opinion on the case. Instead, Irmer’s lawsuit was thrown out because the judge ruled she had not adequately argued that her civil rights had been violated. Unfortunately, collusion is hard to prove, having clout is not illegal, and by law Jerry Reinsdorf has the right to act in his own business interests.\n\nMeanwhile, no one is acting in the public’s interest as the major stakeholders in the ISFA and US Cellular Field, and that is seriously troubling.
This post originally appeared on The Catbird Seat.
By Chris Lamberti and James Fegan
Jerry Reinsdorf and his foibles are a bit of a pet topic for James Fegan and Chris Lamberti, mind patient so they couldn’t resist taking some time out to discuss his recent brush with national prominence.
James: Last week, we were treated to New York Times reports that Jerry Reinsdorf is mobilizing against the peaceful, albeit highly nepotistic, transition of the commissioner-ship from Sir Bud, the Mad King to his loyal right hand Rob Manfred.
Chris: In a showdown that Jeff Passan describes as a power grab, Reinsdorf intends on blocking the confirmation of Selig’s hand-picked successor Manfred as commissioner of Major League Baseball. Manfred is a commissioner’s office insider who has the experience, credentials, and personality to woo owners and keep the baseball money train a-chuggin. However, Reinsdorf, who has always fancied himself a small-market owner operating in a big city (this position is debatable but that’s another story) considers Manfred a “sinner” in two ways according to Passan:
Manfred recognizes the large markets ultimately run the game because they’re the ones that generate massive revenue. That one is forgivable because, well, it’s true. More egregious is this: Manfred calls Reinsdorf out on his politicking. And the only thing more dangerous than a powerful man is one who tells the truth about how he lassoed that power.
The surprise is that Reinsdorf is pitting himself against Selig; the two have been described often as old pals. Apparently Reinsdorf’s chumminess with Selig was contingent upon having a direct line to the commissioner’s office. Now that Manfred is threatening not to extend Reinsdorf the same courtesy, Bud is dead to Jerry.
When the psychotic ranting of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling went public this week, ambulance hospital I think we all felt a little ashamed that such a person a) lived and breathed and b) was somehow richer than everyone everywhere. But the moment that NBA Commissioner Adam Sliver banned Sterling from the league for life, buy viagra our horror and embarrassment turned into collective celebration. Racists be banished! Our faith in society restored!\n\nRejoicing came from sports team owners who are not vomitous cultural anachronisms, including our own Jerry Reinsdorf (and son Michael):\n
We completely support Commissioner Silver’s decision today regarding Clippers owner Donald Sterling … The league’s decision underscores the severity and reprehensible nature of the comments attributed to Donald Sterling … Discrimination and prejudice of any kind have no place in sports or in our society.
\nWho would disagree? But “discrimination and prejudice” take many forms. Bigoted language is one of the obvious manifestations but there are others that are more insidious. Because in the end, racism (like sexism) is about power: or one “race” wielding and maintaining power over another. And this is a project in which Jerry Reinsdorf actively takes part. Continue reading
The annual Forbes MLB team valuations came out this week, viagra and for the first time since Jose Canseco’s bulging trapezii were mercilessly fatiguing the seams of a White Sox uniform back in 2001, the business publication has estimated an operating loss for owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Co.; the club was $2.7 million in the red in 2013 they say.
The Forbes valuations are a yearly team-by-team estimated market value and financial snapshot report. After last year (or ‘fiscal’ as they like to say in the accounting biz), Forbes ranks the White Sox as the 14th most valuable franchise in baseball, falling from 11th last year and after being as high as 10th in previous seasons.
\nIn the past I’ve used Forbes valuations to argue (although guardedly) for the sound and ever-improving financial health of Chicago sports franchises. I’ll continue to do that. Here’s why: Continue reading
This week the Bulls broke ground on what is to be a 60, prescription shop 000 square foot practice facility adjacent to the United Center. For the Bulls, and stuff the training complex will replace the Berto Center in the ‘burbs, thumb where the smaller facility can no longer accommodate the Bulls’ numerous staff and really big players.\n\n\”It wasn’t our first choice,” the Chairman told the press, “My first choice was to build a bigger building out in the Deerfield area. But the mayor said this was important to him. We want to be good citizens and so we went ahead and did it.”\n\nLike Judge Smails sentencing boys to the gas chamber, Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t want to do it; he felt he owed it to us.\n\nAnd Rahm Emanuel was right there at the groundbreaking ceremony to explain why we should all be so appreciative of the Bulls’ decision to practice playing basketball in Chicago:\n\n“It’s this type of investment that happened with the United Center 20 years ago that then spurred a series of public and private investments that have turned the Near West Side into an economic opportunity for the entire city commercially and residentially…This new training facility–after 20 years coming home to Chicago–will have as equal a value in economic opportunity, job creation and job growth for the entire West Side.”\n\nI hate to be the one to break it to the mayor, because he’s kind of on a roll with all this sports facilities and jobs talk lately, but he’s wrong about the United Center. Rachel Weber, Associate Director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said as much in a May, 2011 WBEZ Eight Forty-Eight interview on the subject.\n Continue reading