Along with revealing the inner workings of a presidential campaign, hacked emails recently released by WikiLeaks offer some insight into how Chicago’s elite operate.
Emails from Wendy Abrams, a Chicago-area nonprofit leader, and her husband, Medline Industries COO Jim Abrams, have popped up from the cascade of correspondence with John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign.
In an email dated March 5, 2016, to Podesta, Wendy Abrams wrote:
“Hope you are doing well. (Congrats on Super Tuesday!) I have an idea for a Hillary fundraiser . . . we live across the street from Ravinia Festival (not sure if you went there growing up in Chicago, but it’s a beautiful outdoor concert venue.) A few years ago, Crosby, Stills & Nash were on the schedule and knowing that they are big environmentalists, I reached out to them and asked if they would come over to my house for a reception to benefit Waterkeepers. They came over . . . and we raised six figures for Waterkeepers.
“The schedule just came out for this year, and Bob Dylan is playing on June 24th. I know we would get a lot of enthusiasm for a similar event, the proceeds going to Hillary’s campaign.
“Let me know if you like the idea and I’d be delighted to host. (and if we can’t get Dylan, we should talk about other surrogates to host . . . I’d really like to do something.) xo w”
In a separate email from May 2015, Jim Abrams offers the family’s Montana ranch for a Clinton fundraiser, saying, “we’ll fish and raft and hike.”
The couple declined to comment.
The Abrams are deeply rooted in Chicago’s business, civic and political scenes. Medline is a fourth-generation, family-owned medical equipment manufacturer. The Mills family has made headlines for selling the vacant Michael Reese Hospital to the city as part of its failed efforts to get the Olympics.
The home that Wendy Abrams refers to in her email to Podesta is the home previously owned by Michael Segal, the insurance executive imprisoned nearly eight years on charges he looted his company.
And her reference to Waterkeeper is to Waterkeeper Alliance, which works to protect the world’s waterways. Abrams is a trustee.
Irish rugby team may rethink staying at Trump tower
In wake of a high-profile presidential election, a member of the Irish parliament has recommended that Ireland’s rugby team change its plans about staying at Donald Trump‘s Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago next month.
The Irish team is to face New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team at Soldier Field just three days before the election on Nov. 8.
“The rugby team should definitely rethink that decision because there is a very large Irish population in the States, and it could prejudice people’s view of Trump,” Irish lawmaker (and political activist) Brid Smith told the Irish Sun. “It could change how people feel about his role in America and his sexist and racist stance on many issues,” she said.
Cubs Corner: When Rogers and Sacks were young
Before John Rogers Jr. and Michael Sacks became notable names on the financial scene, they worked as vendors at Chicago Cubs games.
“It was one of the most transformative experiences of my life,” says Rogers, the founder, chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments and a friend of President Barack Obama.
“I grew up in the cloistered Hyde Park environment,” he says. In working at Wrigley Field for six years, starting at age 16, “I got exposed to a whole other part of the world, a whole other part of Chicago (where) people from all walks of life rubbed shoulder to shoulder. It was a different experience.” Rogers also was a vendor at White Sox and Bears games.
The job was a precursor to Rogers’ career in the financial industry. “You’d strategize and have a game plan that day and try to out-maneuver your fellow vendors,” he says.
One of them was Sacks, the chairman and CEO of GCM Grosvenor, another financial firm in Chicago.
“I sold Coca-Cola and peanuts at Wrigley, Comiskey and Soldier Field. It was a great job,” says Sacks, who today counts Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a good friend. “The harder you worked, the more money you made. The people were great, and you could keep an eye on the games.”
Both businessmen were members of SEUI 236; Rogers still carries his union card with him.
Naked truth about Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade shared a story from his childhood during a fashion show that introduced his high-end men’s underwear line with Naked Inc.
“Growing up, my dad worked at a company where he’d deliver boxes. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but I remember every Friday getting up and helping him iron his suit,” Wade recalled during an underwear debut at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue. “He’d dress up every Friday. I felt some pride in that. He was delivering boxes in that suit. And I remember thinking, ‘When I grow up, that’s how I want to be. I want people to look at me a certain way, no matter what I’m doing.'”
The new Chicago Bulls star reflected on his humble beginnings growing up in suburban Robbins and “not having the resources or funds” to dress the way he wanted when he was young. That changed as his fortunes in the NBA rose, but he was still too shy to dress in an adventurous way, he says. It was only in the past decade that “I got more comfortable in my own skin.” It helped, too, that he got a stylist who offers tips on what to wear — even down to his underwear.