Cubs’ chairman: ‘surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom’

SHARE Cubs’ chairman: ‘surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom’
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What’s Trump think the Ricketts family is hiding? Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, shown here at the Sun-Times’ Halloween Ball in October, says family is “open book.”

MESA, Ariz. — Two days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took a Twitter shot at the Ricketts family over the Cubs’ owners’ efforts to defeat him, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sounded like he’s still not sure what to make of it.

“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” Ricketts said Wednesday during his annual spring training media session on the first workout days for the full squad.

“The fact is, whether it’s my mom or dad on his Ending Spending stuff, or my sister on marriage equality or my brothers what they do, or what we do as a team, we’re pretty much an open book. We stand up for what we believe in; we support the causes we think are important. That’s what America should be.”

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump referenced the Ricketts family spending money to oppose him in political ads in recent weeks, tweeting, “They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”

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What’s Trump referring to?

“Look, if we had something to hide, [the media] would have found it by now, I’m sure,” Ricketts said Wednesday. “I have no idea.”

The super PAC targeting Trump in the recent ads is funded almost entirely by $3 million in donations from family matriarch Marlene Ricketts, according to Federal Election Commission documents. The super PAC challenges Trump’s credentials as a conservative.

Her husband, Joe Ricketts, is the founder of TD Ameritrade, which has made billionaires out of the family. Their four kids make up the controlling bloc of the Cubs’ board of directors – including Pete Ricketts, the Republican governor of Nebraska.

Pete’s brother, Todd Ricketts, is the director and CEO of Ending Spending, Inc., an organization affiliated with the family-funded super PAC of a similar name that supports conservative policies. The super PAC originally targeted public spending on private interests.

Public controversy over their political causes are nothing new to the Rickettses, who bought the Cubs in a highly leveraged deal from Tribune Company owner Sam Zell in 2009.

In 2012, a New York Times report revealed a $10 million plan by Joe Ricketts to fund a super PAC to attack President Obama with racially tinged political ads. It so infuriated Obama friend and ally Rahm Emanuel that the mayor withdrew support for $150 million of public stadium-renovation funding that was considered all but assured until then (with no apparent opposition from the Ending Spending campaign).

It set back the Wrigley Field renovation plans by more than a year.

“Obviously, this is my No. 1 responsibility,” Tom Ricketts said of operating the Cubs when asked about balancing the job with the high-profile political actions of the family. “This is what I focus on. I’m executing against our plan to win a World Series. That’s my job. What other people in my family do is their day jobs, and I support everything they do. It’s just not my focus.”

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