After Chicago jury duty, Obama to offer paid speech for GCM Grosvenor

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Barack Obama speaks at the opening of his Obama Foundation Summit on Oct. 31. The former president will report for jury duty in Chicago on Wednesday. | Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

WASHINGTON – After former President Barack Obama completed his jury duty at Chicago’s Daley Center on Wednesday, he was off to deliver a paid speech later in the day for GCM Grosvenor, whose chairman and CEO, Michael Sacks, is a major donor to the Obama Foundation.

Obama, who left the Daley Center around midday Wednesday, is keynote speaker at GCM Grosvenor’s 11th annual Small and Emerging Managers Conference at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Dr.

This is the second visit to Chicago this month for Obama. A week ago, he presided over his first Obama Foundation Summit at the Marriott Marquis on the McCormick Place complex.

Katie Hill, communications director for Obama said in a statement, at the Daley Center, Obama “watched the “introduction to jury duty” video, was not selected for a juror panel, and was dismissed from the jury pool. President Obama believes the most important office in our democracy is that of citizen, and he considers jury duty a core obligation of citizenship.”

During his first term, in 2010 Obama was also summoned by the Cook County Circuit Court, but got a postponement at the time. Obama will donate the $17.20 Cook County pays jurors for each day back to Cook County.

Sacks joined the Obama Foundation board in April, 2016. Sacks and his wife, Cari, have donated at least $1 million to the Obama Foundation, according to foundation records.

As for details on Wednesday’s event? Well, according to the firm: “Since 2007, the GCM Grosvenor Small and Emerging Managers Conference has gathered and engaged a wide range of professionals specializing in private equity, hedge funds, real estate, infrastructure and real assets. The event has established itself as a premier platform for industry insights by featuring expert panels discussing timely issues faced by alternative investors in the diverse and emerging manager space.”

Since leaving the White House on Jan. 20, Obama — who is working on a book — has delivered paid and unpaid speeches.

Hill told the Sun-Times in a Wednesday email: “Since leaving office, President Obama has spent his time doing public and private events, both paid and unpaid, that are true to his values and his record. Consistent with that, his paid speeches in part have allowed President Obama to contribute $2 million to Chicago programs offering job training and employment opportunities to low-income youth.”

Sacks snapshot: Sacks is chairman and CEO of GCM Grosvenor and is close to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Sacks is vice chairman of World Business Chicago, a member of the Mayor’s Economic Council and a co-chair of the Mayor’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. Sacks was an investor in the company that formerly owned the Chicago Sun-Times.

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