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2 from Obama's inner circle advising library panel

WASHINGTON — With bids due for the Obama presidential library and museum June 16, the Chicago-based foundation has engaged a spectrum of consultants to evaluate potential sponsors, sites, economic development plans, proposed programs and visions for how the project will relate to its community, city and region.

Meanwhile, two close members of President Barack Obama’s inner circle who have left the White House — former deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco and former speech writer Jon Favreau, are also serving as “informal” advisers to the project.

At present, Mastromonaco’s role is described as “minimal,” with most of her help so far coming on the front end, gathering historical information and looking at past and best practices for presidential foundations. Her role is expected to grow in the future.

Favreau, who along with Mastromonaco dates back to Obama’s Illinois Senate office days, looked at the material the foundation generated on behalf of the president to, I learned, “make sure it’s in line with the various themes of his presidency.”

A spokesman for the Barack Obama Foundation told me that after bids are submitted next Monday, “the Foundation intends to engage accountants, attorneys, specialists and other consultants” to help sift through the proposals.

Bids are expected from Hawaii, Columbia University in New York, and various Chicago entities, including the University of Chicago.

The bids are supposed to include very detailed information about contemplated sites, from zoning to aerial photographs. The foundation is using the Chicago real estate and investment firm JLL — formerly known as Jones Lang LaSalle — to assist.

Marty Nesbitt, the close friend of President Barack Obama who leads the foundation, is on the JLL board and at one time was a vice president and investment manager at LaSalle Partners, a company that was a precursor to JLL.

JLL is “prepared to make all the resources needed” to assist evaluating the bids, the spokesman said.

The final decision is up to President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle.

The National Archives and Records Administration, which manages presidential libraries, will also be consulted “for their expertise as is appropriate.”

The June 16 deadline is the first of a two-step process. Those making the cut will be asked to respond to a detailed “Request for Proposal” due later this summer.