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Archdiocese close to decision about selling historic cardinal’s mansion

The cardinal's mansion at 1555 North State Parkway could be up for sale soon. | AP file photo

The cardinal’s story . . .

Sneed hears rumbles the Archdiocese of Chicago may be this/close to a decision to sell the cardinal’s historic mansion.

Word is Cardinal Blase Cupich, who has nixed living at the cardinal’s Queen Anne-style mansion on 1555 North State Parkway, is seriously testing the waters now to sell the residence.

“The buzz is strong that maintenance and repair of the building is continually being deferred because serious moves are afoot to finally sell it,” said a Sneed source.

“We are always evaluating our options on all of our real estate, and that includes the residence. But no decision has been made at this point,” said Susan Thomas, a Cupich spokesman.

Sneed reported in August 2017, “There had been discussions amongst wealthy Catholics and Cupich to consider privately raising millions to repair the mansion,” said a non-clerical Sneed source who claimed to be privy to the discussion.

Cardinal Francis George, Cupich’s predecessor, wanted to sell the mansion, home to eight Catholic archbishops since 1885; located two blocks from Lake Michigan on a prime piece of property; and known as the House of 19 Chimneys.

“It was too much home for a humble servant of God,” said George. His proposal was to sell the estate for an estimated $15 million. George, who was ill, wound up living there until he died.

Cupich, whose humility led to his personal selection by Pope Francis, lives in a dorm setting at Holy Name Cathedral rectory alongside fellow clergy when he is not in Rome as one of Francis’ top aides.

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Chicago archdiocese still evaluating what to do with ‘cardinal’s mansion’

Much of $100 million from sale of Holy Name lot to go to church sex-abuse debts

According to a Sun-Times report three months ago, financial reports in February showed the archdiocese owed more than $200 million — mostly related to sex-abuse claims — as well as church estimates it could end up with another $100 million in costs for pending and future claims.

The Sun-Times also reported the archdiocese anticipated getting $100 million or more from the sale of the Holy Name Cathedral parking lot, and expecting to spend most of that windfall repaying money that was borrowed to cover the financial costs of clergy sex-abuse claims.

A Lightfoot touch . . .

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot has added a special touch to her inaugural invitation list.

Sneed has learned Lightfoot has invited attorney Kathy Byrne, daughter of the city’s first and only female mayor, Jane Byrne.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be invited,” said Byrne, who had been a supporter of Susana Mendoza’s mayoral bid before the runoff.

“It will be a wonderful celebration of the city’s second woman mayor and a terrific chance to represent my mother there.

“Lori has shown she really wants to bring Chicago together, and I know mom will be smiling at this gathering.”

And, yes, Byrne will be wearing the legendary circle pin of Chicago’s gem-encrusted skyline given to her mother by her father, Bill Burke, when she was inaugurated in 1979.

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Trump twaddle . . .

Gulp!

One idea to cool down the next time President Donald Trump heats up?

A Trump tray of ice cube molds of the Donald’s head, which can be melted away in your favorite drink like the Bloody Donald, when your hangover feels like the end of the world because of the possible destruction of the Earth!

Sold by the Environmental Justice Foundation, a registered charity in England shining a spotlight on environmental abuses, the trays sell for 22 bucks each.

Swizzle sizzle: Gotta bet the anti-Trump Brits will be dumping them in their Trumptinis during his arrival in London on June 3.

An ice cube in the likeness of President Donald Trump. | Trumptrays.com
An ice cube in the likeness of President Donald Trump. | Trumptrays.com

Glub & gladhand . . .

It was a case of dueling evenings: whiskey shots vs. shout-outs.

• First up: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is practically a teetotaler, was honored at Gibsons eatery by a gaggle of trade unions — and shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey with union leader Jim Sweeney.

“I woke up with a hangover,” said Emanuel who has an occasional beer or a glass of wine.

• Second Up: While the mayor was attending the raucous reception at Gibsons, Chicago’s first lady, Amy Rule, was at the opening of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti personally thanked her for her husband’s assistance in resolving the orchestra’s contract negotiations last week.

Pssst!

Former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been hired as a managing director for disputes and investigations by the Alvarez & Marsal global business service consulting firm, which is based in New York.

And, no, Alvarez is not related to the firm’s owner.

A royal note . . .

In the midst of all the gossip effluvia engulfing the arrival of Meghan Markle’s royal baby comes this royal shard: hubby Prince Harry’s grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was born on … the kitchen table at his family home!

Sneedlings . . .

“They’re here! The Orioles have finally hit Chicago,” said Wild Birds Unlimited manager/ birdscaper Tim Joyce. . . . Condolences to the family of my former legman, Mitch Dudek — whose beloved mother, Diane C. Dudek — died recently. Mitch’s mom was a woman of substance; a magnificent mother, amazing teacher and devoted wife. Mitch is an embodiment of such a wonderful mom. How honored I am to have her son in my life. . . . I spy: Cubbie legend Ryne Sandberg spotted dining Monday with wife Margaret and former Cub Jose Hernandez at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie St. . . . . Hall of Fame Cub Fergie Jenkins at Harry Caray’s in Rosemont on Wednesday. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Lance Bass, 40; Victor Oladipo, 27; and Erin Andrews, 41. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Adele, 31; Chris Brown, 30; and Henry Cavill, 36.