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Sneed exclusive: Lori Healey, former Daley chief of staff, to be new McPier chief

Sneed has learned that Lori Healey, who organized the NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago in 2012 and ran the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid committee, will be head of the powerful Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority — also known as McPier.

“She’s not only the front-runner, she’s a shoo-in for the job,” a top Sneed source said.

Healey, who had served as Mayor Richard M. Daley’s chief of staff, is now CEO of Tur Partners — an investment firm founded by Daley and his son, Patrick.

Sneed is told that the McPier board, which has nine members — the mayor and governor selected eight of them, and their chairman is Jack Greenberg — may vote on McPier’s new boss as early as next Tuesday.

In the past, the McPier CEO was traditionally the highest-paid public position in the state of Illinois.

If chosen, the highly respected Healey would replace legendary longtime McPier czar Jim Reilly, who served two McPier tours of duty overseeing the construction of the south McCormick Place building, the rebuilding of Navy Pier and the DePaul deal — as well as ramrodding major labor and management reforms.

Reilly, whose voluminous resume includes a stint as RTA chief before returning to McPier in 2010, leaves McPier as plans are underway for a major expansion of the city’s convention and event space.

In November, Reilly recommended Prairie District 3 Partners as developers to build a $564 million DePaul arena and hotel complex in the South Loop — which would now come under Healey’s stewardship.

Getting spiked . . .

Actor/director Spike Lee spent a day at Saint Sabina Catholic Church recently to learn more about the Rev. Michael Pfleger’s Peace League, which uses basketball to draw bridges between members of different gangs — and on Thursday, NBA TV is hitting the court to film its successes.

Bravo.

Both sides now . . .

Hmmm. Is this a classic case of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth?

Or not?

• To wit: One of the loudest voices opposing plans to build the Obama presidential library in Washington Park belongs to Cassandra Francis, who heads Friends of the Park.

• The irony: As head organizer for the Olympic Village, Francis was one of the key members of the city’s 2016 Olympic bid committee, which included plans to build a huge, temporary 80,000-seat stadium in Washington Park.

• Backstory: While the giant stadium would have been dismantled at the end of the games, part of it was meant to remain in the park, along with the Olympic swimming and track facilities.

• Buckshot: Francis, who did not complain about using parkland for construction at the time, tells Sneed: “The stadium was supposed to be temporary — but my chief concentration was on the creation of the Olympic Village and not on that. I am all about community approval — and the community would have had to approve it in the long run.”

Knox news . . .

Amanda Knox — who was convicted of the 2007 murder of her roommate in a sensational trial in Italy, then won an appeal — only to have another Italian Appeals court uphold the original guilty verdict — is now working as a freelance journalist for a Seattle newspaper.

Knox, whose editor said she never misses a deadline and is a great writer, specializes in arts and entertainment.

Meanwhile, her conviction is being appealed one more time.

There ya go.

I spy . . .

The Rev. Jack Wall celebrated his birthday Saturday at Kiki’s Bistro with Chicago’s new Archbishop Blasé Cupich. . . . Cupich said he loves Chicago and is feeling very “at home” in our beautiful city . . . Director Robert Falls and actors Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane, all featured in the upcoming revival of Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Iceman Cometh” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, dined at Petterino’s on Friday night.

Sneedlings . . .

Thursday’s birthdays: Diane Lane, 50; DJ Jazzy Jeff, 50, and Guy Fieri, 47.