THE WATCHDOGS: Daley’s Michael Reese Hospital deal still costing taxpayers millions

SHARE THE WATCHDOGS: Daley’s Michael Reese Hospital deal still costing taxpayers millions
SHARE THE WATCHDOGS: Daley’s Michael Reese Hospital deal still costing taxpayers millions

Chicago taxpayers have paid a wealthy North Shore family more than $24 million since June for the vacant Michael Reese Hospital property that former Mayor Richard M. Daley bought as part of his failed Olympic dream.

And Chicagoans will keep paying — possibly another $120 million in principal and interest by the year 2024 — unless Mayor Rahm Emanuel can find someone to develop the 37-acre lakefront site just south of McCormick Place. With its prime location, the property has been eyed as the possible home to everything from a new casino to President Barack Obama’s presidential library.

“The property is worth substantially less than was paid,” says Emanuel spokeswoman Elizabeth Langsdorf. “This inherited deal was a bad one for taxpayers, but Mayor Emanuel is taking steps to ensure taxpayer exposure is reduced and to bring the property back to productive use.”

For now, City Hall must continue paying the property’s former owners, the Mills family, owners of Medline Industries Inc.,a medical supply business. A federal bankruptcy judge awarded the Michael Reese property to settle the hospital’s debts to the family.

The Mills family includes Wendy Mills Abrams and her husband James Abrams, who are close friends of Emanuel. Abrams and his wife each contributed $50,000 last month to Chicago Forward, a political campaign fund the mayor’s allies used to financially support aldermen loyal to Emanuel.

As mayor, Daley agreed to pay the family $91 million for the property. But the city also could end up paying more than $55 million in interest.

The Latest
Johnny Cueto pitched six scoreless innings in Game 1 and Michael Kopech pitched seven scoreless in Game 2
Jordan Jackson, 22, allegedly circumvented a security checkpoint and then pointed a gun at a group of guards just a day after heightened security measures were put in place.
“The traditional methods haven’t worked in this case,” state Rep. Kelly Cassidy said of the disappearance of Sheena Gibbs.
Manager David Ross said Contreras will get a couple of days off and “see how it feels” after the Cubs catcher left Saturday’s game with the injury. “It’s actually something that’s not too concerning,” Ross said.
He tops Will Zalatoris in a three-hole aggregate playoff at Southern Hills in Tulsa.